Classification: Young Adult; 12 - 18 years
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Series: Shadow Falls: After Dark (A Shadow Falls Novel)
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (October 28, 2014)
Author's Website: http://www.cchunterbooks.com/
Della Tsang is finally working for the FRU, Fallen Research Unit (think paranormal FBI), and she's just been handed her next assignment--by a ghost. Della recently worked with FRU in bringing down and capturing Craig Anthony and his crew who were illegally enslaving newly made vamps by using his family's funeral home as a front. Now a vision bequeathed her by a ghost has let her know that two newly made vampires are trapped and buried underground. As not all the vamps that Craig Anthony enslaved are accounted for, Della's betting the two vamps she saw in the vision are part of that missing number. If the two vamps are truly alive, then Della and Chase will be in a race against time to save them. For vampires can only survive for a few weeks without a fresh blood source. With only the first names of the victims to go on and very little else, the ghost makes it crystal clear what she wants....
This is the second book in the Shadow Falls: After Dark trilogy. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Shadow Falls is a school for kids who are supernaturally gifted. The school runs under the guise of a drug rehabilitation center, for most teens who go through a supernatural transformation tend to display symptoms similar to that of a drug user. They tend to distance themselves from friend and family, are secretive, and, for some--vamps in particular, stay awake at night and are exhausted during the day. Supernatural beings have a species identifying pattern which hovers in front of their foreheads and can be seen by other supernatural beings. This helps the administration of Shadow Falls easily identify which kids to select for their program. Della has been a student at Shadow Falls for several years.
Della is an honest to god vampire with remarkable powers because she is one of a rare breed known as reborns. She wasn't born a vampire and she wasn't bitten, but Della, and the majority of her family, are carriers of the VI virus which, when it goes live, turns people into vampires. If a person with the VI virus has an open wound that is exposed to the blood of someone with the active virus (ie someone who's been turned), they themselves will become a vampire. Among those who get turned, a small percentage go through a second turning process which, if they survive, they'll come out with stronger powers than the average vamp. These vampires are known as reborns because, in a way, they've gone through a second vampire birth.
Many who go through a rebirth never complete the process and die. Reborn vamps can increase the odds of survival of another vampire going through their vampire rebirth by bonding with them. It's sort of like a blood transfusion where antibodies are exchanged, but the process also links the two vampires together in a rather disturbing way. The two can sense each others emotions. Della is still trying to figure out just exactly what bonding with another vampire means. Chase, the vampire who bonded with her in Reborn, keeps hinting that they're fated to be together. That doesn't fly with Della who is not one to just take someone at their word whom she's only recently met. Besides, Chase has admitted he'd previously bonded to another vamp when he was reborn, so she's pretty sure a relationship and bonding doesn't automatically go hand in hand. While she does feel an attraction to the guy, she doesn't fully trust him and with good reason. Chase is holding on to a lot of secrets. Of that Della is quite sure.
In this book, Della is contacted by another ghost, but the whole vision is confusing. She doesn't know if she's seeing something from the past or the present. In the vision, she is literally dropped into another person and sees and feels what they do. A pair of newly turned vampires are trapped underground and are surviving on each other's blood. Vampires can only survive so long doing this and Della doesn't know if the ghost is showing Della her past or if she is showing Della someone else's present, but Della has a strong sense the girl she jumped into is alive. She must find out who exactly the girl is to save her. Additionally, she'll have to work with Chase to accomplish it.
Della is not the easiest person to get to know. She's been betrayed and hurt by many of the people she's loved. For one so young she's suffered a lot of disappointment in her life. So she guards and protects herself and doesn't give a person the benefit of the doubt, instead they have to earn her trust. For many, this would put them off. For Chase, it kind of presents a challenge and Chase never passes on a challenge.
Chase is a secret person who works for the Vampire Council. Ms. Hunter does an excellent job with his character development because I, like Della, keep waffling as to whether I like him or not. Is he what he seems or is he a manipulator playing Della for a fool? Is he trying to use the bond between them to recruit her for the Vampire Council? It's hard to say.
Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I love that Della is such a strong female character who doesn't compromise herself for anyone. I liked the mystery of finding out who and where the missing vamps were and the surprising link to Della. This one ends in a cliffhanger, but it wasn't the type that leaves you frustrated that the author left some part undone, instead it leaves you looking to the next book with anticipation. I do admit I am a little sad there's only one book left. I wonder if we can look forward to another spin-off from the Shadow Falls series? I'm crossing my fingers.