Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Bianca is a half-vampire in love with a human, but can she really be with him or will her vampiric nature stop her from loving the boy of her dreams?
I do not own the content taken from this novel. All rights belong to Claudia Gray and Harper Collins.
Excerpt taken from Page 1:
“THE BURNING ARROW THUDDED INTO THE WALL.
Fire. The old, dry wood of the meetinghouse ignited in an instant. Dark, oily smoke filled the air, scratching my lungs and making me choke. Around me, my new friends cried out in shock before grabbing weapons, preparing to fight for their lives.
This is because of me.”
It’s a first person narrative told by Bianca. It creates a more intimate experience for the reader, particularly later on in the novel when she tells us what it is like to kiss Lucas. She has never had a boyfriend and I enjoyed the romance she shares with Lucas. It’s believable in places. She does come across childish on occasion and her descriptions can be quite repetitious, especially when she talks about Lucas. She overuses the sunlight imagery when she describes him. Sometimes, it feels as though Gray could push a bit further with Bianca. She misses out on opportunities to make her funnier. Bianca, as narrator, tends to grate on the reader, making her a difficult character to like since we learn a lot through her by way of the narration. This would be fine if I thought I was meant to dislike her but I think the idea is to make her relate to young girls and be a likeable character.
If nothing else, I like the range of characters we get. Mrs. Bethany, the strict authoritarian figure that guards her secret closely, her parents that are lovable, charming and who care for Bianca immensely, Raquel as the bookish, introverted type, Patrice as the rich, nonchalant kid. With Patrice, we get a glimpse of her vulnerability. Bianca is not what I could call a well-rounded character and I can imagine her annoying teenage girls internationally. I want to like Lucas but I still find his discovery of Bianca’s vampiric roots a little jerky to say the least and the way he tackles her to “protect” her when he first meets her is baffling. It’s even crazier that Bianca feels like she knows this guy, telling the reader that she no longer views him as a stranger after what – less than twenty-four hours?
I think the plot is a bit nuts to say the least. I’ll sum it up in as little as four words: vampires/vampire school/vampirism. Okay, I’ll admit that it doesn’t give much in the way of the plot but I want to give anyone that’s going to read this book a heads up that Bianca is a VAMPIRE. This will help you digest the halfway point revelation. Your welcome. So basically, Bianca and Lucas both have secrets and as attracted as they are to each other, they find it difficult to overcome the obstacles in their forbidden romance. Need I say more? Feel like you’ve been on this train before? Probably because you have, at least a dozen times before.
When I am in the school grounds, I can picture everything clearly. I know where I am. I know what I see and what I smell. In Boston, even in the chaos that’s going on, I can picture the rickety beds and the sub-standard accommodation in which Bianca must spend the night. I get the lights and the pawnbrokers and the bails bondsmen that line the street. Kudos to Gray for creating time-framing through dramatisation. The memorable Modern Technology class, deals with the working of e-mails and iPhones tells me that this story is set in the late noughties.
The plot is so harrowed and the narrative so repetitive and haphazard that I really can’t find many good points about this book. J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts is a much more visual school. My advice for writers: don’t pick a school environment for a story unless you have compelling characters, an intriguing plot and something new or edgy to add. It’s all about world-building and this opportunity comes too late for Gray. I much preferred Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. Granted, it’s not flawless, but there’s more evidence of world-building in her story. I suppose I can give her some points for her interpretation for vampirism; that in this world, you can become a fully-fledged vampire by killing a mortal.
If you’ve read every other book in the English language, start reading in French.
Books You May Also Like:
Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast
The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith
Night World by L.J. Smith
Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
(Note: each of these books is a series)