Thursday, August 6, 2009

Review: Stargazer by Claudia Gray

In Stargazer, Claudia Gray steps it up a notch. The plot is more intense than Evernight, the writing has improved and the atmosphere is genuinely creepy. I'm very rarely scared by a book, but there's one thing that, when it's done well, will raise the hairs on the back of my neck: ghosts. The wraiths that invade Evernight Academy are there for a reason, and Bianca seems to be it.

I love the explanation Mrs Bethany gives about the creation of wraiths and vampires, and why they're natural enemies. It's highly original. But despite being better in nearly every way from Evernight, Gray has carried one fatal flaw from the first book into the second: the characters. I guess it would be too much to ask for her to scrap her bland heroine, her volatile and untrustworthy hero and an even blander secondary love interest. Why does nearly the entire cast have to be so one-dimensional? Mrs Bethany, for example, has the scope to be an incredibly complex and interesting character, but all we get about her is that she smells like lavender and puts her students down in class.

Did anyone else notice that even though Bianca professes to be shy in Evernight, she never acts shy and all pretence of being so is dropped by book two? Our heroine is left high and dry without even one solid characteristic to help her through the second book. Is she meant to represent the Everygirl, a character that all female readers can impress with their own personalities? *cough*Bella*cough* I don't want the Everygirl. I want a real girl within the pages of a book, one that I can care about.

But if Bianca is inconsistent, Lucas is intolerable. I don't trust him one bit. And I just can't answer the question, Why does Bianca even like him? Because of his amazing green eyes? Because he beat some guys senseless for no reason on their first date? Wasn't that a classy moment. It also rankles that he has this "I know best when it comes to vampires " attitude towards Bianca. The scene in the railway station on page 58 of Stargazer is classic Lucas. It's all very romantic to be protective of your girlfriend but there's no reason to be so pig-headed about it. If Bianca wasn't so insipid and had more than one plan up her sleeve (seriously, how far will snooping in trunks of papers get a girl?) I could let it go. But she is insipid, and Lucas is overbearing, and it annoys the hell outta me. **Highlight for spoiler**: It drives me even more wild when he turns out to be RIGHT!

I'm not on "Team Balthazar" either. He's got as much personality as a glass of water. Tepid water. But while Lucas and Balthazar's personalities leave a lot to be desired, there are several steamy passages involving each of them and Bianca (separately, of course) which I must say are genuinely hot.

I guess I should say one nice thing about one of the characters ... OK, I don't mind Raquel. She's annoying and screwed up, but she feels like she has a pulse if you know what I mean. She feels real, and it looks like she's going to be in this quartet for the long haul which I'm glad about. I want the collage she makes for Bianca, the one with all the lying mouths and guns and knives.

Despite these irritations, I did enjoy Stargazer and will read Hourglass. Gray loves her plot twists. While the twist in the second book isn't quite as eye-popping as in the first, it opens up a whole treasure trove of obstacles for the heroine that makes the prospect of reading books three and four tantalising indeed. I have to find out where this story goes.

If only I didn't feel like boxing Lucas's ears every time he opens his mouth. Well, can't have everything.


  1. isn't funny how even though the characters in this second book don't live up to expectations, we are compelled to continue to read this storyline? i liked evernight because it was the intro to a whole other kind of vampire world. your review has given me fair warning so i'll be patient with the second book because i do want to know what happens next...

  2. Nice review! I haven't read this one yet, but it's here waiting.

    Love your blog by the way! :)

  3. i like the theme of your blog. so, here's an award for you...

  4. @vvb32 Thank you for the award!

    @prophecygirl Thank you so much!

    And I'm looking forward to seeing what you both think of Stargazer.