Glass Houses

I found the Morganville Vampires series after enjoying Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series. The series is included because I enjoy it; it feels a little fluffy but is totally engrossing.

Series Title: The Morganville Vampires
Author: Rachel Caine
ISBN-10: 0451219945 ISBN-13: 9780451219947
City and Publisher: New York: NAL Jam Books
Copyright Date: 2006
Author’s Website: http://www.rachelcaine.com/Home.html

Reader’s Annotation: After finishing high school two years early, Claire’s parents insist that she stay close to home for college and send her to Texas Prairie University in the creepy town of Morganville. People tend to leave TPU early, whether they transfer or just plain disappear.

Plot Summary: Claire has enough on her plate being a sixteen year old in college. When Claire is driven out of her dorm by the popular crowd’s sadistic hazing, her new roommates at the Glass House help her understand that Morganville is all about connections. Without them, it’s a little dangerous to even go out after dark. Although Claire fits right in with her off campus friends, the rest of the town seems determined to drive them out…or have them for dinner.

Critical Evaluation: Glass Houses is a fast paced novel, written simply and lightly. Although Caine’s writing style is not exactly great literature (it is somewhat reminiscent of the Sweet Valley High Series), the book is very engaging. Claire and her roommates are likable, admirable (if not entirely three dimensional) characters. The plot moves quickly, holding the reader’s interest and engaging a need to find out what happens next. And the budding romance between Claire and Shane is giggle-and-swoon worthy. The book is quite obviously meant to be one of a series and the ending is a real cliff hanger.

Reading Level/Interest: Age 14 and up
Curriculum Ties: Glass Houses works best as a just for fun read.
Booktalking Ideas: Ask if anyone liked Twilight. Read a short plot summary.

Genre: Paranormal
Beasties and Supernatural Elements: Vampires, Ghosts, Clairvoyants, Runes/Mystic Symbols
Influences in Genre: Science Fiction, Horror

Challenge Ideas: The book’s climax is violent and chaotic. However, the danger that permeates the book calls for a dramatic and intense ending, and the violence is written in a way that illuminates the threat that Claire and her friends are under, rather than as a gratuitous or glorified detailed description. The violence is not initiated by the roommates at the Glass House, and although they do end up kicking ass, it is entirely defensive. Eve even suffers from the violence, and the most graphic description of an injury is Claire’s horror at the wound on her friend’s arm.

About the Author: Rachel Caine is a musician as well as a writer, and has played clarinet for such luminaries as Henry Mancini, Peter Nero, and John Williams. She has also published a Stargate SG-1 novel under the name Julie Fortune. She also writes a paranormal series for adults, the Weather Wardens series. While fans of the Morganville Vampires books might enjoy them, readers should be aware that they are much more sexually explicit. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband, who is the fantasy artist R. Cat Conrad. (More details at http://www.rachelcaine.com/About_Me.html and http://www.bookloons.com/cgi-bin/Columns.asp?type=Interview&name=Rachel%20Caine)

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