Glass Houses – Rachel Caine

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Glass Houses is the first book in the Morganville vampire books. It was published back in 2006 but only now seems to be getting the recognition it deserves. As far as vampire stories go, this one pretty much hits the nail in the coffin!

Claire Danvers is just sixteen years old, but she has already moved out of home and started her college education. College, however, is not all it’s cracked up to be. The girls in Claire’s dorm are huge bullies, and Claire has become their target. They steal her clothes, break into her room and push her around in the halls. One day, sporting a black eye and fearing for her safety, Claire decides enough is enough and seeks lodgings off campus. She moves into the Glass House where she meets Eve, Michael and Shane. But as it turns out, Claire isn’t really any safer living in her new home because Morganville is actually run by a bunch of undead vampires, and the girls who gave her a black eye have their protection.

Citizens of Morganville can’t go outside after dark because, unlike so many other vamps in YA novels today, these vampires are strictly nocturnal. Morganville vampires are created according to the more traditional vamp conventions. Sunlight kills them, they don’t like garlic or holy water, and they can’t come inside your house without being invited first.

But vampires and bullies aren’t all Claire has to worry about. After moving into the Glass House, she starts having warm fuzzy feelings for her housemate, Shane. The problem is, Shane is eighteen – nearly nineteen, in fact – and Claire is still very underage. When Claire realises that Shane likes her too, will they complicate their living situation by acting on their feelings, or will they keep their raging teenage hormones at bay? Caine has a knack for drawing the reader into this love story without giving too much away. As the last page comes to a close readers will be screaming for more details about Claire and Shane.

To complicate things even more, Claire can’t tell her parents that she is in trouble at school, or that she has moved off campus because they will make her move back home – and that is not what Claire wants at all. With the taste of independence in her mouth, the idea of moving back in with her parentals is a shuddering thought. What will happen when they show up in town for a random visit? How will she explain that she’s living in the most unsafe town in all of America in such a way that they wont force her to move back home with them? And more importantly, what will they think of Claire’s older boyfriend?

As well as being a compelling, action-packed fantasy read, this novel highlights some pertinent problems plaguing teens all over the world. If you’ve got overprotective parents, or you’ve ever been picked on at school, then you’ll find it easy to relate to Claire.

Glass House is well written, easy to follow and utterly engrossing. I read it, and its three sequels in just two days. Rachel Caine is quite obviously a fan of a good cliff hanger so be warned that the last page might leave you literally begging for more. I recommend buying all Morganville books at once, because once you pop the first page, you just won’t be able to stop!

Rating: [rating:4]

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