Alyssa reviews everafter by Nell Stark and Trinity Tam

everafter by Nell Stark and Trinity Tam is an urban fantasy, vampire-and-shifter novel centered around a committed lesbian couple. Valentine is a rich, androgynous medical student whose parents are opposed to her lesbianism, and her girlfriend, Alexa, is a strong-willed, femme law student. They are in an established relationship at the opening of the novel; Valentine is preparing to propose to Alexa when she is attacked and turned by a vampire. everafter takes the science-fiction route to vampires and shifters: they are caused by a parasite and a virus, respectively. Valentine and Alexa work with both police and this universe’s secret vampire organization to track down the vampire who attacked Valentine, while simultaneously fighting to keep their relationship together through the challenges of vampirism, post-traumatic stress, and later the change Alexa goes through to better feed her lover.

What immediately impressed me about everafter is that it balances two strong-willed characters, two halves of a relationship, very successfully. Neither of the two is overshadowed by the other—both have agency in the novel, and they work as a team to face their challenges. Both Valentine and Alexa are distinct, well-rounded characters who carry the story together, and they are also seriously in love and lust with each other. The novel is well-peppered with sex scenes, most of which involve vampiric biting and blood-drinking.

While the world-setting for this story is not very divergent from vampire-and-shifter urban fantasy in general, I personally consider that a sub-genre, and thus don’t see this as a problem. My main criticism, story-wise, is that while the action rises and there is a pivotal fight at the climax, I was never very worried about the characters’ chances of survival. My other criticism is that while there is a single side character of color, besides her, the cast is fairly white, which is unrealistic, considering the novel takes place in New York City.

everafter is, overall, a strong story that I enjoyed reading, with full characters that you will want to see win their battles. It leaves some important questions unanswered at the end, which I hope to see resolved in its sequel, nevermore.

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