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Hourglass - Claudia Gray When I reviewed Evernight, the first of Claudia Gray's vampire book series, I gave it a rating of three and a half stars, and despite my having an issue with a plot twist, I called it "...a nice addition to any collection of YA vampire fiction". In my review of the second book, Stargazer, I noted that the one problem that I had had with Evernight (and its narrative) was not really an issue, and that as a sequel Stargazer built on what went before and proved to be a very good sophomore effort by Gray. I also commented that there was plenty of promise for book number three - Hourglass. Having finally read that novel, I can happily say that Hourglass lives up to what Stargazer promised.

Claudia Gray is an author who gets better with every book, and Hourglass really shows that. The pace of the story is kept up, and the characters keep developing - perhaps not in the way a reader might like, but definitely in ways that make sense. It is the emotional moments that are the strongest though - those quiet moments between characters when it is just them and what they are feeling/thinking. When reading Evernight and Stargazer I was never quite entirely convinced of the relationship between Bianca and Lucas. Maybe it was because Lucas was not as present as he could have been, or perhaps it was because he seemed outclassed by other potential love interests (namely Balthazar). But in Hourglass Gray hits it right on the nose, and I was finally able to be convinced of their love. It has matured and strengthened beyond the initial early lovesick stage enhanced to something strong, believable and powerful.

Speaking of Lucas, he really gets to shine here. After his absent periods in Stargazer he is a very firm presence here: this is his world now, and we get all the knowledge and backstory that comes with finally getting to see it properly. It is an interesting flow, really, to go from a group of vampires that we as the reader know on the whole are not that bad to a group that perceives them as being, well, monstrous. Of course, neither side is correct here, but it is still interesting to see what actions by/members of each side confirm or deny the opinions of the other. This is also true of the wraiths and their "relationship" with vampires - this storyline becomes far more pertinent and something that will definitely help define the whole series, and make it sound out from the plethora of other vampire novels. I dare not say much else because of spoilers (the book is not out yet in most parts of the world) but I will say that it definitely is the gamechanger of the series.

Last but not least, any story that has Ranulf and Vic in it is all right by me - adding in more characters development and hidden depths/intelligence just makes the whole thing even better. They need to have a buddy comedy novel or something; I would be there in an instant if that were the case. Their appearances are always a highlight for me, and I welcome many more in the next book.

Hourglass is the third book in the Evernight series by Claudia Gray, and in my opinion it is the best so far, Gray ups the stakes, follows through with consequences and challenges, and finishes it all off with a kicker of an ending. You can find out yourself come March!