Modern Fantasy · Review · Young Adult

Almost Final Curtain by Tate Hallaway

Almost Final Curtain by Tate Hallaway is part of the Vampire Princess Novels. It is the sequel to the first book: Almost to Die For. This is the synopsis on the back of the book.

Ever since high school student Anastasija Parker discovered she was vampire royalty, her life has been sort of crazy. The half vampire/half witch just wants some normalcy, and trying out for the spring musical seems like the perfect fix. But things are a little different this year since Nikolai Kirov–vampire hunter in training and Ana’s sometimes boyfriend–and his rock band are lending the musical a harder edge.

But in between worrying about tryouts and her uncertain status with a boyfriend who’s learning the best way to kill her, Ana has an even bigger problem: The magical ancient talisman that stands between vampire freedom and slavery to witches has been stolen from the Minnesota Historical Society. Now Ana has to track down the dangerous talisman before someone uses it to make this year’s curtain call her last.

We start out in the setting of high school, where everyone is talking about her and her boyfriend, Nikolai. Her friend Bea doesn’t help, because she likes the spotlight. I dislike that she shares information from one text with Nik, about the musical, with the entire school, but he doesn’t care about that.

Elias looks like the perfect match for her. I wish he had some real flaw about him that would really unsettle her. I also don’t understand how biting him (I think this was in the first book, but I’m not sure) gets her betrothed to him. Clearly, there is tension in that she is dating Nikolai and Elias. Did I mention that Elias is from Hell? He doesn’t really seem to show any evil tendencies. If he had one evil tendency, such as loving to torture people or kill people, I think it would be believable that he’s from Hell.

Her mom seems like a really caring mom, until she gets into big business with the Elders about the talisman. This talisman apparently can create vampires and enslave them. No one knows who stole it from the museum. The witches think it’s the vampires and the vampires think it’s the witches.

I dislike the overall tone, the way she narrates this novel. It’s annoying to have Ana talk like one of those girls whose always acting like: OMG! I have a date to prom. And guess what? I have two boyfriends, one I’m supposed to marry (maybe?) and one who’s trained to kill me. Life is sucky and awesome. I get so tired of reading this stuff. I also get tired of reading about twisted love triangles in young adult novels.

The novel is interesting. The vampires have strange customs, but so do the witches. Her father is a very flat character in this book. For the few times he actually has a speaking role, he is a complete jerk. He even banishes his daughter from the vampire kingdom that he controls. Before banishing her, he ordered her to spy on her mother. He doesn’t seem to remember this while banishing her, so I think this is another downfall in the book. It also seems a little too focused on her drama class and club.

It is very quick and easy to read. I’m torn between whether the story should have been longer or shorter. There are places where the author could have gone into more detail. There is one place where the author didn’t need to go into detail. Just to note: I figured out who stole the talisman over one hundred pages before Ana did. If you want an easy read, go for it. If you want to read this because it’s a vampire novel, you might like it. If you want to read it because of the witches, you’re mostly going to get the vibe that the witches are the evil ones. It’s okay, but it’s not a book I recommend.

Genres: Young Adult, Mythology, Romance

Stars (out of 5): ***

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