Claudia Gray’s New York Times bestselling Evernight vampire series continues with its fourth book, “Afterlife,” concluding the romantic and dark adventures of Bianca and Lucas.
The lovers must learn to deal with their new existence: Lucas as vampire and Bianca a ghostly wraith. Although Lucas spent much of his human life hunting and despising the creature he has become, he must live as one and learn to control an almost uncontrollable thirst for human blood. For help, Lucas returns to a mainstay of the series, centuries old boarding school Evernight Academy. The school is where the couple met and a sanctuary for vampires.
Bianca and Lucas are determined to stay together, even if wraith and vampire is the ultimate odd couple, but face further obstacles when they discover a secret war against wraiths at Evernight Academy — wraiths being the natural enemy of vampires. Although Bianca’s recent transformation revealed supernatural powers, the sanctuary they hoped for is very dangerous.
Lucas and Bianca overcame many obstacles throughout the series, but with the battle between wraiths and vampires on the horizon and their difficult new existence, can they survive “Afterlife”?
For those already in the know about this series — which includes “Evernight,” “Stargazer” and “Hourglass” — you more than likely read “Afterlife” soon after it hit bookstores Feb. 15, 2011. I must confess, Father I have sinned and never read any of the books. So, I began “Afterlife” with no knowledge of the well established love between Lucas and Bianca, their dangerous adventures, and their friends and family, including reader-favorite Balthazar who is at the center of Claudia Gray’s fifth Evernight novel (which is in the works).
Although unenlightened and starting this book as if there was an inside joke no one would let me in on, the story made up for my ignorance. It was like solving a puzzle and although I was without background, it was well written and provided an easy but enjoyable read with a unique and strong basis.
The book featured enough action to keep me focused: the vampire killer group Black Cross, supernatural characters and events, well developed characters in their own right, and even humor — comparing two fighting wraiths to a fluffernutter sandwich as a gooey, sticky mess. Each character, from Bianca’s teacher parents to token human friend-to-the-vampires Vic, was well developed and multi-dimensional.
I enjoyed the clean writing style, the flow of the story and how the book is told in the point of view of Bianca. This provided a great feel for her character, which in turn contributed greatly to the story and other characters.
The last 150 pages were filled with surprising character developments, twists and action building to the unexpected ending (no spoilers).
Although it includes great life lessons, including liking people for who they are, it is more suitable for older teens since it includes some crude humor (vampires lusting over an ovulating classmate) and a few sexual and adult situations.
The Dark Days of the Supernatural series continues to provide excellent mysteries filled with paranormal romance mixed with the supernatural — a great recipe for a book. “Desire of the Dead” by Kimberly Derting is the last book in the series. As I began the story I couldn’t help but worry I would suffer from supernatural overload. However, bravo Harper Collins for ending the series with a great twist: teenager Violet holds powers allowing her to sense the echoes of people who were recently murdered as well as a connection to their killers. Another dimension to feed my supernatural appetite!