Evernight

I don’t remember how I came across Claudia Gray’s Evernight, but I knew it was about vampires, so it was enough for me to give it a try. I liked it, and I want to write a review about it, but I am at a serious impasse. I am not against throwing spoiler alerts left and right, but in this case I feel somehow…hesitant. Anyway, here it goes: SPOILER ALERT around the corner.

Bianca Olivier has been enrolled at Evernight, a boarding school for the rich and the spoiled. She doesn’t have much of a choice in terms of liking it or not, since her parents teach at the school and are adamant about her studying there. Things get better when Bianca meets Lucas Ross who has decided to protect her from the evilness lurking in the shadows of the school.

The love story follows the usual patterns of teen angst with a light side of supernatural elements, when at page 139 Bianca shows her true colors. She is the vampire. Not only that, she is a born vampire. Everybody who is a serious vampire fan knows that vampires are made, not born. Which in turns should elicit the old time question about who made the first vampire…something like the egg and the chicken conundrum. But I digress.

I liked how Claudia Gray played with words from the beginning of the story letting the readers know that Bianca is special, and that her parents consider her as their little miracle come through. I thought that it was rather clever to describe Bianca’s world from her point of view, without letting out her nature. The author treated her character being a vampire the same way as ethnicity, or skin color. It stands to reason to think that if the protagonist is from India, for example, he or she will refer to food as simply food, not Indian food. Therefore Bianca doesn’t say exactly what she eats, food is food for her, even when her meal is a warm cup of blood.

Bianca bites Lucas, not once but twice. The second time with his permission. The second bite leaves Lucas with heightened senses, and Bianca seeks adults’ advice on what is happening to him. And that is when it turns out that Lucas is not who he seems, as well. He is part of Black Cross, a league of vampire hunters. Once discovered, Lucas runs away and Bianca follows him, only to be separated again when her parents and several vampires come to rescue her from the Black Cross’ crutches.

In a nutshell, Bianca and Lucas’ love story is the young adult vampire version of Romeo and Juliet, minus the ending, otherwise there wouldn’t be other three books after the first one. And let’s face it, nobody really likes it when young characters die in the name of love. 

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Evernight

Vampire Academy

Another gift from the Vampire Book Club : Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. As I wrote before, I am an urban fantasy’s fan, and I have a penchant for vampires. After having read few novels that were forgotten as soon as I put them down, I gave Vampire Academy a try simply because the author lives in Seattle. And I am glad I did it. Spoiler Alert after the break.

Vampire Academy is the first in the homonymous series.  Rose and Lissa are the best of friends, they are inseparable. They live one for the other. Literally. Lissa is Vasilisa Dragomir, a Moroi, vampire royalty who can use magic. Rose is Rosemarie Hathaway, a dhampir, a hybrid, half human half vampire, whose purpose in life is to be eventually Lissa’ s guardian. This is the way of life for Moroi and dhampirs, but the two girls have a special bond. Rose can enter in Lissa’ s mind and feel and see anything she feels and sees. After having successfully lived for two years in the human world, hiding from a mysterious entity who threats Lissa’s life, they are tracked down and brought back to ST. Vladimir’s Academy by Dimitri Belikow, a Russian dhampir guard sent by the school. Once back at the Academy, the two girls  have to deal with teenager’s drama, and life and death problems. While Lissa is sent back to her classes, Rose has to put up with special training under Dimitri’s supervision. Soon Rose discovers that the reason why Lissa is becoming moody and unstable is because she uses the healing power which is almost unheard of among vampires. With the help of Dimitri, Rose manages to save Lissa from her ill uncle, who wants to use his niece to heal and reign as the new vampire king.

Vampire Academy is a fast read, it is well written, and most importantly its world is regulated by specific rules that limits the characters in their interaction. The Moroi are vampires who need dhampirs to defend themselves against the Strigoi. While the Moroi are vampires who feed from humans, but don’t kill them, the Strigoi are vampires who have killed humans. The Moroi are alive and use magical powers; the Strigoi are dead and have lost their connection with earth’s magic. Dhampirs are stronger than Moroi, but can’t procreate without their help. The two races need to stay united against the dead vampires. Rose and Lissa live in a heavily structured society and they break rules at every turn. Rose allows Lissa to feed from her, and falls in love with Dimitri, seven years older than her and dhampir. Lissa uses compulsion on other Moroi to do her bidding, and help cleaning Rose’s reputation.

As I wrote in another occasion, it is a pleasure when a literary universe is so well crafted that is believable. When Rose lets Lissa feed from her, the reader’s sentiments are a mix of disgust and fascination. When she gradually falls in love with Dimitri, it is evident that their union is doomed by society. Dhampirs as a species need Moroi to survive, and a damphir love story is taboo. Equally fascinating are the byproducts of such society. Rose is called a blood-whore, a dhampir woman who allows vampires to feed from her during sex. Young Moroi males find dhampir girls exotic and desirable compared to the thin and ethereal vampire girls, but never marry them. It’s interesting that the aspect of feeding is treated as something necessary, but somehow demeaning. Therefore humans exist at the fringe of the vampires’ world. Although treated gently, humans are no more than blood containers.

Vampire Academy is a good example that it is possible to infuse new energy in a genre that is not original anymore. Even in the overcrowded young adults paranormal romance category.  

Vampire Academy