Author: Claudia Gray
Page Count: 339 pages
Genre: paranormal romance, young adult
Copy for review provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
50 words or less: Bianca and Lucas are trying to navigate not only the world of the vampires, but the world of the Black Cross hunters. Both of them have to learn the hard way that sometimes it's luck that conquers all, and that some relationships don't hold up under strain.
Daaaaaaaaaang. True confessions time! I, as you may have noticed, wasn't all that overwhelmed by either Evernight or Stargazer. I didn't hate them, I just wasn't moved to episodes of poetic rapture by them and thought there was something in each of them that didn't quite win me over. Hourglass, fellow readers, is a totally different kettle of fish.
The problem with reading pretty extensively in a few genres is that after awhile, certain story elements or story lines start to feel pretty much played out. Star crossed lovers? Done. Mysterious origins leading to massive power surges? Done. Inexplicable prejudice somehow being ignored in the face of Troo Loove? All set. This series came perilously close to teetering over the brink of mediocrity when Claudia Gray flexed her writing chops and punched us in the face like Count von Count punched Edward Cullen.
Seriously- Lucas and Bianca are on the lam from the vampires AND the wraiths and have taken refuge with Black Cross, a risky move at best and a deadly one at worst. Things take a serious turn for the worse when Balthazar, our resident friendly vampire, is captured by Black Cross and they commence their deadly dealings tout suite.
In their efforts to save Balthazar from a decidedly unsavory and messy fate, they set in motion events that will dramatically chance their lives together and the whole tone and direction of the series. The narrative that comes out of this turn of events is fantastic- it's twisty and turny with lots of changes and surprises that I didn't see coming, although now that the story is finished, make perfect sense.
I also really enjoyed the maturing and expanding of Lucas and Bianca's relationship. I said in my review of Stargazer that I didn't really understand what these two saw in each other and at that point in the series, my feelings will probably stay the same. Both of them do some growing up here in terms of their attitudes and actions (literally and figuratively) that really made their time together a whole lot more believable and interesting to read about.
Yes, I am excited that Balthazar is getting his own book.
A favorite thing about this series is that each book is better than the last. If this trend keeps up, then Afterlife is going to be fan-freaking-tastic.
Overall Grade: B+