Release Date: March 8, 2011
Series: #4 Evernight
Buying Links: Amazon The Book Depository
Book Blurb (from Goodreads): *Contains spoilers for the previous books*
Destiny awaits Bianca and Lucas . . .
Bianca and Lucas have always believed they could endure anything to be together. When a twist of fate not only transforms Bianca into a wraith but also turns Lucas into a vampire—the very creature he spent his life hunting—they are left reeling.
Haunted by his powerful need to kill, Lucas can turn to only one place for help . . . Evernight Academy. Bianca is determined to remain with him. But with the vampire leader of Evernight waging a war against wraiths, her former home has become the most dangerous place she could be, despite the new powers her ghostly transformation has given her.
A battle between wraiths and vampires looms, and Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They've overcome every obstacle life has thrown at them, but is their love strong enough to survive the challenges after life?
They were here because they'd learned to look past their old prejudices and fears and see each other for who they were. Maxie's willingness to engage again with the living world, the vampires' acceptance of wraiths and humans as their equals and allies, Lucas taking what was good from his Black Cross training and leaving behind what was bad, Vic's ability to deal with the supernatural world as easily as the natural one- that was what bonded us now.
My Thoughts: *May contain spoilers for the previous books and this book*
It was a full year and then some between reading the prior book, "Hourglass" and reading this book, so at first when I picked up the book, there were some things that I didn't recall or recalled only vaguely. The book started off sluggishly but before long I was sucked in.
The worst has happened and now both Lucas and Bianca are various degrees of dead. They get no time to deal with their respective deaths as they need to deal with their new states of being, and quickly. Lucas is caught up in blood lust and Bianca and his friends determine that Evernight Academy is the best place for him. Yes, he has to return to the school that he infiltrated for the purpose of killing vampires, and now he is a vampire. But the academy has a policy of sanctuary for any vampire who requests it and the headmistress, Mrs Bethany, welcomes him back. The vampire population is less forgiving and there are several who go out of their way to torment him and to raise his blood lust.
There's a lot of angst in this book, so much so that I came close to throwing the kindle across the room a time or two. Yeah, they're dead and yeah they were betrayed and hard choices had to be made but there's one train of thought by Bianca that turns into an ongoing refrain; Bianca thought it to herself five or six times by the time I was 30% into the book.
Oh, sure, I mused. NOW you're thoughtful. Why weren't you thinking ahead when Lucas needed it the most? Balthazar had brought Lucas into the fight with Charity knowing that Lucas wasn't himself - something I still hadn't gotten past.
Eventually Bianca and Balthazar work it out but we endure many repetitions of this thought pattern before they do. Other angst includes Lucas' agony at being a vampire, his mothers' rejection, and learning to control the blood hunger; Balthazar's pain at his sister's behavior; Bianca's mourning for her family, who are alive but she believes they will hate her for being a wraith; and so on and so on. While I did get tired of all the angst, it was organic to the story, it wasn't forced and never felt like it was just a plot device.
What I really liked were the interactions between the characters, the humor, and the world building. It's the fourth and final book of this series but Gray doesn't slack on the details or assume she's told us all we need to know. Bianca, who is basically a teenager, makes the common teen assumption that adults don't know everything and finds to her chagrin that some of her questions could have been answered by the adults in her life, if she had just asked. Bianca and Lucas, but especially Bianca, do a lot of emotional growing in this book. The story wraps up all of the major plotlines but there are a few minor loose ends. There is a spin off series featuring Balthazar, so Gray may pick up those loose threads in the new series.
"Afterlife" is a good ending to the series and despite my occasional frustrations with it, I was hooked right to the very end. There were a few twists and turns, humor, action, romance, character development and engaging characters and even an HEA.
Some favorite quotes:
"They won't see me. I may be dead, but I can still shop." She perked up. "ooooh, we need T-shirts saying that."
"Welcome to death," Ranulf said cheerily. "It is not so bad once you get what is called the 'hang of it.' " (I like Ranulf. He seems so stuffy and old fashioned but he's got a dry sense of humor and is very loyal, and open minded.)
Vic gave me an uneven smile. "All my best friends are dead people. Someday I've got to figure out how that happened."
I received an eARC from NetGalley.