By Claudia Gray
Reviewed by Andi
A treat from HarperCollins, Evernight was a huge surprise. When I first heard of the book on various blogs I thought, "Oh, look, more vampire fiction. Helloooo Stephenie Meyer wannabes!" However, I'm woman enough to admit when I'm incredibly wrong. I owe Claudia Gray an apology and I'll even throw in my first born if HarperCollins will send an ARC of the next book in the series, Stargazer.
Before I gush any more, here's a brief synopsis of the plot:
Bianca Olivier is uprooted and plunked down in the middle of an odd boarding school, Evernight, when her parents get jobs teaching there. They feel it is to Bianca's advantage to branch out, meet new people, and generally step outside of herself a bit. However, the students at Evernight are an otherworldly sort of beautiful, stuck up, and more than a little strange. Soon enough, Bianca begins to feel at home as she falls in love with the far more down to earth, but similarly enigmatic, Lucas Ross. Admittedly, this review will be somewhat vague because there's a big twist about 150 pages in. I'm sure if you read other reviews they will certainly give it away, but this twist actually shocked me and left me with my mouth hanging open. Maybe I'm off my game, or maybe I'm just slow, but I really didn't see it coming. What a wild ride!
I realize, readers, you're probably wondering what sets it apart from other vampire fiction--especially the most visible of them all, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga. I venture to say the writing is much better. I never cringed at the dialogue or the plot. Gray has a gift for using true-to-life teenage lingo in a way that doesn't make the reader overly aware of the fact that an adult is writing the story. I felt that the teens were sincere without annoyance. What an idea! There's also far less angst in this book than much of the other teen fiction on the market. Well, I take that back, there must be hormones and angst in some regard or there would be a striking lack of conflict, but on the whole I felt like these characters possessed a pronounced ability to pick themselves up and just get on with life rather than sitting around whining.
Bianca and Lucas were both very likable and conflicted, and I just fell in love with both of them. You've heard me yammer on endlessly here about my favorite vampire series of all time: The Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith, and this series is certainly good enough to take up space on the "keeper" shelf right next to them. In fact, L.J. Smith provided a blurb for the back of the book!
If you're in the mood for original vampire fiction amidst a swirl of knock-offs, this is the right series to try.
Visit Claudia Gray's website.