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Friday, 19 July 2013

Book Talk: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires book #1)

So I'm of two minds about this book. I'm slightly biased against vampire books, because they always seem to feel cliché/Twilight-knock-off to me (the exception being Strange Angels -- but that's not technically a vampire book). But on with the post:

"Welcome to Morganville. Just don't stay out after dark."

It's never easy being freakishly smart, but for 16-year-old Claire Danvers college will be the hardest year yet. Run by vampires, Morganville is not your average small college town, and when Claire gets on Monica Morrell, Queen Bee's bad side, things take a turn so bad she has to flee the dorm and seek shelter with three well-meaning but total strangers.
As if having to lay low and run from the evil Monickettes wasn't enough, Claire soon makes another enemy -- this time, vampire Brandon -- and falls for Shane, one of her new roomies. With the whole town hunting her down -- including the vamps -- Claire will soon discover whether what's worse: Morganville's bark, or its bite . . .

I have two complaints about this book. Firstly, I didn't really love the main character enough. I didn't dislike her, but she was too whiny for my taste. I have read a lot worse though, and there are other characters (Eve, Michael, Shane) that make up for it. Secondly, without giving anything away, there was a cruel twist at the end which made the reader in me shriek "NOOOOO!!!!!" and left the writer with the impression that it was a cheap trick. I would have liked the end, if it had to be a cliffhanger, to be done in a slightly less evil manner. Or at least, for the evil to have been more justified, if you can ever justify evil. I think you only can in fiction, and even then, I will most probably not like you for it. *cough* you know who you are . . .

All that said, it is an internationally best selling series, and I thought the plot was fast-paced and entertaining. There were many clever twists which more than made up for Claire's self-pity and the just-plain-mean last sentence. I don't regret buying this book, and if I could start over I'd definitely still read it, but I honestly don't think I'll ever get around to the next umpteen books (it's a reeeaaallllyy long series).

However, even with my nitpicks, I have a friend who is in love with this series. So do still try it out if the premise interests you. We all have different tastes, after all -- which is why I don't like writing bad reviews. This is about as negative as you can expect me to get. I could rant forever about some of the awful self-published wannabe books I've read -- or tried to -- that were in such dire need of an editor my twelve-year-old sister could have drastically improved them. This is the sister who writes nothing but One Direction and Justin Bieber fanfiction (*sigh*). BUT, if I complained all the time, a) my blog sound like it was written by a stuffy old man and b) I'd just feel mean. Obviously these people really love writing or they wouldn't be doing it; I just wish they'd PROOFREAD a little more carefully. (For crying out loud! YOUR is possessive and YOU'RE is a contraction of "you are"!) Or, better still, pay for a freelance editor to take a look, but I know that sadly not everyone can afford that. This is why I'm still a strong advocate for traditional publishing because, IN GENERAL, it is of a much higher quality. Emphasis on the IN GENERAL. I've read amazing self-published stuff and not-so-great (in my humble opinion at least) traditionally published stuff -- but that's just the point! It's my opinion. Yours will be different. As will your mother's. And my mother's. And my friend Leila's. And her Great Aunt Susan's. And my other friend's dog Maud's -- if Maud could read. I think that french bulldogs are only concerned with how chewable a book is, though, not the quality of the literature ;)

It's Maud!! Say hi to the blog readers, Maud!

So if I read a book I really don't like, you will never hear about it, because it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get a book in print, and the last thing I want to do is have a negative impact on anyone's career. We've all read bad reviews of books we loved. That's one of the more wonderful things about humanity -- we're all different. (One of the not-so-wonderful things is that I can actually see ourselves doing something like The Hunger Games to each other. Big Brother meets the Holocaust. Scary or what?)

Well, I went off on a tangent there, but you can find this book on Amazon here.

Star Rating: 3.5/5

And before I go, I'd like to say that I'm away from the 3rd of August till the 25th of August -- so there will be no blog posts between those two dates. See you on Monday, guys!