Balthazar by Claudia Gray Review

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Title: Balthazar
Author: Claudia Gray (Twitter)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: March 6, 2012
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 374
Source: Publisher

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.

Balthazar has, for all intents and purposes, a tormented past, and it's one that he carries with him every day of his life. But Balthazar can no longer hide from it when he makes this decision to help Skye, once a student at Evernight. His past follows him everywhere he goes though, and Balthazar doesn't know the evil undercurrent consistently boiling below the surface. Just when he finally discovers there could be redemption and happiness for him after all, Balthazar is thrown into a final battle that could end everything for good.

I have to admit that while I enjoyed the Evernight series, it was never really at the top of my list of absolute favourites. In a genre full of vampire novels, while the writing was solid, the story didn't sing to me. However, the character of Balthazar was always a beacon, so when I discovered that a companion novel to the series was being released, I was hooked. Claudia Gray has spun a mesmerizing tale of love and redemption in Balthazar, giving voice to the unsung hero of her beloved series. With clean, easy writing and a vivid, emotional plot, the story soars from start to finish, leaving the reader breathless throughout.

It's quite a feat when a vampire novel has me singing it's praises, but I have to say that Balthazar succeeded on many levels. Balthazar, though a vampire, felt human to me in the sense that he was open, honest and totally transparent. While on the one hand, Balthazar was a totally kickass vampire, on the other hand he was an rich, intoxicating MC with a soul that sears through the pages. Skye, too, was a fun character to explore in Balthazar. Whereas she was previously an afterthought, her spunk and character balanced Balthazar's with ease, bringing a sense of light to a dark and tumultuous plot. Furthermore, Balthazar deftly balances two very clear and distinctive POVs with ease, which is a success in and of itself. Most of all though, Balthazar seamlessly merged action, suspense, drama and emotion into a beautiful package that was well-rounded and a pleasure to read.

Overall, Balthazar was a brilliant start to a new series (I think/hope?). While it is a companion novel, I don't think it's necessarily imperative to have read the Evernight series, as the story does its due diligence and can stand alone. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA, as well as those who love paranormal and fans of the Evernight series.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. I enjoyed the Evernight series and I've read the first couple chapters of this one online and really liked it so I can't wait to get my hands on a copy and read the whole thing. Awesome review!

  2. I really liked the Evernight series but was disappointed with the last book so I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this spin-off! I'm hoping I'll enjoy it as much as you did because Balthazer was one of my favourite characters :) Great review!

    Kim @ The Paper Planes

  3. Im dying with Envy...:) I cant wait to read this book....Mr. B was my favorite aspect to the evernight series...! Glad you loved him too

  4. I've been wanting to read the Evernight series. I doubt it's the best vampire series out there - I think Twilight and Vampire Academy are tops - but I'm curious. Can you read this if you haven't read Evernight?

  5. I read the first book in the Evernight series but didn't make it past that. However, BALTHAZAR sounds like something I need to pick up immediately, especially with such an intriguing main character.

  6. Great review! I loved the Evernight series, I can't wait to read this one!

  7. I have never read a book by her but if I do then I will take your word for it and start this series :)

  8. I loved the Evernight series! And I have Balthazar sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I plan to read it after I finish A Touch Morbid. I can't wait! *Squee* Balthazar is a hottie.

    Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

  9. I liked the Evernight series quite a bit and I've been kind of anxious to get my hands on this one. I'm VERY happy to hear you really liked it! Now I'm even more anxious to read it!

  10. Didn't really liked the Evernight series, but I did get this book for review and others have told me that its better. I'm giving it a try.

  11. Thanks for the review, Melissa! I'm so excited to read Balthazar! He was one of my favourite characters in the Evernight series, so I'm glad we're getting to see more of him in his very book. I'm glad to hear that you really enjoyed the novel!

  12. I haven't read the Evernight series and was wondering if I needed to before reading this book. Thanks for answering that before I even asked!

    Brilliant review, as always. Love reading your thoughts, Melissa!

  13. An MC with a "soul that sears through the pages"? Sounds like a must-read :)


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