The Morganville Vampires, Volume 1
(Glass Houses and Dead Girls' Dance)
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: New American Library, 452 pages
Publication Date: November 3, 2009
College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. 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.
Dead Girls' Dance
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 dorm, 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.
I thought I was a bit over vampires, but I thought I would give this series a chance. I've heard a lot of good things about it.
Really enjoyed it. Interesting premise with the vampires in charge of the town and the humans having to pay blood taxes. And having different factions of vampire groups the humans swore loyalty to and were protected by. I liked that the setting was a college campus (at least there's an excuse for no parents). At first, I was really wondering why anyone lived in this town. It's like the haunted house that the people move into and they don't leave. I was like, move out of the town! (Sort of like with Buffy the Vampire Slayer--why did anyone stay in Sunnydale?)
Character-wise, Claire was very likable. Book-smart (she's in college and she's only 16), socially awkward, inexperienced with guys. She grows a lot just in these two books. She starts off pretty meek and then gets much tougher.
Loved Shane and Michael. Felt so bad for Shane, he has an absolutely horrible father and with what happened to the rest of his family, he is a very sympathetic character. Very cute love interest for Claire and I thought the scenes were cute between them.
Michael's situation started off very interesting, and I feel like the author could have kept him different somehow (but gotten him out of the house). I was enjoying the uniqueness of his situation, but then his situation changed to the typical one (that probably doesn't make any sense but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it). Michael keeps everyone together, playing the part of big brother to Claire.
Eve is strong and independent and says what she thinks. Dressing Goth seemed a bit odd given the circumstances (did she want to look like a vampire?)
At first the vampires didn't seem to have a lot of depth (evil and super evil), but in the second book there begins to be more nuance to them, and I'm sure as the series continues we will learn more about the vampires and things won't be as black and white. Reminded me of Buffy (again), where at first all of the vampires were evil (except for Angel, of course) and then things get murky (prime example being Spike).
So I can see what all of the hype was about. Good writing, realistic dialogue, funny parts, and interesting characters. I will warn anyone who has not read them that the first book ends not just with a cliffhanger, but in the MIDDLE OF A SCENE. As in, the knife is in the process of coming down type scene and then, bam, it's over. Good thing I had the two books in one volume or I would have been screaming (mad).
To sum it up, I found a new, fun series that has at least 14 books in it. In keeping with the vampire theme:
Gotta love Angel!