Thursday, April 7, 2011

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Welcome to Morganville. Just don`t stay out after dark.
Morganville is a small town filled with unusual characters - when the sun goes down, the bad come out. In Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows - one that will spill out into the bright light of day.
For Claire Danvers, high school was hell, but college may be murder. It was bad enough that she got on the wrong side of Monica, the meanest of the school's mean girls, but now she's got three new roommates, who all have secrets of their own. And the biggest secret of all isn't really a secret, except from Claire: Morganville is run by vampires and they are hungry for fresh blood . . . (from publisher's site) 
Glass Houses is the first book in the Morganville Vampire series. Which came out in 2006 in the US but have just had an Australian release at the beginning of this year. AND I do completely LOVE the new funky looking covers ~ the colours kind of shimmer in the metallic-y way in the light...

However, the covers are only thing here that sparkle, heheheh :) The vampires in this novel are the traditional bad guys...

So ~ this was a whole reading outside my genre thing, being a contemp girl. I don't mind branching out now and then to see if I can get hooked. This series did interest me because it's been so well received and it's (hordes) of fans claim that once you read the first one you're addicted.

Glass Houses gets off to a slow but intriguing start. 

When sixteen year old Claire moves to Morganville to begin college she has no idea how trippy things are going to get. Straight off, she's bullied (and left for dead) by the mean girls on campus which leads her to seek alternative accommodation ~

Enter a gothic-esque but very cool house (complete with hidden passage-ways and secret rooms) with three older house mates: 

  • Eve: a funky goth, spunky yet nurturing
  • Michael: enigmatic and mysterious muso-boy
  • Shane: video game junkie, slacker and all-round hot boy
  • Claire (our protag) is a funny character herself: a kind of blend between being tough and having melt-downs, she's determined but often unsure, smart yet incredibly dense at times, innocent and right at that perfect coming-of-age age.

My favourite part of the book was the dynamic between the house mates. I enjoyed the banter and the mysterious undertones with lots of the characters. There's a smidgen of romance bubbling away as well (and of course the boys are hot :D)

As for the vampires? The whole town is absolutely shrouded in history and it's rather creepy and dangerous and absolutely deadly. And Claire's gutsy (or foolish) choices definitely keep her from falling under the radar.

Reading this book was fun. Once you get past the first mini hump ~ it's a very speedy, relaxing read. The camaraderie between the house mates adds a lightness to the otherwise dark and foreboding setting.

I think to enjoy this title I really had to settle in and just go with the flow and see where the author was taking me. There was a few occasional 'what the?' moments for me in terms of plot or character motivations ~ but I don't think you should go into the book expecting it all to make sense straight up ~ Rachel Caine dives right into the story and I recommend just going along for the ride ~ which is wild and fun and occasionally spooky a promising start to a series.

As for making me crave more of the paranormal genre? This book didn't cure me, haha. I had a good time while reading it and sailed through it in two days BUT it's still not really my thing. I do prefer the creepy vampires to sparkly ones but overall, I'm yet to be thrilled by books that feature vampires at all (or most paranormal beings. sigh...). 

I have it on the best authority (from multiple sources) that from here on in, The Morganville Vampire series just gets hotter and more addictive. I did LOVE the older dynamic, with all main characters (but Claire) being older than high school age. I can see the appeal for both teens and adults.

Recommended: Glass Houses is a fast read with dynamic chemistry between characters making it grin-worthy and fun while still being sufficiently dark and creepy. If you love vampire books you'll be missing out by not checking out this series, hey. My tip is to suspend your disbelief  (if it hovers around while you're reading) and go along for the ride.  

Also ~ how hot is our Aussie cover :D  

Read an extract (ch's 1 & 2)

Thank you to Penguin Australia for providing me with this review copy. Cheers!


  1. I also thought Glass Houses was good fun! If you like the housemates + paranormal vibe you should check out the awesome British TV show Being Human - a vampire, ghost and werewolf all in the one house.

  2. Eeep! Leanne ~ I LOVE Being Human. The UK one is just my sense of humour and blood/gore :)

  3. A vampire series that's actually creepy?! I must read this. I love the cover too!

  4. A vampire series that's actually creepy?! I must read this. I love the cover too!

  5. These days I've been really frustrated with slow-starting books but this sounds like an interesting vamp series! And I ususally like those fun, fast reads so maybe I'll pick this one up. Thanks for the review!

  6. You did a great job with the review! And it is definitely a series that get better and Shane also gets hotter :)

  7. I passed this up a couple of years back. Maybe the Gothic element will make me look into it again.

    Good job with the review, Nomes.

  8. Haven't read this series and while I know a lot of people have really enjoyed it, I doubt I will ever get to it. Enjoyed reading your review mainly because I was so surprised you that you had read it since "you are such a contemp girl."

  9. I've just started reading this today (courtesy of borrowing it from Jess, haha) largely because I was totally sucked in by the covers. I want to love the whole series enough to buy them all just for the covers, haha. Unlikely, but it seems like a fun series :)

  10. Aww Nomes! You just made it sound awesome. I'm looking forward to reading it (the author signing next month is definitely pushing me to finally getting around to it).

  11. Shane is such a hottie! They do get a lot better and much more interesting. I'm on book 5 meh thinks and need to get back to them!

  12. I never read this series despite seeing it every time I walk into a book shop, but with your review I may have to change my mind! It does sound good (and the Australian cover is so cool!). Thanks for the review, glad you enjoyed it :).

  13. Somehow I've never heard of these. they sound good though. Creepy vampire and an older edge, I'll keep my eye out.

  14. nomes, have you ever read: Bram Stoker's Dracula??

    i think you'd really like it. it was the first 'vampire' novel i read, and... it creeped me out.

    it makes every other vampire novel feel like watered down apple juice.

  15. Morganville sounds a lot like Sunnydale, which is a good thing. They just need Buffy to come and clean the town up.

    Sounds like a good read though, and I'm happy that vampires are becoming creepy instead of sexy again.

  16. I've been telling myself I need to read this series. I had no clue the characters are older! Maybe I need to read them sooner. And I thought these books maybe were fast reads because when I pick one up the booked looked tiny, lol.

  17. I'm about halfway through this one - and yes the Aussie covers are much much better. It does remind me a lot of Sunnydale, and you're right about the beginning being slow and the characters making a lot of dumb mistakes. But ah, well. I shall keep reading it and see if the ending entices me to pick up the next one. :)

  18. So I read this first novel and while I loved the fact that vampires here are actually scary and mean and not at all sexy was great, but I never quite clicked with the story. Maybe I should continue, but probably not right now.

  19. I had a lot of trouble getting into this book, i'm finding it hard getting into a lot of paranormal books lately. But i will persevere and try the next book in the series.
    Great review, i like the Aussie cover the best too :)

  20. Thanks to your fantastic review Glass Houses will become my first Rachel Caine book! And the Aussie cover does look good, better than the US one

  21. I've made a start on book 2 The Dead Girl's Dance, so I'm reserving judgement. I had a similar reaction to you over Glass Houses but I have it on good authority that the rest of this series shouldn't be missed, it just gets better!! Great review Nomes :)


Thanks for the commenty love :)