Retrospective: Morganville Vampires (#1 – #3)

This post was almost complete before the news that Rachel Caine had passed away was announced. Rachel Caine is an author whose words quite literally inspired me to become a reader. So writing this now feels more bittersweet than I had expected. As per Sarah’s announcement, I’ll be making a donation to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of American Emergency Medical Fund in her name.

Retrospective is a blog series where I’ll be re-reading books and series that I had read during my childhood and early teen years. What better way to start this new blog series is beginning with the series that I think kickstarted my love for books. I was a very casual reader as a child, only because my access to books was minimal – I had only read books that my sister had on her bookshelf or whatever my primary school provided. My sister had just started college and using her EMA money; she bought the Morganville Vampires. And I probably wanted to copy everything she was doing, so I picked up the series as well. I don’t know what it was, but ten-year-old-me was obsessed with this series. And I wanted to re-read the series for a while now, mainly to remember some of the finer details of the series and to see how the story holds up to me currently as a twenty-two-year-old young adult, rather than as pre-teen. My standards and taste in books as certainly changed. But my love for vampires hasn’t so….

If you don’t know anything about Morganville, here’s a summary:

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. Will she be able to face the town’s terror or will she drown like everyone else?

There are fifteen books in the main series, so I’ll be splitting this post into small posts, so I’m not just chucking down a block of text at anyone reading this. But, I hope you enjoy this retrospective, I cannot guarantee it will be something coherent or engrossing, it’s mainly a brain dump of me reminiscing on the series. And oh do I have some feelings about this series.

Please note that the Retrospective series will contain many spoilers.

Glass Houses

The biggest thing that surprised me about Glass Houses was how short this book was? At first, I thought it’s just my memory fog and nostalgia. But then I realised, my child brain quite literally mashed the events of Glass Houses and Dead Girls Dance together because there is no time skip between the two and I most likely read them both one after the other.

Glass Houses is mainly about Claire Danvers as she is forced out of school dorms due to bullies. She miraculously makes her way to Glass House where she meets Michael, Eve and Shane, who inform her that Morganville is a city of Vampires. And the students are unaware of it all. It’s real residents; however, are aware and do their best not to gain any bad attention. Those protected wear a bracelet, naming their protector. But Claire finds herself joining the three people who hate the city the most. And leaving the dorms isn’t as easy as she thought it could be.

The first book revolves around Claire and her search for a rare book that holds deep vampire secrets. Like, I said, it’s relatively short, but we are introduced to the main cast and secondary characters who are staples in the series. Monica and her brother brought back some deep-set anger. I forgot how much I hated her, damn. We meet Amelie, the leader and oldest vampire in the world, and the story of Morganville slowly comes together.

Reading this in 2020 was a lot of fun, there’s a lot of quips and jokes that were on-brand for the early and mid-2000s. I think Shane was playing a PSP and I laughed so hard because back then, I thought Shane was so ~ cool ~. After all, he had one. Now, in 2020, I’m playing Ghost of Tsushima on the PS4, and now that I think about it, Shane and Michael would have both loved that game as much as I do.

The best part of reading this was just remembering Morganville. A weird Texan town that was home to a secret society of vampires. The idea of vampires living in one of the hottest places in the USA was so funny to me.

Seeing Claire make her way up to Glass House, her not knowing what’s to come, had me screaming. When Eve enters in her full-on goth outfits, Shane and his constant supply of chilli, and Michael being very elusive, it felt so nice to be re-introduced to all these old favourites.

The ending of this book had me spinning out as a kid. I was SO mad at Michael’s “death”, mostly since he was my favourite out of the Glass House residents. Shane’s story was the saddest, but as a character, I think I grew to love him more by Midnight Alley. I liked the angst, but I think it was too much for me as a child. Michael was a sweetheart character.

The Dead Girls’ Dance

Michael coming back to life just in time to save Claire and Eve was iconic. This book is a lot more eventful than Glass Houses; I’m not surprised that I mixed up the plots when I was younger because you put these two books together, and with a little more editing, could easily pass as one book. Now that I think about it, if I had to give some sort of critique as an older reader, I feel like the earlier books in this series could have been put together to cut down and I don’t think it would have affected the quality whatsoever.

Re-reading this book has made me particularly aware of how much my tastes have changed. There’s a lot in this book that I shrugged off as a kid, but now as an adult, I’m like “huh, not a fan of that,” and continued reading. I always loved Claire, but it took me so long to warm up to Shane. I respected that he put up some boundaries between him and Claire. His backstory is so damn tragic, this town has ruined him the most, and I’ve always rooted for him to be better. There’s just something I can’t quite put my finger on that unsettles me about him. Or maybe this was just me not yet realising that the romance aspects of books aren’t the hook for me as it would be for other readers.

Michael deciding to become a vampire was such a plot twist for young me. Looking at it now, it was quite really the only option for him, considering he could only appear at night. It feels less exciting and more disheartening, once you realise the effect it has on everyone.

This is a formal apology to Sam Glass. I have a terrible memory, but I still cannot believe I completely forgot about him. There was always a nagging feeling in the back of my mind as I was reading that I knew I had forgotten something, just didn’t realise it was that fact that Michael’s grandfather is a vampire. πŸ’€ When he introduces himself to Claire, I was so mad at myself for forgetting. If I were ranking the series, Dead Girls’ Dance would probably land in the bottom five, not because it’s terrible but more so that I know I enjoyed the series a lot more later on.

Also, the copy I had of this book growing up was the glow in the dark version and young me was lowkey sad they discontinued those covers. 😭

Midnight Alley

Midnight Alley is where the series really kicks off. The first two books were good at introducing the playing field of Morganville, but Midnight Alley brings us to the real issue behind the town.

The introduction of Myrnin as the trap door spider was SO good. Also, I forgot how young vampires are supposed to look in this series. He’s introduced as looking like he’s in his mid-twenties. The web series of Morganville had cast older actors to play a lot of the vampires so yet again my terrible memory fails me once more. (as always)

Myrnin reveals Morganville’s darkest secret: all the vampires are slowly dying, and Amelie has no idea how to stop it happening. So she assigns Claire as an assistant to Myrnin, but she struggles to handle Myrnin during his moments of sickness, where he completely forgets who he is and turns on her. Here is where we learn how the Morganville network works. Everything is based on Alchemy, but if Myrnin doesn’t figure out their sickness, then everything that Morganville stands for will soon fall.

The only critique I could have about this book is the whole Captain Obvious arc and how he’s never mentioned before this book. It’s nothing serious or anything terrible. But considering that Michael is revealed to be a member of their anti-vampire new spread, I would have thought it would be mentioned much earlier in the series. I feel like it would have worked so well in Glass Houses. But there are no hard feelings there. It’s still quite satisfying seeing the group collapse so quickly.

If the ending of Glass Houses had me spinning, then I died at the end of Midnight Alley. I knew Mr Bishop as one of the series’ antagonist, but I miscalculated when he actually appears. The way he tricks Claire’s parents and the book ends with him demanding to see his daughter, Amelie, or he will kill all the humans in the house. If I learnt anything from this re-read of Morganville Vampires, is that Rachel Caine knew how to make cliffhangers, and that was one thing that never changes. 


Well, that’s a wrap on part one of this Retrospective series for Morganville Vampires. It’s not my most eloquent of posts. I was initially planning to make this a reading vlog, but I’m not confident enough to speak in front of cameras yet. I was mainly writing this for the nostalgia kick, as it has been over 11 years since I first read this series. I’m not surprised by how much I have forgotten, something that will be common in future posts, which is why I wanted to do this retrospective series so much. The list of books I want to read is never-ending, so I often don’t get a chance to re-read books that I did love. So I am very excited to re-read this series again.

Latest postsΒ 

Page to Screen (YA Edition)

Page to Screen (YA Edition)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature once hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten (or your own amount) accordingly.

This week’s topic is free week on Top Ten Tuesday so I decided to do Page to Screen. This was a recent topic but I had sadly missed out on it so when free week came back, I knew I had to do it!

I decided to do a YA edition because I can think of more films/TV. But, making this list made me realise how many YA adaptation actually existed. I can name a couple off the top of my head but when I checked this article by BookRiot, there are a lot more than I expected. Sometimes I don’t realise that certain movies are based off YA novel!

This list is rather random, and I’m not ranking anything best or worst but rather what do I think of if you had to ask me: What YA books have been adapted to TV/Movie? (Only including ones that I have read and watched, and not the ones I’m aware of)

Vampire Academy

Image result for vampire academy screencap

Vampire Academy is one of those adaptions where whoever was in charge of the movie seriously messed up. I’ve only read the first two books (I was very upset with a certain character death in book two and never managed to pick up the rest of the series πŸ˜‚) This series had a lot of potential and I feel like a movie series could’ve really improved upon the work.

For me, I hated the way the film was marketed and the decision to focus on the comedy aspect. Making it an over the top teen comedy that wasn’t really funny dampened any kind of success it could’ve gotten. Which was a shame because I loved Zoey Deutch, Dominic Sherwood and Cameron Monaghan at the time.

The soundtrack was the best though, I discovered CHVRCHES through it and they’re one of my favourite artists now. (Maybe I’ll do a post about my favourite YA adaptation soundtracks πŸ˜‚)

Darren Shan Saga

Image result for cirque du freak screencap

No movie adaptation will upset me more than Cirque Du Freak (Darren Shan Sage). I absolutely loved this book series to pieces. Even my childhood love for Josh Hutcherson couldn’t save this series. And replacing Debbie with a random ass monkey girl called Rebecca had twelve-year -old me fuming. I will cry internally at the failure of this series forever.

The Hunger Games

Image result for the hunger games screencap

Along with Twilight, The Hunger Games franchise is one of the most defining series in YA adaptions. I don’t think need to explain its influence.

But I was definitely on THG train. I was mega obsessed with the series, and while it’s not a current favourite (since mine changes a lot) this series took up a lot of my life. And seeing Josh Hutcherson in another series I love had me jumping over the moon! I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this already but yeah, it’s a little embarrassing looking back, but I don’t regret it.

THG is a good example of adapting a book well than its satisfying as a fan of the book and interesting enough to newcomers.

Divergent

Image result for divergent screencaps

Oh, man. I loved Divergent (book) and the film was pretty satisfying. I think it did well to capitalise on the YA hype that THG built. The marketing for it was so cool and interactive. Unfortunately, I hated the rest of the series and it seems like the films didn’t do well after. I don’t remember seeing the second movie but I do remember being issues with the rest.

The Maze Runner

Image result for the maze runner screencap

Along with Divergent, TMR is another one that kicked off well but slowly lost its strength towards the end. I saw the first and second movie but I don’t remember anything about the rest of the franchise. I did love this series a lot and I was so excited to see it be adapted. But it didn’t work out and that will be a shame.

Morganville Vampires

Image result for morganville vampire web series screencap

This was actually a web series. At the time, I thought this was the greatest thing ever. But then I realised I was seeing this through serious rose tinted glasses. I love the Morganville Vampires but the story was something that needed a better budget. While it isn’t terrible, but it is incredibly cheesy at some points. I like to rewatch it on prime sometimes because it gives me a chuckle and brings back some great memories. Also, I was a teen with no job when you were able to purchase the ID bracelet from the book. Still upset they don’t sell them anymore. 😭😭😭

The Mortal Instruments

Image result for city of bones movie

I’m not going to lie: I preferred the movie. Shocker, I know. I did enjoy the netflix series but I lost interest really easily. If the movie had a better script, maybe things could’ve been a little different. But I feel like it had a lot of potential because the casting was near perfect. (I wasn’t huge on Izzy but Lily Collins as Clary? Perfect.)

I don’t even like this series that much or even read books by Clare anymore but even I was disappointed. The hype for this was quite big I remember and the soundtrack was really good.

The Fault in Our Stars

Image result for the fault in our stars

John Green books in generally really aren’t my cup of tea. As a teen, I forced myself to like them because all my friends loved his books and I was a desperate teenage who struggled to make friends so books were often my way in to friendship groups.

I have to say the film wasn’t bad. I think because it’s contemporary and doesn’t require FX like most YA adaptations, it was more faithful to the book because it didn’t have much restrictions.

Twilight

Image result for twilight screencap

I actually got into Twilight almost. I discovered the books at the same time as Morganville but I drifted to MV instead. (Never really liked the publishers constantly using that ONE quote on all the MV covers telling you to drop Twilight – it was quite rude, in my opinion) I think the films were alright, can’t say much because I wasn’t a super fan, but it was decent and enjoyable. If the script didn’t feel so cringey in the first one, I feel like it would’ve been received better.

Can say that “You named my daughter after the Loch Ness monster?!” is still one of the best scenes yet. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Image result for the miseducation of cameron post

Cameron Post was left for dead by the YA community, and I wasn’t surprised. I feel like F/F novels get forgotten all the time. I know people kept putting this film up against Love, Simon which wasn’t fair because LS had bigger money behind it. I’m not saying one is more important than the other but I wish Cameron Post got a bigger buzz from people online. I was quite neutral about the book but the film was quiet but powerful.

What your favourite YA adaption? What’s on your TTT this week? Leave me a link or let me know in the comments


Latest postsΒ 

Books I’m Thankful For

Books I’m Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature once hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten (or your own amount) accordingly.

I’ve decided to keep this concise and not the normal list of ten you’d expect. There’s a different reasoning behind each of these books which have ignited my love for books and I have helped me through some difficult time. I would genuinely recommend everything single of these.

ttt_thanks2018book_1

Glass Houses (Morganville Vampire #1) By Rachel Caine

Glass Houses was, I believe, the most pivotal book in terms of me becoming a reader. and who I am today. Before reading Glass Houses, I wasn’t a big reader who read a lot of books. I usually stuck to whatever my sister read, which was J.K. Rowling and Jacqueline Wilson. She bought the first couple of book and recommended me to read them. And I loved it! My sister later outgrew the series and became less of a reader, and gifted all her copies of this series to me and I later bought the rest of the series myself. (It was really sad I had to give away all my copies because of the lack of space in my house.)Β  I haven’t had time to re-read the series like I wanted too. (Maybe I’m a little afraid because of the memory haze I have of the series) But I definitely want to sit down and re-read it all again. I have really bad memory but I can pinpoint Glass Houses and the series of the Morganville Vampire as one of the most important books in my life. Because it made me a reader, made me love books, and essentially the reason why I’m typing this post now.

Thief/ Hacker/ ANTIDOTE by Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman is famously more known for her Noughts & Crosses series. Which I never read. (Yet!!) As a kid, those books were always checked out, or the school library just never had it because it was pretty behind on keeping up to date. So these ones were shoved to the side, and I’m pretty sure I picked it up because I accidentally found it. Rachel Caine fuelled my love for fantasy, Malorie Blackman started my love for sci-fi. I clearly remember each of these novels so well, and I looooove each and everyone single one.

Continue reading “Books I’m Thankful For”