Review: Hourglass by Claudia Gray

Claudia Gray's website here // $11.55 from {amazon}

Series: Evernight, #3
Publisher: HarperTeen (March 9, 2010)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Summary: from {goodreads}

Bianca will risk everything to be with Lucas.

After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school where they met, Bianca and Lucas take refuge with Black Cross, a fanatical group of vampire hunters. Bianca must hide her supernatural heritage or risk certain death at their hands. But when Black Cross captures her friend—the vampire Balthazar—hiding is no longer an option.

Soon, Bianca and Lucas are on the run again, pursued not only by Black Cross, but by the powerful leaders of Evernight. Yet no matter how far they travel, Bianca can't escape her destiny.

Bianca has always believed their love could survive anything . . . but can it survive what's to come?

Rating: View my rating system.

My Thoughts: Okay, I’m going to start off with some things I feel need to be said: 1) It’s extremely hard for me to rate series books because I only buy series I really, really, REALLY love (for the record, the only series I have bought are: some children series, Harry Potter, Twilight, Perfect Chemistry, and L.J. Smith’s Night World), 2) I usually don’t have as much to say when talking about series books for some unknown reason, perhaps because I feel like my few thoughts have already been expended on the previous books, and 3) I am a COMPLETE Balthazar fan, if that means any difference to you at all. Sorry, Lucas.

On to the real review, Hourglass is definitely a paranormal read. There are the centuries-old yet undeniably attractive vampires, the fierce vampire hunters, and then an entirely new, chilling something introduced in this book three of the series. With this intense mix, there just has to be action – and there is. The aspect of the book I can find myself complimenting the most is the action, which was definitely non-stop with mystery and intrigue. Hourglass picks up right where Stargazer left off, with Bianca struggling to remain inconspicuous with Lucas and the gang. However, that turns out to be easier said than done when you’re on the verge of changing into a vampire, have a crazy vampire headmistress hunting your vampire hunter buddies down, and have a best friend that would kill you in a heartbeat if she knew what you really were. If that sounds crazy, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Hourglass certainly proves that Claudia Gray knows how to weave an intricate story, continually working in new twists and turns to make sure there’s never a dull moment.

Character-wise, Hourglass was “okay.” I liked seeing more of Vic and his new vampire friend, Ranulf, both of with are eccentric in their own, endearing ways; Ranulf is the centuries-behind vampire, where Vic is just Vic, for lack of better words. They’re close seconds to Balthazar in vying for the spot of favorite character, and make the perfect, strange match. Then, of course, I have to mention Balthazar, who is as Prince Charming as ever, swooping in and trying to save the day. I don’t see what charm Lucas has over him but, apparently, Bianca sees something there I don’t, and their relationship is actually what I struggled the most/am still struggling with. I’ve never been a huge Lucas fan, but his and Bianca’s love felt at times stereotypical and, frankly, a bit annoying. Bianca has no choice to feed on Lucas, he gets turned on, etc. and their extreme willingness to sacrifice for each other aggravated me, even if it was meant to be sweet. The way I look at it, there’s a line you have to draw for self-preservation regardless of how much you may love another, yet Lucas and Bianca lack this distinction and feel the need to constantly proclaim their undying love for each other. I’m not trying to degrade their romance, but, frankly, I did not see it standing out among the many other forbidden love relationships. Overall, I felt a degree of disconnect from Bianca and wish that there could have been a bit more emotional exploration along with the packed action.

Ultimately, after finishing Hourglass, the one thing I want the most is some form of closure. Hourglass flowed like the intense middle of a book, fortunate in that it came without the slow introduction though unfortunate in that it lacked the wrap-up conclusion. I arrived at the end expecting a mini-conclusion, but instead found myself confronted by a situation I never would have dreamed of. If you're looking for a suspenseful cliffhanger, you'll definitely find a great one in Hourglass.

Romance: 3.0. I'm sorry I'm biased here, but one word: Balthazar.
Cover: 3.5 - It matches the Evernight theme very well, though the full frontal shot is a bit bland.
Writing: 3.5
Characters: 3.0  
Plot: 4.0

Bottom Line: Hourglass is a fast-paced, action-packed blend of romance, mystery, and danger that will never fail to surprise with its sharp turns and twists.

Will I continue reading this series? It's not my favorite series, but yes, the ending has served it's purpose in sparking my interest to find out what happens next. I cannot rest in peace until this mystery is solved.

Source: Thank you to Jackie Jou and HarperCollins Children's Books for the copy!