Author: Claudia Gray
Release Date: March 6, 2012 (hardcover)
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Overall: 4 Stars
For hundreds of years, the vampire Balthazar has been alone—without allies, without love.
When Balthazar agrees to help Skye Tierney, a human girl who once attended Evernight Academy, he has no idea how dangerous it will be. Skye’s newfound psychic powers have caught the attention of Redgrave, the cruel, seductive master vampire responsible for murdering Balthazar and his family four centuries ago. Now Redgrave plans to use Skye’s powers for his own evil purposes.
Balthazar will do whatever it takes to stop Redgrave and exact his long-awaited revenge against his killer. As Skye and Balthazar stand together to fight him, they grow closer—first unwillingly, then undeniably. Balthazar realizes his lonely world could finally be changed by her. . . .
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.
Throughout the entire Evernight series, Balthazar always remained as one of my favourite characters. In the beginning, I had this wish that Balthazar and Bianca would be together, but when it became clear that it would always be Lucas, my heart completely went out to him because he deserved someone who loved him back. So when I learned there would be a spin-off novel which centered around him, I was pretty excited!
If you recall the events in Afterlife, you may be able to remember that it was through Skye's brave actions in allowing Bianca, a wraith, to possess her body which helped Bianca to escape the school. However, in Balthazar, we learn that it has given Skye the ability to see ghosts and their last haunting moments in life. Still adjusting to her new powers and dealing with trying to return to a new normal life in her hometown, Skye unwittingly catches the attention of an old, powerful vampire named Redgrave. And when Balthazar arrives in town, offering his protection and waiting for the opportune moment to finally exact his revenge on his sire, the circumstances bring Skye and himself closer than they ever would have imagined.
Honestly, I never really thought much of Skye in the Evernight novels because she was such a minor character in them. She may have been more of an afterthought before, but in Balthazar, she enters into the spotlight wholeheartedly and takes on a much larger role. Her older brother died in an accident a year ago and since then, she's been relatively on her own as her parents are often away working overtime in their grief. Balthazar understands what it's like to lose someone you love, and in his presence, there are no pretenses she has to keep up, so Skye feels safe to be herself around him.
It wasn't until I began reading the novel that I realized there was still so much we didn't know about Balthazar. He's a very private, centuries-old vampire who wouldn't hesitate to act with chivalry, but his heart-breaking past and complicated relationship with his younger sister Charity has always been kept to the bare essentials. I've always had this sort of perfect image of him before, but with the chance to see events from his perspective, you see how Balthazar's memories of his past continue to torment and weigh him down with guilt in the present.
I would have liked to have seen more of the details of Skye's abilities worked out, but overall, I was more than satisfied with this companion novel to the Evernight series! Claudia Gray has balanced just the right amount of action, romance, and intrigue to make this a novel that's incredibly difficult to set down once you begin. If you're a fan of the Evernight series, Balthazar is definitely a must-read!
Thanks so much to HarperCollins Canada for providing this review copy! To learn more about Balthazar, you can find more information about the book on HarperCollins Canada's website, "like" their Facebook page, and visit The Savvy Reader!