An almost unreadable morass of supernatural creatures, double crosses and internal monologues.
Michael Howard, who accepted that he was both gay and a vampire in Unnatural (2011), now lives with his boyfriend Ronan among humans and a variety of beings disguised as humans at Archangel Academy. Michael and Ronan are water vampires, a web-handed variety that feeds on blood once a month and then drinks from the Well of Atlantis. Non-hybrid vampires, however, including Archangel Academy's evil new headmaster, want the water vamps destroyed. Meanwhile, both Ronan and Michael come to terms with truths about their families, an efemera (similar to a guardian angel) falls in love with a human, Ronan's estranged sister comes to town—and those are only a few of the novel's numerous and convoluted subplots. Readers are thrown into the book's world with little introduction, presumably expected to remember the paranormal mythology and large cast of characters from the first book. The third-person narrative voice jumps briskly and dizzyingly among points of view, even within a single scene, but characters' motivations often remain opaque. Most uncomfortably, ethically questionable acts, such as Michael reading Ronan's personal correspondence and the two boys feeding on a suicidal woman as she jumps to her death—go oddly unremarked upon.Literature for teens could use more vampire stories with gay protagonists; it's a shame this one is such a slog. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)