One of the ways Rachel Caine keeps up the tension in Dead Girls' Dance is by a constant background of violence and fear. Everyone's corrupt, and everyone is out to hurt Clare and her friends. It was difficult to read in the first book, but in this one it's passed from strait up violence to sexual violence, something that's a bit of a trigger for me. I'm the wife of a defense attorney whose hoping to be a prosecutor when he grows up and I had a whole lot of questions for him on how the law would characterize what happens to Clare and her friends. Here the major charges in a (very) quasi legal format:
1 sexual assault
1 attempted Stubenville, except with a date drug instead of self-intoxication
1 aggravated assault, which includes attempted vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, & terroristic threats
2 cases of domestic violence between a father and son which would actually be charged as aggravated assault
A pretty impressive list considering that the paperback is only 238 pages. That's not including an atmosphere of threats and the constant belittlement of the main character for being too female/week/young. A special moment has to go to Clare for insisting that even after a guy drugged her and led her into a locked room for him and his buddies to gang rape that the guy really isn't all bad. While true, it shows a basic ignorance in her own rights as well as not understanding the mentality that it would take to be willing to violate a teenage girls rights and body. If it weren't for her best friend insisting that she go to the police I might have given up then and there.
I liked The Glass House and I even liked Dead Girls' Dance for all of it's many flaws. I'm just not sure I'm comfortable supporting a series that depends on the very elements most toxic in our culture for it's secondary momentum, no matter how enjoyable.