Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blue Bloods – review

Author: Melissa de la Cruz

First published: 2006

Contains spoilers

Blurb: They’re young, fabulous and fanged…

And they rule Manhattan from the trendy uptown clubs to the downtown boutiques. Fifteen-year-old Schuyler Van Alen has never quite fit in at her exclusive prep school – she’s more of a vintage than a Versace girl – but all that’s about to change…

Because Schuyler has just found out that she’s a Bluue Blood. The Blue Bloods are the city’s glamorous and secret vampire elite. They’re young, beautiful and powerful. But now they’re being murdered. And Schuyler must find out who – or what – is behind it, before she’s next.

The review: It was rather nice that the Amazon Vine programme coincided with my own passion for reading and reviewing vampire related material and, though this was clearly aimed at a teen market, it did a lot right – eventually.

This creates a level of lore that is rather interesting as the Blue Bloods are not just vampires, they are fallen angels. Their immortality comes through recycling themselves, dying and being reborn (from their blood) by choice and growing to age until their blood releases their memories of their previous cycles. They have laws governing how much they can feed from a human, they can choose to live beyond the cycle and they cannot die by any conventional means.

This is all well and good and explains why the first half of the book was so frustrating. Forgetting the fact that the idea of an Upper Class prep school was one that came across as alien to me and the fact that the book is written to the target audience (teen) and could have benefited from a much more adult orientation to the language. The reason it was frustrating was because it felt like de la Cruz was trying to hide the nature of these creatures, revealing nothing, hidden from the reader as it was from the main character. However the prose flipped perspectives to those who knew the truth and still it was purposefully hidden from the reader. This might have worked had it not been for the cover and the blurb… hardly the author’s fault but it was still frustrating.

I said that they could not die by conventional means (or indeed by any of the normal vampire slaying techniques) and yet they are being murdered. Because of this the young generation (who are the ones being targeted) are informed early of their heritage. The idea of the hunters hunted was nice, of a creature or creatures bigger and badder than the bogeyman – the identity of which I won’t spoil. It made me sit up and take notice, it brought a sense of urgency into the prose and it made me overlook some slight character issues.

These issues were mainly born out of the reactions and attitudes of a certain character who turns out to be a Red Blood (the name for humans) retainer to the Blue Bloods and yet the reactions that had earlier been described to us didn’t fit that role at all. Also, one wondered at teen vampires who suddenly gain the memories of countless past lives but not the wisdom of the ages, leaving characters perhaps as bratty and spoilt as they had been in their human-esque life before the blood took hold.

Nevertheless the book had me intrigued from the moment the unusual lore was revealed and I will certainly look to the other books in the series. 6 out of 10.

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