Pros: Interesting characters & plot
Cons: Definitely doesn’t stand alone; vampires seem like fairly standard supermen; mind-reading is unevenly depicted; surfer vampires
Rating: 2 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Tattoo artist Riley Poe allied herself with a vampire in order to get her brother back alive in Afterlight. Her spirit and unusual blood type, however, made her a target for some particularly vicious vampires. Now she has some vampiric tendencies such as strength, reflexes, and heightened senses, but she also seems to have a telepathic link with a rampaging vampire who’s creating an army of new followers. She’s going to need all of her new allies if she hopes to stop the killing without ending up dead herself—or worse.
From one of my other reviews:
These days, many book series don’t fall into the old mold of simple trilogies with strong arc plots. Instead, many of them go on for an uncertain number of volumes, have a distinct and separate plot in each book (with continuing elements), and don’t bother to say anything like “book 2 of the X series” on the cover (thus, you might not even realize you’re reading book 2 of a series until you’re partway through it). Sometimes by the time you get your hands on a particular installment, you might not even be able to find earlier books in print any more. Because of this, it has become more and more important that books be able to stand alone. Since publishers often send me books to review from series I haven’t read before, I often find myself in a handy position to let people know whether it’s worth dropping into the middle of a series.
Elle Jasper’s Everdark most definitely does not stand alone. While the pacing at the beginning is slow and involves plenty of reminders as to what came before, they are not reminders that stand without context. This is fine if you read Afterlight a while ago and need a refresher, but it’s nearly useless if you haven’t. Even after finishing Everdark I’m STILL not sure on some details of how vampires work in this author’s world.
Jasper’s vampires didn’t quite do it for me. They feel more like semi-generic supermen than vampires of myth and legend; in particular their lack of sensitivity to sunlight removes much of the “curse” aspect that vampirism used to have. The vampire good-guy family’s mind-reading ability also disappointed me; it seemed to conveniently work or not work according to the authors’ needs at the time.
The characters are interesting, although seeing old vampires saying “dude” repeatedly didn’t work for me; I expect that’ll be reader-dependent. I couldn’t quite buy into it; I understand the need for vampires to blend in with the changing times, but it seemed to come too easily for them and they read as totally modern. Similarly, there are ways to convey a character’s accent and style of speech that don’t rely on heavy dialect in every line—less can be more in that area.
Everdark didn’t appeal to me in style and tone, but maybe it’s just aimed at a younger audience. I rarely find it difficult to enjoy even young adult novels, but perhaps there’s a band of ages in the late teens and early 20s that this would work for.