A review by theliteraryphoenix
Blue Bloods, by Melissa de la Cruz

mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

Oh no. This book didn't age well.

Blue Bloods relies so heavily on fashion labels and the crafting upper class culture that it got itself stuck in the early 2000s. This is your typical snooty, cliquey vampire book with a little more backstory to the origin of vampires. It takes the entire book to unravel the mystery that is revealed on the cover. We have three POVs in this book, and we repeat the same content between Schuyler and Bliss. Plus let's talk a bit about how much time is spent justifying the weird attraction between Mimi and Jack? No thanks.

I think that de la Cruz was on the right track with this book, and I can see why 2011-me liked it so very much. YA has evolved past this stage of simple descriptions, weak world building, and catty dialogue, and Blue Bloods stands out as a bit of a sore thumb in the way it dates itself as well as the complete lack of diversity. I mean, it's a private school in upper Manhattan so particularly at the time it was released, the demographic was probably accurate... but still.  There are way too many rich white faces in this book.

Blue Bloods is still a bit of a guilty pleasure read, knowing it's decidedly not great, but it's certainly not a "I want to keep this on my shelf" read any longer. I think in another decade, it will entirely disappear to the dusty stacks... if it hasn't already.

_______

Original Review: 5 Stars (July 2011)

I surprised myself by loving this book.

I find that the summary on the back of the book is a little misleading - <i>Blue Bloods</i> follows not only the story of Schuyler Van Allen, but also the stories of Bliss Llewellyn and Madeline Force ("Mimi").  There are enough cliches to make it familiar, but few enough so that the pieces of originality stood out well.  At the beginning, I was afraid that De La Cruz was going to dive into intense descriptions of clothes (hey-lo upper class, teenage NYC!), but she only did so when was appropriate, and in the voice of the one character who would actually care about something like that - Mimi.  There isn't a single mention of a name-brand that Schuyler is wearing (excepting, of course, her modelling campaign, but her discomfort is clear the whole time).

The summary on the back of the book implies that this is a paranormal mystery, but the story itself seems to be more coming-of-age... except it's not about growing up... it's about becoming a vampire.

There were enough unique aspects in this book to make it feel fresh in a world that is torn between sparkly emo vampires (Meyer), and vicious, cunning vampires (Rice).  She uses enough of the traditional aspects to remain true to the folklore, but explains away everything that doesn't fit.  Even if she doesn't use aspects like garlic, etc., then I appreciate the fact she finds a justification for not using them.  New aspects, such as the flashbacks and reincarnation?  That's just cool.

However, there are points that are a little cheesy - Gabriel and Michael, for starters.  Also, Oliver felt too flat after revealing his secret, as though knowing that sucked his character dry for me, and that was a little disappointing.

This book is great for people who want to read a light vampire flick, who aren't forcefully invented in "vampire" as the word is defined by another author, and as always with YA... people who can dissociate themselves from an adult mindset and recognize that the main characters may have souls as old as time, but their bodies and maturity level aren't quite as old.

I will be picking up the next book in this series, and I hope it delivers.

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