Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Almost Final Curtain - Tate Hallaway


Almost Final Curtain
A Vampire Princess Novel
Tate Hallaway
New American Library

Young Adult/Paranormal

NOTE: This review is going to spoil quite a bit of the first novel in the series, ALMOST TO DIE FOR, so proceed at your own risk.

Just last semester, the only strange things Ana Parker knew about her heritage was that her mom was a witch who could do real magic and her dad was absent. Now she knows that her mom is the Queen of the Witches and her dad is a Vampire Prince. Oh, and that witches and vampires pretty much hate each other, so being from both worlds is a lot more than awkward. Since Ana demonstrated no real magical power during her initiation into the Circle, she’s sort of been letting her witch side slide. Her best friend, Bea, a True Witch, is accusing her of choosing her vampire side over her witch side. And her sort-of boyfriend, Nikolai is a vampire hunter in training. Also, somehow she’s now betrothed to Elias, one of her dad’s vampire knights. Not at all confusing.

This semester, Ana would like to pretend to be a regular student and try out for the spring musical. Unlike other years, half the student body wants to try out, too, since Nikolai is the lead singer for a local rock band and he’s going to be updating the music for “My Fair Lady.” (I’ll believe a rock version of the “Ascot Gavotte” when I hear it.) Ana has to contend not only with the whole ‘going to kill vampires’ thing with Nikolai, but also the endless supply of groupies. And the bizzaro fact that even the jocks and cheerleaders suddenly thing that musical theater is awesome. It’s enough to make anyone insecure.

Just when you think it can’t possibly get more weird, Ana learns about a talisman that means absolutely everything to both vampires and witches. Turns out, the whole hating each other thing started because the First Witch created a talisman that allowed her to bring vampires through the Veil. The catch? The vampires were only brought here to be slaves to witches. Then there was a whole war and the vampires were freed. Not by Lincoln, but because the witches lost the talisman. Now it’s up for grabs again, and so is the life of every vampire and every witch, depending on who gets their hands on it first. The sad thing is, even Bea thinks it would be cool to have a vampire servant. No one seems to have any real idea where Ana would fall on the whole master-servant continuum, but they all seem fairly sure that she should be doing something to help “her people.” So, which people are hers? And what, exactly, should she be doing?

The politics between the two groups goes back for, well, ever, and there’s no one simple solution to the problem. Ana doesn’t know whether to try and balance her two sides or choose one over the other. She’s really caught in the middle of everything, but she’s honestly trying to do what’s best for everyone. In other respects, she’s a normal teenager who just wants to write her extra-credit reports and not be late for math class and maybe get a singing role in the musical. Don’t let the ‘young adult’ designation fool you. These books are tightly plotted and contain enough intrigue and action to satisfy any reader of paranormals. There are some plot threads left open for the next book, but no dreaded cliffhanger ending. I’m looking forward to much more of Ana and her world.

Rating: 8
May 2011
ISBN# 978-0-451-23311-0 (trade paperback)

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