Tuesday, August 3, 2010

YA Reviews: Glass Houses + The Dead Girls Dance

WARNING: These reviews, even the summaries, WILL having spoilers for later books in the series. There ain't a whole lot I can do about that so either skip them or read at your own spoiling risk if you haven't read them. I'm doing my best to avoid spoiling. I take no responsibility if you read past this having not read the books. It's not my fault. I don't know any other way to say HERE BE SPOILERS, guys. :P

Okay, so, that's done. Let's move on! These might be somewhat shorter than my normal reviews and since I haven't ever read and reviewed a series like this, I'm sort of making up what I'm doing as I go along, so bear with me, okay? Okay. They'll probably be more like mini-reviews that anything.

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine - The Morganville Vampires Book One

Published: 2006 by Penguin (I'm not getting into which division, it confuses me. Mine says Signet, goodreads say NAL Jam.)
Genre: YA Fantasy / Thriller/ Paranormal / Urban Fantasy
Binding:
Paperback
Page Count: 247 in my copy, counting the excerpt from the next book.
Part of a series?:
Um... no... not at all...
Amazon link.

Summary (from the back of the book because I didn't like the goodreads one):

Welcome to Morganville, Texas. Don't stay out after dark.

It's a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows - one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

Claire Danvers has had enough of her nighmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn't have the right connections - to the undead who run the town.


When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life. But they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood...


Review:
These are like my favourite books ever. So this is probably going to be pretty fangirly. This one was a reread for me. I first read it a couple years ago and I loved it as much then as I do now.

After Claire moves out of the dorms, the plot basically centers on she and her friends trying to survive in a town run by vampires, who are very, very scary, by the way. (And if you say, "Laina! That's a spoiler!" I say, "REALLY? The series is called The Morganville VAMPIRES. Not The Morganville Bunnies or The Morganville Candymakers.)


This one is very quick-paced, with lots of action, but the characters are really what makes it great. Claire is
smart and a little bit (okay, a lot) nerdy, and very, very realistic. Eve is just plain ol' awesome, Michael is really, really cool, and then there's Shane. Him's my favourite. He has a rough exterior, but he can be sweet and nice and he can sorta cook. Favorite Shane quote:
pg. 22

He gave Claire one quick look and a crooked and oddly sweet smile, and bounded up the stairs. He moved like an athlete, but without the swagger she was used to. Kind of hot, actually.
I love him, I love him, I love him. He is SO freaking hot and and and and and... inhaling now. Favorite Michael quote:
pg. 34.

Michael smiled, and it transformed his face, made it suddenly angelic and wonderful. Dude, she thought in amazement. He's totally gorgeous. No wonder he'd been worried about her being underage. A smile like that, he'd be peeling girls off of him left and right.
Yeah, I'm easily swayed by hot boys in books.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.:
The cliffhanger on this one would drive me nuts if I hadn't had the next one waiting, even rereading them. Like, seriously, I didn't even skip a page in my review notebook when I finished Glass Houses. But that's more of a personal thing that a real con. Oh my gosh is it a cliffhanger, though. I totally recommend having book two within reach when you read it.

PG-13 stuff:
Well, there is some cursing and I think some underage drinking, but it's handled very well. I just believe that these are for older/mature readers.

Cover comments:
I love this cover. It's gorgeous and I absolutely love it. I think that's Eve on the cover, right? I really like this cover both in person and on the computer.

Conclusion:
How about... Rachel Caine is a goddess we should all bow down and worship? Too fangirly? I'll try again. Rachel's writing is an example of a brilliant third person narration, the dialogue is totally realistic and she works in clothing and setting details in a way that gives both the characters and voice depth. These are somewhat shorter books compared to some tomes, but I think that's perfect for them. If they were longer, I'd probably end up having a heart attack from the tension. Four and a half roses.


Other notes:

I wondered why I always manage to be bleeding at some point reading vampire books and noted that I had a bruise on my left knee, a scrape on my right knee, neither of which I knew how I got, scratches all over and I'd smacked my head so hard I saw stars for a couple seconds. It was a good day. :P

Okay, so since this is a little shorter and I don't think you guys want to read eight posts about these books, no matter how good they are, I'm going to review The Dead Girls' Dance in this post, too. Two-for-one reviewing!

The Dead Girls' Dance - The Morganville Vampires Book Two by Rachel Caine

Published: 2007 by Penguin. (Again, not getting into what division. Google it.)
Genre:
YA Fantasy/ Thriller/ Paranormal / Urban Fantasy
Binding:
Paperback
Page Count: 248 in my copy, counting the excerpt. Part of a series? Why am I even asking myself this right now??
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Claire Danvers has her share of challenges - like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains, dealing with the homicidal girls in her down, and above all, finding out that her college town is overrun with vampires. On the up side, she has a great roommate (who tends to disappear at sunup) and a new boyfriend named Shane... whose vampire-hunting dad has called in backup: cycle punks who like the idea of killing just about anything.

Now a fraternity is throwing its annual Dead Girls' Dance and - surprise! - Claire and her equally outcast best friend, Eve, have been invited. When they find out why, all hell is going to break loose. Because this time both the living and the dead are coming out - and everybody's hungry for blood.


Review:
The second book in the series, The Dead Girls' Dance picks up right where Glass Houses left off, starting literally houses if not minutes after GH ends. (I can't quite remember and if I don't have enough light to check, really.)
So I didn't write down many notes for this one's review and I'm floundering a bit now.

It was also a reread for me, but even when you know what's going to happen, the tension remains the same. DGD is darker than the first book in the series (though Book One was pretty dark) but I really love it, too. I'm pretty sure I read most of GH, this one, and Midnight Alley in one night thanks to Dr. Pepper and Snapple.


I still love Claire, Shane's still my favourite, and Eve's still awesome. I HATE Shane's dad, though, he's a... bad word I'm not going to say. Shane quote:
pg. 29

Shane grabbed him in a hug. Michael rocked back a little from the impact, but he closed his eyes and hung on for a moment, then slapped Shane's back. And of course Shane slapped his back, too, and they stepped way apart. Manly. Claire rolled her eyes.
PG-13 stuff: Yup. Again, recommend to older/mature readers, etc.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.; I got nothing. Oh, um, except maybe this is being a bit neurotic (a lot neurotic) and noticing things that don't really matter, but Claire was a size four in Book One, and guessed to be a size one or two in Book Two. I suppose stress could attribute to weight loss, though. Not really a big deal.

Cover comments: I like this cover. It's not one of my favourites of the series, but I do like it, and I think it suits the others.

Conclusion:
Again, Rachel Caine is a goddess. The third person narration is still brilliant. And I absolutely love these. This one has less of a cliffhanger for an ending, so you can, like, sleep between this and the third one. If you're into that. Oh, and Sam! I love Sam. I have now descended into brainless fangirl territory, so I'm going to end this review now. Also four and a half roses.



Other notes:

- There was a quote, though I didn't write down the page number of it, that said, "Even a mouse bites." It reminded me of Teeth by Lady GaGa.
- Isn't pale red technically dark pink?
- When I write in black pen, my writing looks slightly insane.

Well, that's everything! What did you guys think of my first semi-mini reviews? Will you read three more sets of these?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

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