Book Review: Balthazar (Evernight #5) by Claudia Gray

Author: Claudia Gray

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release date: March 6, 2012

Rating: 5 stars – I LOVED THIS TO PIECES!

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SYNOPSIS

For hundreds of years, the vampire Balthazar has been alone–without allies, without love.

When Balthazar agrees to help Skye Tierney, a human girl who once attended Evernight Academy, he has no idea how dangerous it will be. Skye’s newfound psychic powers have caught the attention of Redgrave, the cruel, seductive master vampire responsible for murdering Balthazar and his family four centuries ago. Now Redgrave plans to use Skye’s powers for his own evil purposes.

Balthazar will do whatever it takes to stop Redgrave and exact his long-awaited revenge against his killer. As Skye and Balthazar stand together to fight him, they grow closer–first unwillingly, then undeniably. Balthazar realizes his lonely world could finally be changed by her. . . .

WARNING. MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

For fans of the Evernight series, Claudia Gray delivers in Balthazar with forbidden love and heart-racing suspense that will keep you captivated until the very last page.

I am one of those hard core Claudia Gray fans. I love all her work and was beyond excited to read Balthazar, a spin-off to the Evernight series following one of my favorite characters, Balthazar – or Balty as Vic calls him and is the only one that can call him that. In the Evernight series, Balthazar’s love for Bianca was unrequited and…that was it. He’s a really good guy – unlike most vampire lead protagonist. He’s loyal, strong, sweet, rational, and riddled with his own share of guilt and redemption.

Gray puts us in the center of the action from the beginning of the novel where Skye is attacked by a vampire and is saved by Balthazar.  Balthazar is in New York to protect Skye as she has developed a new psychic ability. Ever since she let Bianca possess her body in Hourglass (I believe it’s Hourglass, I may be wrong) Skye has been plagued by visions of those who have died. Whenever she goes into a room or place where there has been death, Skye sees the death unravel right before her eyes. This new ability causes her blood to have magical properties, giving a vampire the ability to relive a past memory again. It’s the reason why Redgrave is so keen on getting Skye to come with her and thus, is the beginning of an adventure for Balthazar to keep Skye safe.

Skye isn’t your average, defenseless teenage girl that seem to plague a book where vampires are involved. With that said, when Skye is put into dangerous situations she is more than capable of holding her own. Which makes me love her and cheer, “YES!” and give a little happy dance.

This brings me to characters and since I am on the subject of Skye I shall continue my praise. Skye Tierney is a strong, female protagonist. She fights and goes after what she wants. Her life hasn’t been easy as of late with the death of her brother and her absentee parents, not to mention her new-found ability. Even the constant rejection coming from Balthazar because of a little factor called – HE’S A VAMPIRE – didn’t hinder her ability to be a strong character. There were times where I thought she would break down and cry because of everything that was happening around her, but she didn’t. Why? Because she’s strong – I can’t emphasis that enough. She is unsettled by events, but it doesn’t make her weak. Instead it pushes her to keep on going.

She’s also not like other girl in books where they are completely oblivious to the fact that a guy likes them. Nope. She knows that Balthazar likes her and she’s not afraid of being bold, putting herself out there. Their swoon worthy flirting made me giggle like a little kid on Christmas morning! I just utterly loved it!

Then there is Balthazar Moore – that is with two O’s not one 😉 *sigh* He’s charming. Sexy. Fierce. Did I mention swoon worthy?  I would just like to say that I completely fell in love with Balthazar in this installment. I loved him in Evernight, but with his own novel I got to see and know so much more of him. The novel is littered with flashbacks of his past – both human and vampire experiences . His guilt over murdering his sister runs deeper than I could have every imagined. His thirst for revenge is the driving force for more than half of his immortal life. My heart hurt whenever he denied himself Skye. His mantra, “No humans” practically made me scream out in frustration because he deserved to be happy! He’s not a bad guy, but I understand his concerns for being with a human. His reasoning is logical but STILL.

With that said, I have to give brownie points to Claudia Gray and her frustrating but great job with the internal conflict surrounding Balthazar. He’s fighting the will of his undeniable attraction for her. He has his “No humans” rule, but with every second he spends with her it becomes harder and harder to not break it. How can he stay away from her when it’s his duty to protect her?

The thing I loved about Balthazar was that he wasn’t self-loathing. Let’s face it – a good percentage of vampire books have the male protagonist hating what he is. Balthazar is guilty for what he has done in the past, but he embraces what he has now with a little bit of hard, cold reality. I love how he is strong and protective, especially when it concerns Skye. There isn’t anything that he wouldn’t do to keep her safe and out of the evil clutches of Redgrave – the vampire that killed him and his family centuries ago and is now after Skye for what magical attributes her blood possesses.

We see a lot of old and new faces return in Balthazar that are pivotal for the story itself. I like that no character goes unused. They all have a purpose no matter how miniscule it might be. The plot line is heart-racing and full of suspense and heartache. There’s a little bit of mystery and jaw-dropping surprises that will leave you happy as a clam. If you have read the Evernight books and have not read Balthazar you are missing out! It’s a fun and thrilling roller coaster ride that will leave your heart filled with irrevocable love and joy. Gray does not disappoint in this last installment in the series. It’s mature and written brilliantly and needless to say, it’s definitely one of my favorite book in the entire series. I’m glad to have finally read it as I fell utterly in love all over again with the world Claudia Gray created.

Memorable quotes:

One thing you can always be sure of – any vampire’s life story has an unhappy ending.

Balthazar was the kind of guy who used totally correct spelling and punctuation even when he was texting, which was sort of bizarrely hot. She was in serious trouble if commas could get her going.

Her kisses tasted like poison, and he kissed her more deeply for that, hoping that one day the poison might finally finish this life that wasn’t life and let him truly die.

Don’t you see? It’s the first life I’ve had in four hundred years. With you–in the only way that matters–I’m alive again.

***

Speaking of Claudia Gray, she mentioned me in her blog a couple of weeks ago, which you can check out here! I was so excited. It”s a small mention, but I nearly died of happiness 🙂

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2 Comments

  1. Yamini

     /  March 11, 2013

    Ahhh Balthazar, the guy I secretly wish Bianca would’ve ended up with even though I loved Lucas. I’m so glad he gets a story too. I probably won’t read this one but I’ll definitely try out Gray’s newer books.

    Reply
    • You should definitely read this one! I promise that you’ll love it and fall even more madly in love with Balthazar ❤

      Reply

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