Monday, March 5, 2012

Balthazar by Claudia Gray

Balthazar by Claudia Gray
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
ARC received from Harper Teen
Release Date: 3-6-2012
The Sisters Say:  Boundary breaking, Blood thirsty, and Breathtaking

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.

In a story filled with forbidden love and dark suspense, one of the most beloved characters in Claudia Gray’s New York Times bestselling Evernight series will captivate readers with his battle to overcome his past and follow his heart.


Oh Balthazar, you make me sigh,
For you, all guys, I will deny,
Your chiseled abs and brooding smirk,
Make daydreaming a lifelong perk.
Forget that Skye and come to me!
Bite my neck and set me free!
The thought of you, I am in awe,
I close my eyes, and oh la la!

So I was never one of those people that read and re-read Twilight over and over again, so I am not even close to bored of vampires yet…which is great, because otherwise I might not have read Balthazar right away; and I would have completely been missing out!  It was such a quick read (which I love….makes me feel accomplished and genius-like) and there’s just enough detail that you get the action without being bogged down by the color of the sky or the smell of the trees or other such nonsense.  Because, with me, I like to get to the steamy part right away!!! (But I’m going to make you wait…not long…but just a little tease!)

Balthazar is a stand-alone novel with characters from the Evernight series.  I’ve never read the Evernight series, and I was able to pick up this book and read like I already knew the characters.  The only one that confused me at times (where I had to look up a character analysis just to be clear about what he was) was Lucas, and he only has a few cameos (we never see him in person…only a mention of a phone call or text).  So that was great that I could read a book without having to go purchase and read all the ones that came before it. 

Okay…so here we go…
The novel is focused around Skye Tierney  who has the gift of “death sight.”  She inherited the ability to experience the deaths of people when Bianca (a wraith) possessed her at the end of the last Evernight book.  As a result of the possession, Skye’s aura was awakened to the dead.  Now, any time she is in the place where someone died a violent death, she goes into a trance and relives the death—the fear, the pain, all of it.  Soon, these psychic powers catch the attention of a monstrous vampire, Redgrave, who just happens to be Balthazar’s nemesis.  Skye, unaware of the power her blood has over vampires, finds herself in the middle of a cat and mouse game with Redgrave and his minions.

Enter Mr. Dreamsicle…my mouth is starting to water!

He’s sexy and broody—my two favorite attributes in a vamp!  For 100s of years, Balthazar has lived without love; he’s seen how the vampire world tears apart love and innocence.  But for some reason, Skye opens his eyes and his heart (all at once now…..awwww!).  He pledges to protect her from Redgrave, which requires him to be at her side constantly—even throughout the night. 

So, what do I LOVE about it?  I absolutely love that Claudia Gray wrote the novel in third person, going back and forth between Skye’s point of view and Balthazar’s.  We see Skye constantly fret over whether or not Balthazar looked at her or thought about her.  You know what it’s like (or remember what it’s like)….where you want to grab a flower and recite the “He loves me, He loves me not,” over and over again because just maybe he really does love you!  You really get to see how Skye deals with the budding romance, it’s ups and downs.  I do wish the novel would have delved deeper into her psychic powers because that it was causes the problems to begin with; however, her abilities are put on the back burner while its effects on vampires is thrust in the forefront.  I would have liked to see Skye really push her limits to discover what true power she holds. 

I love Balthazar’s point of view a hundred times more!  He made one rule many centuries ago:  no humans.  But as Balthazar continues to fall for Skye, he has to continually remind himself of that, and every time he repeated the phrase “no humans,” I smiled because it showed his vulnerability and it’s just great to know that guys can be driven crazy, too.  But he keeps refusing to show his feelings—even after Skye saves his life…I won’t tell you how….but I will tell you that there’s an shower scene (EEEEKK!!!!) and he ends up naked in her bed.  So beware, parents, about letting your teenagers read this—even though it says it’s for ages 13 and up.  Anyways…after that, Balthazar has to recite his rule over and over again.  Finally, when he gives in to his desire for Skye, they end up in heart-thumping, chills down your back, embrace that, yes, I read multiple times.  Let me tell you—OH LA LA!!!!!

I’ll let you discover the rest on your own.

So, Survey Says….

I am oh so glad I read this book.  While, in my opinion, Balthazar is not Jace or Four, I still found him to be oh so hot, so if you enjoy paranormal romance, this book is for you. 
What bugged me?  It’s supposedly a stand-alone novel, but it ends like it’s going to be a trilogy of its own.  So, if there aren’t any books coming after this in the future, I’m going to be upset.  I mean, Skye is just now starting to understand her psychic powers (in the last 2-3 chapters of the book) and the power they hold.

For parents, there are a few curse words here and there, but most importantly, there is sexual content.  There’s the naked shower scene, a hot and steamy make out session which fades to black, and then there are lots of references to touching each other and kissing each other after the initial sexual acts.