Friday, February 10, 2012

Almost Everything - Tate Hallaway

Almost Everything
A Vampire Princess Novel
Tate Hallaway
New American Library

Young Adult/Paranormal

This is the third novel in a series that began with ALMOST TO DIE FOR and continued in ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN.  Frankly, there’s just no way to write this review without spoiling major events from both those novels.  I’d advise reading them first, in any case; they were that entertaining.
Usually, summer break means sleeping in until noon and hanging around with your friends.  When you’re half-witch and half-vampire and your mom (Queen of the Witches, just FYI) signs you up for driver’s ed classes that start at oh-dark-thirty, you can be pretty sure you’re not getting the normal teen summer experience.  Despite her very rare heritage (as races, witches and vampires hate each other) Ana is trying to live as normal a life as possible.  This past spring, she took part in the school musical.  This summer, she’s going to audition to be a performer at the Renaissance Faire.  Her best friend, Bea (a True Witch) and maybe-boyfriend (excellent boyfriend material, even if he is non-supernatural in any way) Matt Thompson are going with her to the auditions.
On her dad’s side of things, it’s a bit more iffy.  Dad, btw, is the Vampire Prince of the Northern region.  Ana gave another vampire permission to break a betrothal that would make her deeply unhappy.  Case closed, right?  Wrong.  Because one fine summer day a vampire who introduces himself as Luis David Montezuma from the Southern Region appears and would like to re-negotiate this situation.  Hoping to get some direction from her dad, Ana visits his domain.  And finds a bunch of strung-out, nearly-insane, barely-human-acting creatures. Her Dad is no better at all. They’re all starving.  Not just for blood, but for the sacred hunt.  Something about the ritual is what puts everything right.  Unless you’re the poor sod who turns out to be the target of the hunt.  After further discussion, it seems that Prince Luis knows about the weakened condition of the Northern vampires and is demanding that their betrothal contract be honored immediately or they’ll be happy to start a war on the Northern weaklings.

Ana feels a bit guilty since she’s the one who stopped the hunt in the past.  Once because she thought it was barbaric and once because the hunt was called on her own mother.  It’s clear that a hunt will have to happen somehow or all those vampires are going to go rogue and turn into the mindless nosferatu.  And none of this takes into account Ana’s pretty-much-ex-boyfriend, Nikolai who is a rock star and vampire slayer.  Or Matt Thompson, a regular guy who wants to bring her flowers and take her to dinner.  Or Elias, the captain of her father’s guard who was, of late, betrothed to her.  It’s enough to make you wish school was back in session.
This time around, we get to learn a lot more about just exactly how vampires are/were made and what it entails.  We especially get to learn more about Elias’ past.  Ana is in a very tough spot: directly in between the witch community that she grew up in, and the vampire community that is completely at odds with that.  She manages to work through some fairly serious situations in ways that would benefit (or, at least not kill) everyone.  The big showdown at the end is done well, and the serious consequences for some characters gives the whole thing a bit of real gravitas.
As with the first two novels in the series, this one tells a whole story and ties up most loose ends.  That makes sense since this is billed as the ‘third and final’ book in this series.  Even so, there seems to be room for future stories that ought to be well received.  Anyone who enjoys a good paranormal story with a dash of romance and a good dose of action should be reading this series.
Rating: 8
February 2012
ISBN#  978-0-451-23566-4 (trade paperback)


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