Author: Claudia Gray (Twitter)
Publish Date: March 6, 2012
Genre: YA, Paranormal
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.