Author: Claudia Gray
Release Date: March 8, 2011 (hardcover)
Source: ARC received for review
Overall: 4 Stars
** Warning: This summary contains spoilers especially if you haven't read the third novel in the series, Hourglass. **
Destiny awaits Bianca and Lucas . . .
Bianca and Lucas have always believed they could endure anything to be together. When a twist of fate not only transforms Bianca into a wraith but also turns Lucas into a vampire—the very creature he spent his life hunting—they are left reeling.
Haunted by his powerful need to kill, Lucas can turn to only one place for help . . . Evernight Academy. Bianca is determined to remain with him. But with the vampire leader of Evernight waging a war against wraiths, her former home has become the most dangerous place she could be, despite the new powers her ghostly transformation has given her.
A battle between wraiths and vampires looms, and Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They've overcome every obstacle life has thrown at them, but is their love strong enough to survive the challenges after life?
First and foremost, I must point out this review will contain spoilers from the previous novels, especially if you have not read the third novel Hourglass yet. As for Afterlife itself though, it will be spoiler-free like my usual reviews!
I was a bit hesitant to actually begin reading Afterlife because once I started, it would only mean saying goodbye to a cast of characters that I've been following for several years now. But like most things in life, good things must come to an end and so it is with Lucas and Bianca's chapter in the Evernight series. The questions you've always had lingering in your mind during the series are all answered in a novel that still manages to take you by surprise when you least expect it!
Picking up immediately after the awful cliff-hanger ending in Hourglass, we return to find that Lucas has risen as a vampire... the very creature he would despise to ever be while Bianca slowly comes to realize some of the extents of her new powers as a wraith. However, Lucas is struggling to control the hunger he feels for human blood and is terrified he will kill someone for it- even if it were a friend. In need of help controlling the constant hunger, Balthazar convinces them that Lucas' only chance to make it through is to seek the sanctuary of Evernight Academy. But returning to Evernight is more dangerous than ever for Bianca, especially when Mrs. Bethany has set traps in place around the school in her fight against the wraiths...
I thought Bianca really stepped up in this one. She was beginning to drive me nuts in Hourglass but in this novel, I totally understood her actions so much more. Always quick to defend those she loves, Bianca would do anything to help others and more so when it comes to Lucas. For me, it was really in this novel that I finally came to see her rise from a naive, schoolgirl to a young women who sees the bigger picture. She's frightened of what being a wraith truly entails, yet you would never tell this from the strength she finds within herself to help those she cares about.
It was a bit heartbreaking to see Lucas struggling so much in Afterlife as he attempted to come to terms with being a vampire, the very beings he was brought up to hate and hunt as a Black Cross hunter. Between Bianca and himself, he's always seemed be the stronger, more stable one... so it was interesting to see these roles sort of switched in the novel. Nevertheless, if you couldn't have thought these two could become closer, well they did! It's these obstacles that they try to overcome together that really showcases the passion between them... and at last, I think I finally understood that the two were for real.
I've always been hung up on the fact that Balthazar should have been with someone. You might have said I was Team Balthazar on those few dates he shared with Bianca in the past, but I guess I finally realized with some sadness in Afterlife that he was never really in the race. It had always only been Lucas for Bianca.
Afterlife finishes the love story of Lucas and Bianca in the most bittersweet of endings. It's not completely given to you wrapped with a red ribbon and it actually left me sort of conflicted... yet there's still happiness to be found. But that's all I say in that regard. Claudia Gray has done a wonderful job wrapping up their story but I'm glad she's not saying goodbye quite yet to Balthazar as she's writing a novel centered on him set for release in 2012. I want him to find his own happy ending!
Thanks so much to HarperTeen for sending me this review copy!