The one that surprised me and changed my initial standing.
An absolute must-read for all the paranormal lovers out there. I literally couldn't put my book down until I was finished, and then I grabbed the sequel and so on and so on...
First of all, let me try to persuade you only to give this book a chance, if nothing else then because the recommendation came from a big fan of the paranormal world (me) and a hopeless follower of authors such as J.R.Ward, Larissa Ione, Kerrelyn Sparks, Richelle Mead, Kresley Cole etc.
I don't know why people seem to have such a low opinion on this book but from as far as I can see, half of those who gave it a low grade haven't even finished it (at least three top reviews on Goodreads alone). And the book only gets better, especially the sequel.
The beginning is more or less like any other beginning. A college freshmen Claire Danvers moves to Morganville to attend an university which will help her get to MIT or Caltech eventually. She is a smart sixteen year old whom skipped a couple of semesters and now she is the youngest of the freshmen and as you can imagine, quite alone in a new town. She enjoys studying, especially physics. Her life consists of studying, eating and sleeping.
Until one faithful day when she corrects a girl named Monica Morrell about the facts of the WWII and shames her in front of her company. That is the last day of Claire's old life and a step (rather painful push) into a new one. Monica is a stupid girl but pretty one and a daughter of a powerful man. But most of all, Monica is pure vile and evil. She starts to torture Claire on a daily basis. First little things such as taking her laundry but gradually stepping up to beating and brutally throwing Claire down the stairs.
In that instant, Claire knew she had to leave if she wanted to live to see another day. So she ran away from the campus in search of a sanctuary in a hostile town where everyone feared Monica. Claire arrived at a house to ask about a vacant room all beaten up and bruised. The house was huge and beautiful and the residents were all special. The girl who took Claire in was Eve, an eighteen year old girl all dressed up in goth clothes. She introduced Claire to Shane, another resident who was also eighteen but jobless and very handsome. When she met the final resident and the owner of the house, Michael, she managed to persuade him to let her stay temporarily.
And so far we have a pretty typical young adult novel. Here is where it heats up...
What Claire as an outsider didn't know was that Morganville was a city of vampires. They always existed along side humans. They all settled here because their species was dying out. No one knew how to make more vampires, the knowledge was lost to all but one old vampire called Amelia. And she refused to share it. Or make any more. The humans in Morganville learned how to live like this. Every family was under one vampire's Protection and he had every right to decide their fate. If you weren't under any protection you were similar to cattle or to ignorant students at the university who slowly disappeared or transferred out.
Poking Monica's bad side put Claire amidst the Morganville paranormal life, alone and helpless. If it weren't for Eve, Shane and Michael she probably wouldn't make it. They took her in and helped her as best as they could since they were all without Protection, something close to renegades or anarchists or simply troubled teenagers. Nonetheless, they all became friends with Claire. And she refused to hide for the rest of her life. So she tried her best to fit in with her newly gained knowledge.
But in a city of vampires where you have already made a name of yourself there isn't much room to hide and live a normal life. Claire will soon realize just how much everyone wants her dead and how much it will cost her to only stay alive... Not to mention the mystery of her roommate who disappears during the day but isn't a vampire. How exactly can one survive all of that?
I can't make it sound as nearly as appealing as it actually is. I expected a whiny teenager and some whimpy story how she is having troubles fitting in because she is the youngest and smartest of the lot. But what I got literally sent shivers down my spine.
This book is BRUTAL, MENACING, DARK, UNCENSORED and MINDBLOWING. The heroine of the story was beaten, thrown down the stairs, poured with acid, beaten some more, almost set on fire and almost bitten. I'm sure I left something out because I couldn't make myself write a review immediately after I finished the book. I was too busy reading the sequel. It is unbelievable how the story shifts into a dark world of bullying, protected daughters who can kill and get away with it, the helplessness of the situation, addition of the paranormal elements and evil that comes with it.
The four kids stranded in a house that holds its own mysteries just as every single one of them holds theirs. Michael disappears in daytime hours, Shane is troubled over his past and has no peace in the present just as Eve can't seem to forgive her family for their wrongdoings. And then we have Claire, a simple ignorant, smart but gullible girl who stumbled upon something she will never be able to get away from. Claire represents all the readers out there. She grew up in a normal family of a loving home and grew up happy. She enrolled into an university as a big hope to lend some of the Ivy League colleagues one day. One remark changed everything. She was trapped in a hostile city with three strangers who were closest she had to friends and her life was constantly in danger. And now she knew of vampires... and they knew everything about her...
Why four stars? Because of Claire.
I concur with the majority of the bad critiques in the Claire part only.
Claire was annoying from the beginning. The author tried to describe her as some kind of a wunderkind / genius but in a wrong way. Claire kept repeating how she is a freak of nature because she liked studying and physics and books. Like, that only happens once in a billion. The author exaggerated way too much on this subject and tried to mention it whenever she could. Which was often, unnecessary and stupid.
Claire was humble in nature, she would never continuously say that about herself. Like she is the only smart person alive. I understand what a buzz kill is that but it gets better once you step deeper into the Morganville life, especially in the life of the residents of the Glass house (as in Michael Glass, the owner).
And I can assure you that Claire grows with time (she was only sixteen to begin with) and her relationships with others strengthen.
I heard a lot of complaints on why she didn't leave the city. Because if you would actually put some effort into reading it all the way through you would see that at first she didn't want to back down because of some bullies and just throw away her future schooling, then she couldn't leave because of Monica (her father is the mayor and her brother a cop), she wouldn't let Claire leave alive. And finally because of the vampires. Because no one gets out once they know about the real Morganville. For more information, please - FINISH READING THE BOOK AND THEN JUDGE.
I just can't understand people who read a few chapters, abandon a book because they were lost or the beginning was slow or one of the characters annoyed them. This is only the beginning of the Series and hell, you can't like everyone, it's called life, people. Give it a chance at least. Finish it, then judge and if you still don't like it, I won't say another word.
Not a spoiler but an encouragement - the sequel is even BETTER. I gulped it in one sitting. Action, blood, love, paranormal, suspense, mystery, cool characters, difficult dark subjects (dark family history, attempted rape...).
Stay tuned ;)