Mandy Reviews: Claudia Gray—The Evernight Series

‘The first rule of Evernight is that any vampire who seeks sanctuary must be given a place.’

The Evernight series by Claudia Gray is one of the most recent young adult vampire series to hit our shelves. The fourth and final book, Afterlife was released earlier this year, winding up a series that’s been full of twists, turns and heart-stopping cliff-hangers.

In book one – Evernight – we meet Bianca, the star of the show. She’s not exactly thrilled to be starting at her new school, the creepy and deliciously gothic Evernight Academy. She figures she’ll never fit in with the other students. To make things worse, her parents are both teachers at the strange boarding school. Bianca hates it; the other students are strange, aloof and not at all friendly. She wishes she was back home with her old friends and even contemplates running away. It’s then she literally runs into Lucas, and suddenly, Evernight isn’t looking so bad after all.

I was warned when I started reading Evernight that there’s a twist in the middle of book one that will take your breath away. Still, I didn’t see it coming. I’ll just say OMG and move on… but seriously… OMG. It’s then that you realise this series isn’t the usual vampire / school / heartache / sappy romance kinda book. Evernight is different.

Book two – Stargazer – brings heartache and betrayal into the lives of Bianca and Lucas. They’re separated by (note, I’m being oh-so-evasive here…) forces beyond their control. With the help of friends Vic and Balthazar, the loved-up twosome find ways of being together, even if it means they risk running into enemies who seem to be hiding around every corner, and lying to those who are trying to protect them. Soon, everything is turned upside down when Evernight Academy is invaded by wraiths – and they seem to be targeting Bianca. Everyone is hiding something – the teachers, even Bianca’s parents. Why won’t they tell her what’s going on? Why are the wraiths after her in particular?

Book three – Hourglass – takes place away from Evernight Academy. Bianca and Lucas are on the run, and take refuge with a band of elite vampire hunters, The Black Cross. In this instalment, things between Lucas and Bianca definitely heat up, their relationship taking the next step. This is where things got a little strange for me – Bianca can be a bit of a Mary Sue character – that is, she’s a bit too perfect, a bit beige and boring. Lucas on the other hand, is a refreshing change in the world of Young Adult paranormal romances. He has strong convictions, is willing to actually get some (or a lot of) blood on his hands, and doesn’t turn into a soppy mess once the love thing comes along.

This one ends on a huge cliff-hanger – make sure you have book four ready and waiting to pick up the minute you’ve read the last page of Hourglass. Drama! Death! Yet more betrayal, and a very, very evil vampire named Charity.

Book four – Afterlife – not only tidies up all the loose ends from earlier books, but has some more twists and turns that keep the reader guessing right till the end. Now back at Evernight, Bianca and the gang have some seriously annoyed wraiths to contend with, along with some totally whacked-out vampires. Evernight is no longer the safe haven it once was (particularly for Bianca), and chances are, the love birds might become separated forever.

Evernight is a great series for anyone looking for a Vampire story with a twist. It’s funny, light and romantic (but not in the yikky sort of way). Claudia Gray has done a fantastic job of picking up vampire folklore and rewriting it for her own means. It’s what I’d call ‘modern’ vampire fiction – these vamps can tolerate a bit of sunshine, but travelling over moving water doesn’t bode so well for them. They assimilate with humans, but the gnawing hunger of true vampire nature never goes away… blood is blood, and when you’re a starving vamp, well, it doesn’t matter whose neck it comes from. The inclusion of the Black Cross – kind of a renegade bunch of Slayer-types – is refreshing, as is the legend behind the wraiths. It shows that even on the side of evil there is good, and in the darkest places hope can always be found.

I’d recommend Evernight to Vampire fans aged 13 or 14 upwards. Make sure you keep an eye out for BALTHAZAR – a spin off with one of the stand-out characters from Evernight, due out March 2012.

Evernight Series by author Amy Vincent, writing as Claudia Gray.

Published by Harper Collins.

Evernight – paperback, 327 pages. ISBN – 978 0 7322 8967 6

Stargazer – paperback, 332 pages. ISBN – 978 0 7322 8968 3

Hourglass – paperback, 339 pages. ISBN – 978 0 7322 8969 0

Afterlife – paperback, 360 pages. ISBN – 978 0 7322 8970 6

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