Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen. After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have -- to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish.
Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone. As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?
Details: Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel, 310 pages, 4.09 stars on Goodreads
Why I Picked This Up: I didn't want to at first. I mean, another vampire book? The last time I tried another vampire book, it was so awful I had to put it down after the first forty-five pages, but I'd wanted to get rid of it after the first page. (Not going to say the title or author, of course, because I don't want to bash a specific book like that.) But almost every review I read raved about how awesome it was, how amazing, how beautiful, and how unlike anything else it was. Plus, that cover? It's g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s.
Characters: Lenah was phenomenal. This is definitely the best-written character I've read in such a long time - she was well-developed, honest, and so imperfect. I loved that the author didn't shy away from all the evil things she did before, all the murders and tortures and cruelties, and yet made her a sympathetic character without making everything seem sugar-coated and false. She was sorrowful and intelligent and mature.
Although I wouldn't call it depressing, I could feel her intense desire to be human again, to feel, both physically and emotionally, and to love. She wanted it more than anything, and when I read her narration, I felt an aching myself, because I was so completely placed in her shoes. And despite all the emotions I felt for her, she wasn't self-pitying at all. She didn't agonize and mope around about all the things she'd done.
I didn't like Justin that much, though. It wasn't like I hated him or even disliked his character, it was more that he never really had a developed personality. The same went for the minor characters, like the so-called "Three Piece", which was a group of popular girls. That was just sort of cliche and shallow and vain. There are mean popular girls, and there are cliques, but even people like those have more substance to them. Pretty Little Liars, for instance, illustrates this extremely well.
I had issues with Tony as well. He was nice in the beginning, because he was different and funny and relateable, and his interest in the arts was a good touch. Although I found it cliche that he had a crush on Lenah, I could let it slide. What really bothered me was the stalker tendencies. Stalking girls - taking a bajillion photos of them and the like - is not normal. It's dangerous, it's sick, and it's wrong.
Plot: Honestly, I have to say, the writing in this book was powerful. So many parts were practically like poetry, because they were so beautiful and haunting and heartbreaking. I loved this book, and it was so raw and, frankly, inspiring to me. There are nothing like gorgeous words to get the cogs in my brain turning, and this book was spectacular for that.
The flashbacks were well juxtaposed with the main plotline, and I felt that nearly everything was performed excellently in Infinite Days. The only thing I didn't like was the romance between Lenah and Justin. I could see Lenah and Rhode - as two vampires, they were in true, deep, profound love and they were perfect - but Lenah and Justin felt strange, random, and way too fast.
I just can't see someone like Lenah, someone who's half a millenium old and therefore wise and mature, someone who's gone through so much, falling in love with a sixteen-year-old boy. The difference in maturity between a sixteen-year-old boy and, say, a fourteen-year-old girl is slight. The difference in maturity between a sixteen-year-old boy and a sixteen-year-old girl is slight. (All this depending, of course, on the boy and girl in question.) The difference between a sixteen-year-old boy and a five-hundred-year-old girl? Yeah, that's a lot bigger. I can't see them bridging the maturity gap.
First Line: [Unavailable.]
Cover: I love this cover. The colors in the eye are stunning, and the single tear is the perfect touch, and also actually means something, which you find out when you read it. I like the shine to the girl's skin, because it's such a beautiful, smooth color that makes the eye stand out even more. The only thing I don't like are the bangs at the top, because they feel sort of random.
Overall: The romance was lacking and some minor characters could use more work, but otherwise, this was a fantastic read that I highly, highly recommend. Lenah was a true, powerful character with a raw and inspiring story to tell, and the prose was heartbreakingly beautiful.
Plot - 4/5
Characters - 3.5/5
Writing - 5/5
Impact - 4/5
Inability to put it down - 4/5
Total - 82% = A-