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Book Review: Hourglass by Claudia Gray (& Giveaway of Evernight)

Title: Hourglass

Author: Claudia Gray

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 2010
Hardcover: 352 pages

Bianca will risk everything to be with Lucas.

After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school where they met, Bianca and Lucas take refuge with Black Cross, a fanatical group of vampire hunters. Bianca must hide her supernatural heritage or risk certain death at their hands. But when Black Cross captures her friend—the vampire Balthazar—hiding is no longer an option.

Soon, Bianca and Lucas are on the run again, pursued not only by Black Cross, but by the powerful leaders of Evernight. Yet no matter how far they travel, Bianca can’t escape her destiny.

Bianca has always believed their love could survive anything . . . but can it survive what’s to come?

Stand alone or series: Book 3 in the ongoing Evernight series

How did I get this book: Review Copy from the publisher

Why did I read this book: I have read and reviewed both prior books in the series, Evernight and Stargazer, and really enjoyed them both. With the way things ended in Stargazer, of COURSE I was going to read Hourglass!


**BE ADVISED! This review contains necessary, MAJOR spoilers for the first two books in the series. If you have not read the first two books in the series and do not wish to be spoiled, look away!**

Immediately following the Black Cross attack on Evernight Academy, Bianca and Lucas have fled the school and joined Lucas’s mother and stepfather in the fanatical, vampire killing ranks of the Black Cross. With no other choice but to pose as loyal members of the group, Bianca and Lucas bide their time with Black Cross until they can save enough money to run away together, to be free of the ties that both Evernight and Black Cross have to them. But learning to kill her own kind and seeing the extent of the fanatical hate of all vampires in the group leaves Bianca terrified and deeply conflicted – how should she react when she’s sent on patrol? And, more importantly, what will become of her if they ever discover that she is actually a living vampire? The situation only grows more tense when Bianca and Lucas are pursued by the formidable Miss Bethany, headmistress of Evernight Academy, and Charity, the deranged, vampire younger sister of Balthazar. Bianca and Lucas find themselves trapped in an impossible situation, but will stop at nothing until they are safe and together.

If you’ve read and stuck with the series this far, Hourglass most likely won’t disappoint you. Shifting the action from the gothic, atmospheric grounds of Evernight Academy, this third installment gives readers an insight to the mysterious Black Cross their rough, almost sad, lifestyle as they move from city to city on the hunt for any and all vampires. I did find myself missing Evernight, but change is a good thing, and learning more about this fanatical organization was a fascinating turn of events. I love that Ms. Gray shows both sides of the vampire-human story – both the vampires and the Black Cross have their own recommending and detracting factors. On the one hand, the Black Cross do have a mission to protect and to serve, keeping humanity safe from violent, malevolent vampires. On the other, however, the Black Cross are so absolute in their views that all vampires are evil monsters (and thus they all must be killed), that the old saying about hunters becoming what they hunt comes to mind. I liked that a lot about Hourglass.

In terms of characters, Hourglass is a bit of a mixed bag. I love that all of the main characters in the story aren’t perfect; in fact, they’re far from it. Protagonist Bianca is infuriatingly dense at times, committing her own massive lapses in judgement – initially, I had a hard time with the offputting, blasé attitude Bianca had towards the Black Cross (hello, the people who you were taught were murderers? The people who WOULD murder even the most innocent and passive of vampires – her own mother and father! – for the mere fact that they have fangs?). In general, Bianca’s passivity chafed. Whether it be in her attitude towards the Black Cross, her discovery that something might be wrong with her, physically, her role in the relationship with Lucas…it was grating, at times. BUT, that all said, one of the things that endears Bianca is that she learns from her mistakes. She’s by no means perfect, and not any ideal role model by any stretch of the imagination. But then again, she’s not supposed to be. She’s a regular girl, scared and trapped in a situation that is much larger than herself, and her at times selfish, at times obtuse actions are understandable at the very least. And, to Bianca’s credit, she eventually sees her mistakes for the huge screwups that they are, and she takes the responsibility and faces the consequences of her actions.

Similarly, Lucas is a far from perfect character – though Bianca is smitten with him, he’s abrasive and hot-headed, and overly-proud…but that’s what makes him a genuine, relatable character. He might not be a character that I love, but the love that he and Bianca share is genuinely touching and believable. And thankfully, the dynamic between Lucas and Bianca is more balanced than in the prior novels (where Lucas strayed towards dangerously controlling boyfriend territory). Both Bianca and Lucas have grown as characters and towards each other, and that’s a cool thing to see in a series. In that same vein, even my beloved Balthazar is the same flawed character – unable to see that Charity, his twisted younger sister, will never be sane. The other character interaction I have to mention is the changing relationship between Raquel and Bianca – Raquel’s hatred of anything supernatural (perfectly natural after the torture she has suffered at Evernight) becomes an issue in this book as she eagerly laps up everything the Black Cross teaches her.

In terms of plotting, what can I say? Hourglass has a number of twists and turns, leading to a dramatic conclusion. If there’s one thing I can say for Hourglass, it’s that there is no shortage of melodrama in this book. Complaining about this aspect, however, is like complaining water is wet. That’s what makes the book, and this series at large, such a good guilty pleasure. Yeah, some of Hourglass‘s plot points are ridiculously silly (i.e. why wouldn’t Bianca and Lucas just leave Black Cross immediately? Given how dangerous the situation was for Bianca and the fact that both Bianca and Lucas have very rich friends, the whole “saving money” excuse seems a little disingenuous). But that said, I absolutely LOVED all of the crazy teenage shenanigans, the incredibly over-the-top melodrama at the end, ridiculous though it may be. Hourglass is like that soap opera, that CW or MTV show that you simply cannot tear yourself away from. It manages to be both utterly ridiculous, and yet strangely satisfying. Sorta like the literary equivalent of really bomb Chinese takeout.

I’ll be back for the fourths, given the cliffhanger at the end of this one.

Notable Quotes/Parts: From the first chapter:

I GASPED FOR AIR SO HARD THAT MY CHEST ACHED. My face felt hot, and strands of my hair stuck to the sweaty back of my neck. Every single muscle hurt.

In front of me was Eduardo, one of the leaders of this Black Cross cell, with a stake in his hand. All around us, his vampire hunters, a ragtag army in denim and flannel, watched in silence. None of them would help me. We stood apart from them in the center of the room. Harsh overhead light painted him in stark shadows.

“Come on, Bianca. Get in the game.” His voice could sound like a growl when he chose, and every word echoed off the concrete floor and metal walls of the abandoned warehouse. “This is a fight to the death. Aren’t you even going to try to stop me?”

If I sprang at him in an effort to grab his weapon or knock him down, he’d be able to throw me to the floor. Eduardo was faster, and he’d been hunting for years. He’d probably killed hundreds of vampires—all of them older and more powerful than me.

Lucas, what can I do?

But I didn’t dare look around for Lucas. I knew that if I took my eyes away from Eduardo for a second, the battle would be over.

I took a couple of steps backward, but I stumbled. The borrowed shoes I wore were too big for me, and one of them slipped off my foot.

“Clumsy,” Eduardo said. He turned the stake between his fingers, as if imagining different angles at which to strike. His smile was so satisfied—so smug—that I stopped being scared and started being mad.

I grabbed up the shoe and flung it at Eduardo’s face as hard as I could.

It smacked into his nose, and our audience burst out laughing. A few of them clapped. The tension had disappeared in an instant, and I was once more part of the gang, or so they thought.

Thanks again to Harper Collins’ awesome Browse Inside feature, you can check out the first 70 pages of Hourglass, completely for free. I highly recommend you take a peek:


For those folks who haven’t read the series yet and are intrigued (or for those that HAVE read the series and want another copy or want to pass it along to friends), we are giving away ONE copy of Evernight, the first book in the titled series. Entry is simple – just leave a comment here, letting us know which YA Vampire book or series is your favorite. The contest is open to residents of the US only, and will run until Saturday, March 27th at 11:59 PM (PST).

Good luck!

Rating: 7 – Very Good

Reading Next: Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes


  • John J.
    March 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    My favorite YA vampire book that’s a series would have to be the House of Night series. It’s not the most deep or amazing series ever devised, but it has a lot of teenage humor and a lot of great passion. The writing manages to be pretty good and sexy at times, while retaining an air of mysterious qualities. The inclusion of wicca, native american, and other natural religions as influences makes for interesting reading experiences that may deter some, but for the most part add depth to the classic vampire myth. Plus, all the characters are fun and amusing diversions for the escapist reader. 🙂

    My favorite single novel is probably a tie between Demon in My View and Shattered Glass, both by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. She has a delightfully dark style, and the connections between her characters are very juicy. Her world is also fully realized, which is a pleasant change from some of the other vampire novels out right now.

    Love the contest idea, and I hope this is a satisfying comment. 🙂

  • Michelle
    March 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I’ve been meaning to start in this series for a while now, but just have never picked it up. It sounds like I should though!

    And as I was thinking about your question, I don’t really have a fav YA vampire book. I do love the Mercy Thompson series, Soulless, and the WVMP Radio series though..

  • Amanda Isabel
    March 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    My favoruite Vampire series is a tie between the first two I ever read: LJ Smith’s The Vampire Diaries and Christopher Pike’s The Last Vampire series. Both are excellent reads if you ask me – though you are forewarned, Pike’s “young adult” is more adult then not.

    Thanks for posting this – just got into this series! 😀

  • Robyn S.
    March 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    I love the Evernight series but I’m a fan of Vampire Academy 🙂

  • Sarah
    March 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I’m partial to Rachel Caine’s Morganville series. Hell, I’m partial to Rachel Caine, period.

  • Roxy
    March 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Favorite YA Vampire series… Vampire Academy. Just finished the latest one a few months ago and I’m really looking forward to the next one.

  • Barbara Fernandez
    March 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I am a fan of both the Morganville Vampires and the House of Night series. As for a favorite, I do find myself anticipating the Morganville books a bit more than the House of Night.

  • van pham
    March 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    My favorite YA series is the Vampire Academy series, and my other favorite series are: Mercy Thompson series, Kate Daniel series, Night Huntress series, Raine Benares series…and many more 🙂

  • Alex Bennett
    March 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    My favorite vampire books has to be Night World by LJ Smith! :mrgreen:

  • Lashawn J.
    March 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I like the House of Night and Morganville Vampire YA series. I also like the Vladimir Tod series, but I think thats more Juvenile than YA.

  • Angie
    March 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Wow. Though it’s hard to believe, I do not have a favorite YA vampire series. All my favorites are non-YA UF series.

    I’d love to find one! 🙂

  • Lisa Richards
    March 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    My favorite has been PC cast’s House of Night.

  • willaful
    March 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I forgot about “Night World”! That was a good series. Is LJ Smith still publishing? 🙂

  • Cindy C.
    March 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    My favorite YA Vamp series is the Blue Blood series by Melissa De La Cruz.

  • Paige
    March 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    My favorite YA vampire series is Morganville Vampires. I read all the books in about 8 days.

  • Stacy
    March 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I’ve got to go with Vampire Academy. Vampire books aren’t my favorite but I like that one.

  • Stacy B
    March 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I’m really loving LJ Smith’s Vampire Diaries and NightWorld series, even though Christopher Pike was a definite favorite back when YA was actually my reading level. I’ve cracked de la Cruz’s Blue Blood series and am enjoying that so far, but haven’t finished the first volume. Even though there’s not a lot of love left for it, we have to thank Twilight for bringing other authors who may not have been previously published out of the woodwork with their great storytelling. (Yep, I totally said the “T” word. So far, am not bursting into flame, but it may be a time-zone issue…and the A/C in my office is really cranked up…)

    As far as stand-alones, have to agree with John J. – Amelia Atwater-Rhodes was the first YA vamp book that I read when I actually recognized YA as an emerging genre (even though I was reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street/more grown-up series and Christopher Pike at the time). At the YA reading level age I’d already picked up Anne Rice, though I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t tell other 14 year olds to read those. Ahem.

  • Elie N
    March 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I have not read this series, but I would love to try it. Thanks for the review.

    There are tons of great YA vampire books/series but I have to say the one that had the most influence of my reading Vampires is Twilight. It reopened my eyes to the Vampire scene.

  • Lindsay Elizabeth
    March 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Ooh, I want. My favorite vampire books have to be those by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.

  • Christie
    March 22, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    My favorite YA vampire series is House of Night by PC Cast.

  • Haley Christine
    March 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    My favorite vampire-centered series is definitely the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer. Half vampire, half human, total conflict. Gotta love it!!!!

  • Heather
    March 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    I haven’t read many YA vamp stories, my fave overall vamp series was The Vampire Chronicals, and I loved the Twilight saga (I’m not ashamed). Other than those, I couldn’t get into many of the recent over-produced-find-in-every-store-in-America vamp stories, although I admit I haven’t really given most a chance. I like scary, not cheesy, and by the review above this may be some good stuff!

  • Lisa Richards
    March 22, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    PC Cast’s House of Night is my favorite.


  • Falling Off The Shelf
    March 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Well, the first book that comes to mind is The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause. It was one of the first YA vampire books I ever read, and highly recommend it. She is also the author of one of my personal favorite YA werewolf titles, Blood and Chocolate.

    Thanks for the great contest!

  • Bella F.
    March 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    aw Lisa, I like ur cat 😀

    btw, Please don’t enter me in giveaway, I alredy bought Evernight!
    and I love it. I just wanted to participate in comments
    My favorite YA vamp series is Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead–I can’t get enough of her writing, lol

  • Thea
    March 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Wow everyone, thanks for the comments! Just popping in to say there are a few titles I haven’t even heard of yet, and thanks to your awesome entries, I’m definitely gonna have to check them out!

  • Rebecca
    March 22, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I grew up with the Nightworld series by LJ Smith, so they are definitely the sentimental favorite.

    Evernight looks great.

  • Stephanie K.
    March 22, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    My favorite YA vampire series is the Morganville vampire series by Rachel Caine.

  • Cyndi R
    March 23, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Nexted to Twilight Series (which got me started to read again), Ive read at leased 50 books in 7 months from Stephine Myers to Rachel Caine I think my favorite YA is The House Of Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast I blew thru those like no tommrow, Right now Im reading The Morganville Vampires second book Dead Girls Dance and almost done I lov it, Claries a kick so real of a 16 year old thrown into a older world, I have Hourglass and have read the other 2 books problem is all my friends are now hooked and my books keep finding other homes, Would love to win a copy to have and hold for evermore 😉

  • JenP
    March 23, 2010 at 7:05 am

    I enjoyed the Blue Blood series. Great review!

  • Lisa Richards
    March 23, 2010 at 7:16 am


    Him’s suppose to be a bunny. 😆

  • Teresa W.
    March 23, 2010 at 8:16 am

    The Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine is my favorite. I’m always looking for new authors and series to read and this sounds good!

  • CrystalGB
    March 23, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Vampire Academy is my favorite YA series.

  • Caitlin Usignol
    March 23, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I love vampire series. Some of my favorite is Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, Morganville by Rachel Caine, and The Nighthuntress Series by Jeaniene Frost.

  • John J.
    March 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Wow, lol don’t enter me a second time (not very fair!), I just wanted to mention something to those who haven’t kept an eye on L.J.Smith.

    The L.J.Smith information – Yes, she’s still publishing. No, it is not as good as it sounds. She will be concluding Nightworld eventually, but she has also continued the Vampire Diaries. HOWEVER, the new books have gotten horrible, horrible reviews. From what I’ve seen they are more marketing than novel, and are so stereotypical it’s rather sad. 🙁

  • Lisa B.
    March 23, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I’m really enjoying the Vampire Academy series. I tried to get into the House of the Night series, but I couldn’t sink in.

    I’d love to read Evernight and also the Blue Bloods series.

  • S.S. White
    March 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I just heard about this series today from another source, so I’d love to try it out. Fave YA vampire novel/series? Well, I haven’t read much in the way of YA vampires (guess I need to fix that, eh?), but I’ll go with Amanda Marrone’s UNINVITED.

    In terms of adult vampire series, though, I’d go with Jeaniene Frost’s NIGHT HUNTRESS series. 🙂

  • Noel
    March 23, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Hmmm….I love Twilight (and proud, all you Twi-haters), but I also like the Immortals series by Alyson Noel. If that counts as a vampire series… 😆

  • chelleyreads
    March 23, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    my favorite vampire YA series is the vampire diaries by l.j. smith. plain awesome series!! 😀

  • catie james
    March 23, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    With regards to YA vampire series, I can’t get enough of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vamps, loved Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrument series (even though vamps weren’t prominently featured – so looking forward to further exploration of Simon’s life as a vampire),


    digging Alyxandra Harvey’s Drake Chronicles, and I quite like Parker Blue’s Demon Underground series.

    When it comes to adults – love, love,


    Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunters, Kim Harrison’s The Hollows, and Joey W. Hill’s Vampire Queen series.

    I’m planning on checking out the Evernight series from my local library, but they’re dragging their feet on getting a copy of HOURGLASS!

  • meredith goodall
    March 24, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Twilight, I guess. I haven’t read many of the popular vampire series. I am sort of intimidated by the recent overload of vampire books.

  • Donna
    March 24, 2010 at 10:04 am

    After Twilight I would Rachel Caine’s vampire series.

  • Marianna G.
    March 24, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I do not read much YA vamp stuff, yet anyway. But my favorite book about vampires would be Sunshine by Robin McKinley!

  • Raelena
    March 25, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    I love Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series

  • Stella (Ex Libris)
    March 26, 2010 at 1:34 am

    My favourite YA vampire series are LJ Smith’s The Vampire Diaries and Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series.

  • Anne G
    March 27, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Of the YA vampire books I like the Vampire Diaries series best.

  • Mishel
    March 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I haven’t read many YA vampire series yet. I did read the Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith before the show started and enjoyed them. I’ve read most of the House of Night and can’t seem to stop myself from reading them. But they aren’t my favorites…

    I’m looking forward to starting The Evernight Series, The Morganville Vampire series, and Vampire Academy. I have a few more on my TBR list as well, just a bit behind.

    Thanks for the chance to start this series :]

  • Stacy Stewart
    March 27, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    I like the Morganville Vampire Series and The Twilight Saga.

  • Jady
    April 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I have read every single book of Morganville vampires series,Twilight, Vampires Academy and more. But my favorite is The one from the House of Night Series, and the Beautiful Creatures Series 🙂 😀

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