Published 2009 329 pages
Summary (from book jacket)
Evernight Academy: an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful, dangerous students of all - vampires. Bianca, born to two vampires, has always been told her destiny is to become one of them. But Bianca fell in love with Lucas - a vampire hunter sworn to destroy her kind. They were torn apart when his true identity was revealed, forcing him to flee the school.
Although they may be separated, Bianca and Lucas will not give each other up. She will risk anything for the chance to see him again, even if it means coming face-to-face with the vampire hunters of Black Cross - or deceiving the powerful vampires of Evernight. Bianca's secrets will force her to live a life of lies.
Yet Bianca isn't the only one keeping secrets. When Evernight is attacked by an evil force that seems to target her, she discovers the truth she thought she knew is only the beginning…
Stargazer is the second outing for Lucas and Bianca the young star-crossed lovers of Claudia Gray’s Evernight series. Written for the YA market, the Evernight series has all the right ingredients to be a hit with its target audience – vampires, vampire hunters and seemingly doomed first love. Gray writes confidently in Stargazer, delivering a well constructed story that builds upon the strengths of Evernight, her debut novel. These books really need to be read in order so if you haven’t read Evernight yet stop reading this review here (now!) because there be spoilers…
Stargazer begins at the start of a second school year for Bianca at the vampire-run Evernight Academy. Bianca’s first year was somewhat eventful. She found her true love in the form of Lucas, a fellow Evernight pupil. Unfortunately for Bianca, he turned out to hiding an important secret – namely that he was a Black Cross vampire hunter who had secretly infiltrated the school to spy on its vampire teachers and students. This was unfortunate for Bianca for two reasons – firstly because she is the living vampire child born of two vampire parents and secondly because once his secret identity was discovered he had to leave Evernight Academy in a dramatic style and their love became forbidden.
Lucas not being allowed anywhere near the Academy grounds does put something of a crimp in his continuing (now secret) romance with Bianca but where there is a will, young love can certainly find a way, and soon Lucas and Bianca set up secret meetings off campus. The absence of Lucas from most of the story leaves a bit of a gap where romantic relationship development would usually be and sometimes, as a reader, it’s hard to remember exactly why Lucas is the love of Bianca’s life. Yes, he has all the attractions that go with a forbidden lover, a powerful lure for any girl let alone a sheltered vampire child in the flush of first love, but his noticeable absence from the majority of the story means that their relationship stagnates during the course of this book. Over the duration of Stargazer Bianca spends a lot of time with a fellow vampire student Balthazar, and their conflicted relationship – neither of them being the one the other truly wants – was of much greater interest to me than the main feature.
Creepy mystery and drama are added to Stargazer’s plotline in the form of increasingly dangerous ghosts that start to haunt the Evernight Academy. It isn’t long before Bianca uncovers/reveals another terrible truth about her heritage as a vampire child and this is done in the same way it was revealed that she was a vampire in Evernight – as the narrator she knows, has probably always known, but hasn’t revealed the secret to the reader and doesn’t until the drama is heightened to maximum level.
While romance in Stargazer maybe a little lacking the plotline is put to good alternative use revealing more about the vampire world. There are many original ideas in Gray’s vampire mythology – one of the most fascinating being that vampires who are turned at young human ages never fully grow-up. Change being impossible for them because they are dead and essentially can’t change or grow further. The idea behind Evernight Academy – that it is a place to give sanctuary and rehabilitation into modern-day life for ancient, yet young looking, vampires who have lost touch with the modern world – certainly sparks the imagination. Combined with dangerous ghosts, a sneaky murderous vampire and the constant intrigue that surrounds the undead inhabitants of Evernight Academy there is plenty of vamp-centric excitement in Stargazer for readers to enjoy.
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