Stargazer, by Claudia Gray
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperTeen (March 24, 2009)
Reading Level: YA
Source: purchased at bookstore
The vampire in me was closer to the surface...
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....
*** WARNING: THIS SERIES SHOULD BE READ IN ORDER. REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FROM PREVIOUS BOOK(S) IN SERIES.***
Overall, Stargazer was a strong follow-up to Evernight. If you enjoyed the intrigue, romance, and mystery in the Evernight world from the first book, then you shouldn't be disappointed by Claudia Gray's bestselling sequel. The same elements and characters that you loved in Evernight return, and the plot develops in surprising and exciting ways.
Stargazer picks up a few months after Evernight ends, and because of the climactic ending of the first book, Lucas isn't at Evernight Academy. This was a little off-putting to me -- I loved the chemistry between Lucas and Bianca -- but Lucas does have a significant presence in the novel. Lucas' absence from Evernight Academy allows his character's plot line to grow from being just a love interest, to a fuller understanding of his life with Black Cross and his character's goals and desires outside of Bianca. Another character that grew in Stargazer was Balthazar. I was never a huge fan of Balthazar in the first book of the series (although I know many readers complained that they wanted more of him) but Gray does explain Balthazar more and we learn about his history and see more of his interactions with Bianca. Bianca continues to be one of my favorite characters, though, because she knows how to stand up for herself without being stubborn or petulant; she knows how to be "strong" without literally throwing punches.
A significant development in Stargazer is the focus on Mrs. Bethany and Evernight Academy. The first book skirted around the issue of why humans were suddenly allowed to attend Evernight with the vampire students, but those larger plot lines played second string to developing the relationship between Lucas and Bianca. Now that the romance is established, Gray was able to spend time building mystery around the school and the headmistress. I really loved these developments, which included the introduction of a new supernatural creature/being (that is not a werewolf). There is a lot more suspense and action in Stargazer, which made the last 100 or so pages complete page-turners. There was a lot of information shared in Stargazer without it becoming a filler-book in the series. Some of this new information, of course, had to do with Bianca's unique position as being a half-vampire who hasn't performed the change or fully come into her vampire self yet, and no is quite sure what the outcome of that dilemma will be.
I highly recommend this series. The characters are so well-developed and the storyline is so much more than boy-meets-girl, but be aware: the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, so I would make sure that the third book, Hourglass, is either on your night stand or in stock at a nearby book retailer, because the end is quite jaw-dropping.
Until next time,