Saturday, 13 April 2013

Blue Bloods Series

Level: Older Teen
Genre: Fantasy > Urban Fantasy > Vampire
Reviewed by: Nic Echo

About the Series:
Vampires are among us. They are classy. They are beautiful. They are society's elite. The Blue Bloods series starts off pretty lightly; it's all about fashion, social status, romance, and little else. Even early on, however, we learn that the vampires are really fallen angels that cycle through different lifetimes, hoping for forgiveness so that they may return to Heaven. We also learn of the silver blood angels or vampires that feed off the blue bloods and trap the blue bloods' souls in the silver blood's form. Later on, things become much more complicated in the series, both in the war between the silver and blue bloods and in the romance department. What was once all social status and parties has now becomes battles, quests, and treachery. Then, there is all the complexities of the romance in the series. Girl like Popular Boy. Friend of Girl likes Girl. Popular Girl dislikes Girl since Popular Boy also likes Girl, but Popular Boy and Popular Girl have a bond, and breaking that could be hazardous, and that's just the tip of the romanceberg.  

Rating: 6/10
My thoughts on this series were certainly all over the place. The bits that I liked, I tended to love and kept me turning the pages. On the other hand, the things I disliked, I loathed.  My eyes were rolling, and some times I even wanted to throw the book. Still, I will admit that the series was better than I originally expected. It was unique and although it was romance heavy as expected, I didn't feel too bogged down from it until later. De la Cruz managed a good balance between the story plot and the romance plot. The other things I enjoyed about the Blue Bloods series was that you got to see the characters grow throughout. Melissa de la Cruz also did an excellent job at creating plot twists and keeping you on the edge of your seat. I think the only time I didn't really feel this was in Gates of Paradise and even Lost in Time since nearly anyone could figure out how the series would end (happily ever after) so it removed any tension. Personally, I am not a fan of happily ever after, especially in urban fantasy. However, I realise a good amount of people do want that happy ending where all the main characters live and end up happily paired off. I'll admit that this type of ending knocked down my enjoyment of the series slightly, but not only was it expected but I was enjoying the storyline enough that I didn't care. As I said, it only really had a major impact in the last two books, because it removed most of the tension.

Speaking of knocking down enjoyment, another minor dislike I had with the series was all the naming of the characters -- well, the angelic names. Melissa de la Cruz constantly put in well known angelic names (and even some well known names for the wolves). Some examples would be Michael, Gabriel(le), Azrael, Leviathan, Beelzebub, Fenrir, and Romulus. My problem with this is they had little or nothing to do with the mythos surrounding the name. We get no biblical type references to the angels and the blue bloods personality didn't really reflect the mythos either. For example, Azrael is the angel of death, but I felt that any name could have been used in place of Azrael, and the story wouldn't have changed. Then, there are the wolves,  Fenrir and Romulus. I can't say much on the latter since he was mainly in Wolf Pact, which I have not read yet, so all I know was that he was an evil tyrant. Fenrir, however, ugh! In the Blue Bloods series, Fenrir is a giant supposed to be the salvation of the wolves. In Norse mythos, Fenrir is a giant wolf that is supposed to swallow the sun and end the world. Yeah, I have no idea how Melissa de la Cruz made the connection between the end of the world and salvation. Still the Blue Bloods story was interesting enough for me to let this peeve pass though it still received a small shudder every time I read the names.

Honestly though, I found most of the series to be enjoyable. Sure the series was the equivalent to junk food, but it was a tasty read. It was fun to see de la Cruz mix her mythos with our human history; it was entertaining to see the complications of the romance and past lives, and it was thrilling to see the silver bloods spread their treachery. However, the end of the series nearly killed all of that for me. What could have been a highly enjoyable and highly recommended series dropped down to merely okay because of the last two books (okay, Gates of Paradise really). In the beginning of the series, the villains had reasons to be evil. The reasons weren't detailed, but we had reasons: power, pride, or simple selfishness. Later on, we get villains doing evil things, because ... evil. I'm sorry, but that is simply frustrating and boring. Plus, talk about lazy writing. I usually love the villains in novels, but the ones here ended up just singing, "Death, death, devil, devil, evil, evil song." Seriously, even a simple reason is better than "because he's evil." Continuing with the bad writing, there was so much telling in this series! Well, the earlier books had some showing, but Gates of Paradise was chock full of us being told how the characters were instead of getting to see them act that way. Still if the plot had been interesting enough, I could have forgiven this flaw. However, without the urge to constantly turn the page, without the plot twists and unknown paths, Melissa's writing falls flat. Gates of Paradise and Lost in Time are both guilty of fixing major problems, many of which had been built up through multiple books, in one sentence. Can we say disappointment?

Overall, the Blue Bloods series wasn't bad. In fact, most of it was highly entertaining throughout most of the series. It isn't incredibly well written, but a book doesn't have to be Hemingway to be enjoyable. Blue Bloods had a steady mix of action and romance (though I would still mainly suggest this series to the female gender). The biggest downfall is the end of the series. The ending felt rushed, and Melissa's flaws in writing became more obvious. Then again, the overall arc is still enjoyable, and the last book manages to tie up all the loose ends, but as I have said, it's pretty disappointing for  various reasons so you may want to keep that in mind before becoming invested in the series.

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