Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
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? (courtesy of Goodreads)
I'd been looking forward to Infinite Days ever since I saw the stunning cover a few months ago. But when I read several negative reviews, I started to have doubts. I picked up Infinite Days anyway, and I'm glad I did. It was an enjoyable read. However, I agree with many of the criticisms I read in the negative reviews. Parts of this book drove me crazy. If it wasn't for Rebecca Maizel's writing ability and multi-faceted story, I would have written off Infinite Days entirely.
Lenah is nearly 600 years old. As a vampire, she killed thousands without regret. Killing was the only relief from her pain. She sought power, riches, and glory. She was a vampire queen. I love the rich world that Maizel created. I love that she didn't skimp on the horror. In fact, I'd love to read a book solely about Lenah's past. Lenah yearns to be human again, and her creator/lover sacrificed himself in the performance of an ancient ritual to transform Lenah into a human. Lenah awakes from a deep sleep as a 16 year old girl enrolled in a New England boarding school. She not only has to adjust to a modern human world, but also to the high school cliquishness.
I thought the high school world was poorly done (unfortunately, this comprised much of the book). It was full of stereotypes. The popular girls. The best friend who's in love with the girl. The handsome bad boy who captures the girl's heart. The popular girls, who call themselves "Three Piece," particularly annoyed me. I'm so sick of the evil queen bee characters. In reality, most "popular" kids are much more complex, even if they are mean. And how many cliques in real life actually name themselves? Tony, Lenah's best friend, was a great character - kind, artistic, snarky. Lenah should have picked him. I do like that she worked to keep his friendship even when she pursued Justin. That doesn't happen all that often. Justin was an okay character. He was a "bad boy," but not really. He was adventurous, athletic, and secretly a sweetheart. I like that Lenah had opportunities to get to know him as a person rather than just as an object to lust over, but I didn't really understand the attraction.
Lenah's vampire world and human world, not surprisingly, eventually collide. The plot arcs were more complex than I expected. I can't say that the climax had me glued to the book in nervous anticipation, but I thought it was very interesting. The end of Infinite Days includes an excerpt from the follow-up to the book. This was fabulous. I think I liked it better than any part of Infinite Days. I'll definitely keep reading Maizel's books, flawed though they may be.
Rating: 3.5 / 5