Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: Afterlife by Claudia Gray

Title: Afterlife
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers
Year of Release: 2011
ISBN: 978 0 7322 8970 6 (pbk.)
Source: Purchased
It's going to be okay, Lucas, I thought, willing him to hear me past the divide between this world and the next. Wasn't he about to cross that divide to return to me? So maybe we were close enough for him to listen. We're dead, but we can still be together. Nothing matters more than that. We're stronger than death. Now nothing else ever has to come between us. You and I never have to be apart again. 
Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality: they have become what they most feared. Lucas is a vampire, and Bianca is a wraith. Together, they've overcome every obstacle life has thrown at them and fought pitched battles against enemies- mortal and otherwise. Now they must face their biggest challenge so far. They must discover if their love is strong enough to survive what comes after life... 
Packed with romance, suspense and page-turning drama, Afterlife delivers a heart-stopping conclusion that won't disappoint the many fans who have made the Evernight series such a runaway success. 
In my review on Stargazer , I said that I couldn't decide whether I liked these books or not. Well, I have officially decided. I like them. No, not like- love! They're amazing! This epic conclusion to the heart-stopping Evernight series is positively flawless and will not disappoint those who have become fans of these books (which isn't hard). The beatiful characters and captivating plots come together fabulously to make an amazing series. This book picks up right where the last one left off. Lucas is dead, by Charity's hand. Except, he's not just dead. He's in transition- becoming the one thing he hates and fears above all else; a vampire. Bianca, a new wraith is all the while trying to come to terms with what she is. She, Balthazar, Vic and Ranulf remain by his side until he awakes. Controlled by blood hunger and fear, Lucas is not the same person he was and never will be. They decide to take him to Evernight, where he can freely call upon the sanctuary it offers. But given his Black Cross background and his history with Evernight Academy, they doubt Mrs Bethany will look after him. Instead, she surprises them all and accepts him into her home. But what they don't know is that she has an ulterior motive that, in the balance, holds Bianca's life and the existence of the other wraiths she has grown to accept and love. Banding together to fight one last epic battle against the only people that stand in the way of their happiness, Lucas, Bianca, Balthazar, Vic, Ranulf, Bianca's parents and eventually, Patrice, prepare themselves for their last battle.

Not only was Afterlife packed with suspense and drama, it was also incredibly funny and I found myself laughing aloud to a lot of the funnier lines. I recommend this series to all those who are fans of the supernatural and paranormal, share a love of crazy-hot vamps and just all-around enjoy an epic love story. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: Hourglass by Claudia Gray

Title: Hourglass
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers
Year of Release: 2010
ISBN: 978 0 7322 8968 0 (pbk.)
Source: Purchased
Bianca has found refuge again with the Black Cross, and she and Lucas work desperately to keep her secret. In this company, being a vampire is a death sentence, and the two of them live and train alongside the hunters without anyone noticing her increasing need for blood. 
Even though she's with the boy she loves more than anyone else in the world, Bianca can't help worrying about the family and friends she left behind. Caught between three feuding worlds, it's starting to feel as though she'll never be entirely at peace again. 
When another betrayal puts the lovers in mortal danger once more, they realise that all they truly have is each other. But with the secret of Bianca's birth taking hold, not even Lucas can help her win her toughest fight. 

Nothing I say in this review will be enough to say how much I enjoyed reading this book. It was positively fabulous. It was the first book in the series to be set away from Evernight and that just made it all the more suspenseful. I finished this book within a matter of days- it was un-put-down-able and without a doubt my absolute favourite in this series so far. Black Cross- the secret organization that specializes in hunting and killing vampires has taken Bianca and her friend Raquel under their wing and are teaching them the ropes. Little do they know, Bianca is a vampire- the creature they despise- and if they knew the truth, she would be slaughtered without a moment's hesitation. No one has noticed her increasing need for blood and she can only go five days without it before the craving gets to be too much. The physical signs begin to show too- she's weaker, paler, and her reflection in mirrors is beginning to disappear. If she doesn't get blood soon, there's a good chance the Black Cross hunters will catch on. After a whirlwind of events that unfold one after the other, Lucas and Bianca are forced to leave Black Cross and make it on their own. No money, no home and no food, they're pretty much stuck. After borrowing money from a few friends and living in Vic's basement, the two seem pretty much set for a while. That is, until Bianca starts getting dizzy spells. She's gradually getting weaker and is losing her appetite for blood. She doesn't know what's happening to her and Lucas is worried. With no way to contact her parents or the friends she once had at school, Bianca and Lucas are on their own. 
Okay, I'll stop there. I hope I've given you a good enough summary of the book to make you want to get into this series. It's great. Mystery, suspense, vengeful vampires, a steamy romance and an earth-shattering conclusion all make this book so beautiful and I would highly recommend it and the series. If you're a fan of the Vampire Academy series, you'll love these books! 

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Review: Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Title: Stargazer
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers
Year of Release: 2008
ISBN: 978 0 7322 8968 3
Source: Purchased
"I kissed Lucas again, more slowly this time. We held each other tighter, and I started to wonder how much closer we could get- and then I remembered what it had felt like when I drank his blood."
Evernight Academy: an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful, dangerous students of all- vampires. Bianca, born to two vampires, has always been told her destiny is to become one of them. But Bianca fell in love with Lucas- a vampire hunter sworn to destroy her kind. They were torn apart when his true identity was revealed, forcing him to flee the school. 
Although they may be separated, Bianca and Lucas will not give each other up. She will risk anything for the chance to see him again, even if it means coming face-to-face with the vampire hunters of Black Cross- or deceiving the powerful vampires of Evernight. Bianca's secrets will force her to live a life of lies. Yet Bianca isn't the only one keeping secrets. When Evernight is attacked by an evil force that seems to target her, she discovers the truth she thought she knew is only the beginning...

I'll be straight- I'm conflicted. I can't decide if I like these books or not. They are by no means the best vampire-romance stories I've read and they aren't to die for and Lucas isn't all that hot and they are kind of cheesy, but on the other hand, there is a truth to the story and the plot is incredible and it is well written, so I honestly don't know. I liked the first book better, I always like the first book of a series best, but this one had more action, secrecy and suspense than the last one, which was good. 
Lucas has been forced to run away from Evernight and Bianca can't go with him, despite how much as she would like to. They are in love. What seems petty and selfish and stupid to her superiors is actually true and pure and she will do anything to be with Lucas. They arrange meetings, but these don't always work the way they want to. Lucas belongs to Black Cross- an organization based on killing vampires- and his schedule is understandably unpredictable. Instead of Bianca having to sneak away from the school to see him, she puts her faith in Balthazar- a 300 year old vampire intent on finding his sister Charity who is in town. They strike a deal. Balthazar is respected and has authority. If he and Bianca fool people to believe they're dating, he can get permission to take her off campus. She can meet up with Lucas and he can focus on hunting down his sister. It's a win-win. But when other supernatural forces attempt to penetrate the school and target Bianca, they realise that they have more to fear than getting caught.
I really liked this story-line. It was much more interesting than the last one, but then again, I did find it kind of cheesy at times. I will recommend this series if you are a vampire fanatic, but don't read them if you're sick of all those vampire books because this one is pretty much exactly like the rest of them. 
(You can find links to relative websites in my review on Evernight)