Expected publication: March 6th 2012 by HarperTEEN
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Haunted by memories from his first days as a vampire, Balthazar has spent hundreds of years alone—without allies, without love. When he emerges from his isolation to help Skye Tierney, a human girl who once attended Evernight Academy, Balthazar has no idea how dangerous it will be. Skye’s psychic powers have caught the attention of Redgrave, the cruel master vampire responsible for murdering Balthazar and his family four centuries ago. Having learned of Skye’s powers and the remarkable effect her blood has on vampires, he plans to use her for his own evil purposes. As they stand together to fight the evil vampire, Balthazar realizes his lonely world could finally be changed by Skye...just as Redgrave realizes that he can destroy Balthazar once and for all by taking her for his own.
In a story filled with forbidden love and dark suspense, one of the most beloved characters in Claudia Gray’s New York Times bestselling Evernight series will captivate readers with his battle to overcome his past and follow his heart.
Balthazar is one of those books that I know some of my friends would hate, but I found it an enjoyable read. A long time ago, I read Evernight, but I never continued on with the series. I don't think it was because I didn't like it; it was just one of those things I forgot about.
I've mentioned this before, but I'm not the kind of person who's tired of vampires and werewolves. I still love them just as much as I love any other types of books. (Except Fae books. I love those above all else.) And Gray's vampires work out well. Not all of them are bad, but not all of them are good, either. I like that balance - it's always seemed so unrealistic to me that every single vampire would be bad or every one of them would be good.
Balthazar tells the story of Balthazar, obviously, and all he goes through as he tries to protect Skye. We get to see how he spent his last hours as a human, how he spent his first hours as a vampire, and plenty of things that happened after that. I wasn't particularly fond of these flashbacks, but at the same time they provide a reason for why Balthazar is so hesitant with Skye and they show just how evil the bad guys really are, so I think they were necessary.
Balthazar along is enough reason to read this book. The limits he goes to to protect Skye are actually hilarious. (And life-threatening, of course.) It's interesting to read about how he fights his nature, but I also love that not all of his time is spent angsting and trying not to eat Skye.
I also love that Skye doesn't spend all her time thinking about Balthazar. She knows she has other worries - other vampires trying to use her as a drug, for instance. She's a very strong character, and the best part about her is that she has a hobby. Horseback riding. I hardly ever see characters in YA who have a hobby anymore - it's all DEATH DEATH KISS ATTACK. And while plenty of that is in Balthazar, Gray still found time to fit in that hobby. Which just happened to save Skye more than once.
My biggest issues lie with the secondary characters. Skye's new friend, her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend, the teachers at the school . . . I don't think there was a single one of them I liked. Which is a problem, since they're involved in the story quite a bit.
Overall: While I don't think Balthazar is full of suspense like the blurb says, Balthazar is a fun read, and if you liked the Evernight series, you should definitely read this. And if you never read it? You don't really need to have read it. The romance in Balthazar is the typical kind of forbidden romance, nothing new, but somehow, in some way, Gray made me like it. I rooted for Skye and Balthazar through the entire book. 3.5 stars.