So, yeah, I caved and got a copy of the first book in the Morganville Vampires. (Thank you, Half-Price Books.) However, unlike books seven and eight, I had a really hard time getting into this.The book’s pacing was really off for me. We go from Claire’s problems at Texas Prairie to her moving into the Glass House and then the book starts to take its time with the revelation of Morganville’s nature. The climax races along, not to mention the book ends on the worst cliffhanger ever. It’s a really weak introduction to the series. When we first meet Claire, all we’re told about her is that she’s in college early (she’s sixteen when the book kicks off) who’s being picked on by the resident Mean Girl. My problem here is that I really don’t have a sense of who Claire is as a person. We’re told that she likes to read, and we see a little bit of her studious personality, but she doesn’t really grow into someone who we can root for. I want to know why she decided to go to college early, why TPU, and what she’s like. (This is a big problem as I’ve read later books, and I still can’t get a grasp on Claire.) I also really don’t like Monica, seeing as she’s pretty much an overblown stereotype of the Bitchy Mean Girl, except more psychotic. The other problem with Claire is that we’re supposed to be finding out that Morganville’s run by vampires along with her, except that this particular little plot point is just casually dropped into Eve’s introductory speech with no build-up or hinting at whatsoever. It’s mentioned that the vampires like to use the college as means of getting food, but in the two chapters that actually take place there, we never really see anything pertaining to this. It also doesn’t help that allegedly, the human residents of Morganville look the other way when students go missing, but the reactions from out-of-town students are never mentioned. I would think there’d at least be a few rumors running around involving missing students, and that would have to been a better set-up for the vampire explanation. There’s also a lot of plot holes in regards to how the vampires keep their secret from spreading out, including distance-induced memory loss and controlled-killings. I don’t know how much of this gets touched on in future volumes, but as an introduction, Caine really drops the ball. There’s a lot of information given to us at once, but at the same it, it’s never fully explained.As for the other characters, I still have generally the same reactions to them as I did whenever I read Fade Out. Eve’s probably my favorite out of the four Glass House residents, she’s still a perky fun Goth (and I loved the fact that she dresses specifically that way to piss off the vamps); however, I didn’t like that the first time Claire describes Eve as being unlike the other stereotyped Goths she knew. As for Michael and Shane, I couldn’t really get too much of a grasp on their characters as well. Michael is still a supernatural, guitar-playing emo boy (although he’s a ghost in the first volumes, not a vampire; I really want to see how that’s going to work). Like with my plot explanation problem, Michael’s situation is explained too quickly and doesn’t really build on for the whole novel, not to mention, the only use of his ghostly nature is played up for the bad cliffhanger. As for Shane, I could definitely feel his anger and rage at the vampires and humans who kiss ass to them, but there’s nothing about him that adds to the plot. I probably will pick up book 2, if only because I’m still interested in how everything in Morganville works, but if I had read Glass Houses first instead of one of the later volumes, I probably wouldn’t have been very interested in the series overall. (And judging by the preview at the end of this volume…*sigh*) The introduction is incredibly weak and doesn’t set up the driving force for the rest of the series. Claire’s characterization relies on “Well, she reads a lot and the reader likes to read a lot” instant sympathy. And the ending comes out of nowhere with a bunch of information thrown at the reader with a supposedly shocking cliffhanger that feels forced. It is not a promising start to a long-running series.