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 des...moreGlass 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!(less)
Have you ever wondered what your dreams mean? Well, Janie does, because her life is one huge dream after the other.
Except the dreams aren’t her own.
Ja...moreHave you ever wondered what your dreams mean? Well, Janie does, because her life is one huge dream after the other.
Except the dreams aren’t her own.
Janie is gifted – or cursed, depending on which way you look at it – and has the ability to step into other people’s dreams. Its something she can’t control, though, and she often finds herself being ripped out of her own consciousness only to be sucked into the dreams of those sleeping around her. And it seems that everyone around her hides their deepest, darkest secrets in their dreamland. She knows things about the kids around her that no one else does, but she can’t tell anyone because everyone would just think she’s crazy, right?
Cabel doesn’t think Janie is crazy, but he does know that something is quite right with her. Although she tells him nothing initially, he seems to understand that there is, in fact, something to tell. Cabel starts looking out for Janie and eventually, he finds himself in a bit of a predicament. You see, Cabel has some secrets of his own – secrets, which, if they were to be revealed, could destroy everything he has worked for.
That’s the pesky thing about love, though. It always seems to pop up at the most inopportune times. Often, it forces people to make very hard choices indeed. But Cabel isn’t having it, not this time. He wants the best of both worlds and does everything in his power to ensure that he can have a future with Janie. The question is, will Janie let him in?
She’s scared of her powers, and because she has spent her whole life shutting people out, including someone like Cabel in her life is going to take a bit of work. But as the novel progresses, it becomes clear that Janie can’t do this for much longer alone, and she’s actually a much more valuable player than she ever expected to be – in anything.
Wake is a short, punchy read that will have your head spinning from the very first page. It’s a unique story idea, and the narrator’s voice is raw, edgy and above all – it’s real. Wake is full of characters that remind me of teenagers found out in the real world. The people in Wake (for the most part) are doing things that kids everywhere are doing, too. Lisa McMann should be commended on her bravery, as she leaves nothing to the imagination. In an age where so many young adult novels are sugar-coated, McMann chooses an honest approach, instead.
Wake is a diamond in a sea of broken glass. I can only hope its brilliance is repeated in the upcoming sequel, Fade.
For those of you that are interested, we’ve been reading Wake in our bookclub on the forum this month. Click here to join the discussion.(less)
When Claire Danvers went off to college early, she thought her biggest problems would be keeping up with classes, and fitting in. Boy, was she ever wr...moreWhen Claire Danvers went off to college early, she thought her biggest problems would be keeping up with classes, and fitting in. Boy, was she ever wrong. You see, Claire made the mistake of choosing a college in Morganville – the one town in all of America that is run by the undead. And where there are vampires, there is also trouble.
Dead Girls’ Dance picks up exactly where Glass Houses left off. Michael Glass, owner of the house she lives in, and Claire’s good friend, is lying on a heap in the floor, dead. But Claire, Shane and Eve have no time to grieve; Shane’s Dad is in town and he’s causing all kinds of trouble. Claire, Shane and Eve find themselves in the middle of a messy battle.
Nothing is as it seems in Morganville though, and Dead Girls’ Dance is full of unexpected twists and turns. The occupants of the Glass House suddenly find themselves under the protection of Amelie – Morganville’s most powerful vampire. Having protection means Claire can go back to class, Eve can go back to work, and Shane can go back to doing the same old nothing he was doing before their protection was activated. But who has time for all those things when someone always wants them dead?
Readers get to know the characters of this series a little more in this installment. The narrative uncovers Shane’s dark history, and affords readers some insight into why he is so full of angst. The difficulties Eve has with her family are also explored, providing an added plot twist that you won’t see coming! And what about Michael, lying in a broken heap on their lounge room floor? Well, Michael has more secrets than you think…
In Glass Houses readers were tortured with a whole lot of pent up sexual tension between Shane and Claire. Shane even made a deal with a vampire to keep Claire safe. Dead Girls’ Dance throws a few more romantic ingredients into their story and the tension between them reaches an all time high. The problem is, Claire still isn’t legal, and Shane isn’t exactly getting younger. So how will they deal with their feelings for each other? Never before has a bad boy been this attractive. Shane is drool worthy in every sense of the word, and this novel shows that love conquers all boundaries and can change a person forever.
Rachel Caine proves once again that she is the master of action and suspense. Dead Girls’ Dance is so fast paced that you just wont be able to turn the pages quick enough. So strap on your seat belts and join your favorite characters on their roller-coaster ride into hell and back.(less)
When Clary meets Jace, Isabelle and Alec in a club one night, her whole world suddenly gets turned upside down. See the thing is, Jace and his friends...moreWhen Clary meets Jace, Isabelle and Alec in a club one night, her whole world suddenly gets turned upside down. See the thing is, Jace and his friends are Shadowhunters – an elite breed of humans created specifically to keep the population safe from demons and other unsavoury creatures. When on a mission, Shadowhunters should be invisible to the ordinary humans (termed “mundanes”) but much to everyone’s surprise, Clary can see them all perfectly well.
After a demon attacks her mother, Clary has no choice but to step inside the complex Shadowhunter world. Suddenly, everything she had always thought was fiction and fantasy becomes her reality. After only a short time in Jace, Isabelle and Alec’s company, Clary realises that perhaps, she’s more than just the regular human girl she always thought she was. Jace suspects it from the moment he sees her, but Clary isn’t sure. Is she a Shadowhunter? And if so, how on earth did she go through her entire life not knowing this?
The characters in this story are so colourful, so alive, that they could actually be real. I completely forgot I was reading a book; my experience with City of Bones was much more like watching a movie or listening to someone narrate a really vivid story. Clary is just so normal that she could literally be the girl next door. She’s dealing with friendships, love, relationships, and parental trouble. She’s a moral, upstanding citizen that values human life, family and friends above all else. I don’t think there is anyone anywhere that couldn’t relate to some aspect of her personality.
I was entirely unsurprised when Clary realises that she has feelings for Jace. He’s attractive, bold, fearless and a complete mystery. If this novel were set in a schoolyard, Clary would be the new, shy girl and Jace would be the all powerful, popular kid. Everyone looks up to Jace – and for good reason. He’s a brilliant, brave fighter and an asset to the Shadowhunting community. So when Valentine (the Big Bad in this series) rocks into town and pulls a Darth Vader, announcing that he’s Jace’s father, all hell breaks loose. Things get really interesting when its determined that Jace is not an only child, like he always thought…
City of Bones is narrated in third person, so the novel isn’t restricted to just one character’s version of events. Girls will be drawn into the romance, and the drama that unfolds within individual relationships. And boys will undoubtedly love all the action and suspense. The fantasy will appeal to all. City of Bones calls upon a wide variety of fantasy elements, showcasing vampires, faeries, werewolves, super-humans and more.
Cassandra Clare has the whole suspense thing down pat in this novel. Each page holds a new drama, a fresh revelation, a new jaw-dropping experience. It is completely unputdownable. You’ll be hooked after just the first chapter.(less)
Fans of the first book – City of Bones – are going to love this. City of Ashes is masterfully suspenseful, and utterly engaging. If you became emersed...moreFans of the first book – City of Bones – are going to love this. City of Ashes is masterfully suspenseful, and utterly engaging. If you became emersed in the characters’ respective stories in book one, then I can safely say that their individual journeys in City of Ashes will leave you speechless.
What would you do if you were in love with your brother or sister? How confusing, how scary would that be for you? Welcome to the world of Jace and Clary. Of course, when they fell for each other they had no idea they were related. As I’m sure you can imagine, City of Ashes finds things between Jace and Clary a little on the tense side.
Although she is trying really hard, Clary is unable to stop thinking about Jace in a romantic capacity. She tries distracting herself with a new boyfriend, but that doesn’t really work out for her. And Jace, well he deals with it just like everyone expects him to: he tries alienating Clary in every possible way. However, just when readers think that all hope is lost, Jace comes face to face with the original fear demon and we learn that he’s really more in love with Clary than ever before. Everything is a mess, and they’re both unbearably confused.
So what do two kids in this situation do? How long can they keep denying each other? And is it so wrong to act on their feelings, even though society says it is? These are the questions the narrative poses as they tackle their demons – both real and metaphorical. Readers will be stunned, joyed, and totally peeved all at the same time by the outcome.
To make matters worse for Clary and Jace, their father is causing trouble for the Clave, and Jace finds himself in all sorts of strife. Clary does what she can to help him, but how much can you really help a stubborn kid like Jace? And will this only get Clary in trouble too? Valentine’s involvement in this novel will reveal some impressive, yet anxious plot twists and turns.
Some of the secondary characters take a nice big step forward in this book. Although readers were told Alec was gay back in book one, here in City of Ashes, proof is served up on a shiny, glittery, half Asian platter otherwise known as Magnus Bane. I’m either the most naïve person on the planet, or Cassandra Clare did a really good job of hiding the hints that these two were dating within the pages of her story. Magnus is just what Alec needs; he’s got spunk, he’s carefree and he’s very into Alec. So what is stopping Alec from really opening himself up to Magnus, and will Alec get himself together in time? My heart goes out to you Magnus Bane, and I can’t wait to read your story in book three.
Simon – Clary’s best friend – goes through some changes of his own. Totally in love with Clary, Simon finds it difficult to be around Jace. Simon is more perceptive than everyone gives him credit for, and he can see the deep connection Jace and Clary share.
And it burns him up inside.
His anger, his confusion and his self-pity lead him into a place of darkness, and he makes some choices that will change his life – forever.
The reality of growing up is intricately woven into the supernatural elements of this story. The magic, the drama and the fantasy are all portrayed so clearly that its easy to forget that this is just fiction.
Cassandra Clare’s prose is flawless, engaging and a pleasure to read. My enthusiasm for this series increases with every single read through. Like so many others, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the third installment. March 09 can’t get here fast enough.(less)
After a horrible car accident, Lia wakes up in the hospital feeling more than a little broken. In fact, she doesn’t feel like herself at all.
Because s...moreAfter a horrible car accident, Lia wakes up in the hospital feeling more than a little broken. In fact, she doesn’t feel like herself at all.
Because she’s not.
“We had to,” my mother pleaded. “We didn’t have any choice other.” “No.” “Honey, you heard the doctors, you were going to die. This was the only other way.” “No.”
It was the worst outcome Lia could think of. They’d turned her into a skinner: a machine, a computer that looks like her, talks like her, and even has all her old memories. But it isn’t Lia. Not really.
Where Lia is from, being a skinner is somewhat of a controversy, and when she tries to slot back into her old life, things don’t go very smoothly. Her friends treat her differently. Her boyfriend seems unable to connect with her new machine-self. Even her family – who were responsible for making her a skinner in the first place – have trouble accepting her back into their lives.
Lia struggles with the idea of being a machine and spends a great deal of the novel wallowing in self-pity. Consequently, the book is a little on the depressing side. Lia is a bit of a whiner and I found myself wishing she’d just get over it already, and do something about it.
Thankfully, she does.
She becomes friends with Auden – who is the only person in her life that seems unconcerned by the fact that she no longer has a beating heart. It’s clear from the beginning of their friendship that Auden has a thing for her, but Lia is too caught up in her own depression to notice. The question I found myself asking was, does Auden like Lia because he likes her, or does he like her because she’s a skinner? I felt sorry for Auden and desperately hoped that he’d grow a pair sooner or later.
Does he? Well, I know the answer, but you’ll just have to read it for yourself to find out. More to the point, how long can Lia live like this, surrounded by people that wishes she was dead? I know I wouldn’t be able to do it for very long…
This is the first novel in a planned series and I’m looking forward to the next instalment.
An intriguing tale that questions the very foundation of humanity.(less)