"Evernight Academy: an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful, dangerous students of all - vampires. Bianca, born to two vampires, has always been told her destiny is to become one of them.
But Bianca fell in love with Lucas - a vampire hunter sworn to destroy her kind. They were torn apart when his true identity was revealed, forcing him to flee the school.
Although they may be separated, Bianca and Lucas will not give each other up. She will risk anything for the chance to see him again, even if it means coming face-to-face with the vampire hunters of Black Cross - or deceiving the powerful vampires of Evernight. Bianca's secrets will force her to live a life of lies.
Yet Bianca isn't the only one keeping secrets. When Evernight is attacked by an evil force that seems to target her, she discovers the truth she thought she knew is only the beginning..."
Having loved Evernight, I was very, very much looking forward to this second book in the series. It picks up a few months after the end of Evernight, with Lucas still with Black Cross and Bianca at Evernight with her parents, her second year about to begin.
Bianca, ever more dependant on blood for survival, is looking forward to the new school year simply for the distraction it'll bring her. She's spent months pining for Lucas, unable to reach him, unable to explain to her parents, because of course they'd love to see him dead. They still believe he played her and that she doesn't want him now she knows the truth, that he's Black Cross, a vampire hunter. Day one of the new year brings a welcome intrusion, a letter from Lucas, delivered via his former roommate, Vic. Apparently Lucas is missing Bianca just as badly and he wants to see her, and though it means somehow sneaking off campus, alone, she's determined to make it happen.
But that's not all she's dealing with. Something dark is haunting Evernight. Literally. Wraiths, or ghosts, are appearing, attacking the school. Bianca is determined to understand why, and to find out why there are human students at Evernight. Mrs. Bethany seems to be planning something, and Bianca is scared of what that could mean. But the truth she discovers makes her wonder how much of what she really knows, is actually true. And if maybe staying at Evernight is even an option for her anymore.
I confess that while I was really looking forward to this book, it didn't start out great for me. In fact, I found the first half very stop start. Something intense would happen, then it'd go back to Bianca at Evernight, thinking a lot but little happening, and a fair few of the same thoughts rotating in her head, then it's start up again. I understand why it happened like that, showing Bianca's everyday life along with the more interesting bits, but it did mean it felt a little ragged to start with. It wasn't actually bad, it was things that needed to be there, and I was still liking it, but it wasn't great.
Around the halfway point things really started to pick up. The pacing levelled out and everything started rolling together. It got pretty intense towards the end as well as bigger secrets kept being revealed and Bianca realised and dealt with the outcome of certain events. I got really sucked in to the second half and felt every up and down with Bianca. And the creep factor of the wraiths didn't hurt either.
I love the relationship with Lucas. I'm not always a fan of instant love where the two feel like they're destined for each other and such. But I can't help loving these two. I think it's the fact that they are so different, have so many issues to work through and that they're not around each other constantly and when they are, they still have to think about everything else going on as well. It's not just about their relationship, although that is the main aspect of the books.
It's also not hard to relate to Bianca's parental issues. Yes her issues are very different to those 'normal' teens face, but even so, I think it's easy to understand the frustration, the betrayal she feels, and how she wants to lean on them but be an adult as well. Her friendship issues are the same way. How she wants to get close, hates having to lie and knowing she has to. And how she screws up, makes the wrong choices sometimes, and how that affects her also makes it easier to relate to her and like her.
This is a great continuation of the set up started in Evernight, a deeper look in to the vampire mythology, how Black Cross works, and explores the issues Bianca, as a born vampire, is facing in a little more depth. It's a great set up for the next two books as well, and the ending made me very, very glad I already had book 3, Hourglass, to dive in to. Bianca grows a lot through this book, she's a bit less innocent by the end, and she's not the only one. It was great getting to see some more of some other characters as well, Vic, Raquel and Balthazar in particular. I really like them all (and I adore Vic, though that's a little more Hourglass related) and feel they add a lot to the books. So while it didn't start out great, I still really loved this book and felt the better parts and the second half more than made up for the earlier issues. 9/10