At the eerily Gothic Evernight Academy, the other students are sleek, smart, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.
When she meets handsome, brooding Lucas, he warns her to be careful - even when it comes to caring about him. But the connection between them can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart...and make Bianca question everything she's ever believed."
This is the first book in the Evernight series and again it's one I've had for a while. I am not a fan of the fairly typical vampire books where girl meets strange/unearthly beautiful boy who she can't resist, turns out he's a centuries old vampire, they can't stay apart etc. And despite good recs for this one, I wasn't convinced I wasn't about to wade in to another of those. Turns out, I was really wrong. The twist to this book, this series, was awesome and it took me a ridiculous amount of time to figure it out. I had ideas of what the secrets were, they changed and altered as I was reading it, but right up to the reveal I hadn't figured out half of it. It's carefully hidden until it's needed and I was really impressed with the impact it left for me. It made earlier moments make a whole lot more sense, even though at the time they hadn't seemed strange at all, or only very slightly odd, but easily brushed off.
Bianca actually won me over within just a couple of pages. She's attempting to run away before her first day at Evernight begins, and running through the woods she spots a guy. She recognizes the danger instantly and runs. Without screaming. She's smart enough to know no one was around to hear her so she just ran, saving the energy/breath required for screaming and putting it to far better use running.
I was hooked from the start and found it pretty hard to put down. Bianca is smart, if a little naive (but hey, she's 16, it's allowed), and easy to like and relate to. Lucas was more of a mystery, but I had a lot of fun trying to figure him out. I liked him from the start, he's got the 'you should stay away from me for your own good' attitude that is seen in plenty of those pretty boy vampires that are seen in YA novels (and adult ones for that matter), but rather than being dark and brooding, he's fun. He's doesn't battle himself like a lot of those typical characters, or not in that sense anyway. He's a trouble maker, he likes to disagree, but he does genuinely care about Bianca as well. Very, very hard not to love him. He won me over very quickly with his first appearance in the book as well.
There are many, many secrets being hidden by most of the characters in this book, and trying to figure them out wasn't easy. Well, okay some were, and once certain things were revealed, others were guessable as well. But then the tension of not knowing was replaced by the feeling 'oh hell...s/he's gonna find out that s/he is ...' and that suspense was equally enthralling. But wherever the tension was coming from, it was there all the way through.
And while romance does play a big part of this book, Bianca doesn't spend all of her time thinking only of Lucas. There are some other things going on as well for her, and that's another reason I really liked this book. If the girl is only obsessed with the guy and nothing else is going on, I tend to lose interest, very quickly, but the secrets and those other aspects meant I only wanted to keep reading. While we don't get to know many of the characters very well (those darn secrets again) it's easy to see there is a lot more to most of them than we see. And the ones we do get to know better, are well rounded and you care about them.
The ending isn't a cliff hanger, but it certainly left me wanting much more, and right then. I've already ordered books 2 and 3 (Stargazer and Hourglass) and I'm even looking forward to book 4, Afterlife (out March 2011). That's how much I loved this book. Yes it's a YA vampire love story, but it's got great characters and a really awesome twist to it. I loved it, and I'm very excited to see where this series goes. 9/10