Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

I was worried when I first started reading this book that it was going to be a complete flop, due to the saturation of the teenage book market with vampire romances, as this is definitely keeping in that style. However this book proved me wrong.

The book is set in the town of Morganville, America where 16 year old braniac (or freak of nature as she is commonly called) Claire Danvers is going to college. However the town holds a giant secret: it’s run by vampires. Like most of the other books that are in the vampire-romance genre, this has its own twist on the vampire culture, simply that although they are the traditional blood sucking, burn in sunlight vampires, the human residents are all aware of what the vampires are, except for Claire. All the humans in this book are under the ‘Protection’ of different vampires, which unfortunately, Claire is not, causing many problems later on for her. It’s quite similar to the scenario of gangsters offering ‘Protection’ to people in exchange for not robbing them etc, but with the vampires the protection ensures they stay alive. Well, most of them anyway.

The humans also have to pay a monthly blood tax to the vampires, which I believe is one of the biggest holes in the book. Every human over the age of 18 is required to donate 2 pints of blood monthly at the town hospital, whereas the UK guidelines insist that a maximum of 1 pint is donated every three months, as that is the time it takes for the body to replace the lost blood. At the rate they’re donating blood, they would be dead within a matter of months, and seriously ill up to that point. Luckily this is the only flaw that jumped out at me immediately and author must be commended for restricting their mistakes to that one.

The language used in the book is nothing special although it is nice and straightforward, and is descriptive without being to tedious. The book only has a couple of uses of strong language and very little sex, and although there is a large amount of violence in the book, it isn’t too graphic and unlikely to distress many people.

The plot is well designed and as I said earlier, contains very few holes in it which are noticeable, though no doubt more would emerge under heavier scrutiny. The author makes sure there are a suitable amount of questions left unanswered in the book, which successfully entices the reader into wanting to read on, and as I write this I’m forming my own questions in my mind about the plot, which hopefully will be solved in the sequels.

This book is reasonably fast paced and action packed, but be warned: this book is likely to leave you a tad depressed and wondering how things can get any worse for Claire although, inevitably, they do.

Overall I think this provides a fine alternative to the current vampire bestsellers, and focuses more on the vamps than on the romance, which provides a nice change.


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