Despite coming from an old and respected family, Schuyler Van Alen has never really fit in at Duchesne, her exclusive New York high school. But then she starts receiving attention from the ultra-popular Jack Force, and the untimely death of a schoolmate rattles the Manhattan elite. Soon Schuyler is shown the full extent of her familial heritage, opening her eyes to the true nature of the Blue Bloods.
Blue Bloods read to me like Gossip Girl with fangs. It centres around a group of super rich and privileged teens and their phenomenally rich and powerful families, and adorns the plot with generous smatterings of exclusive brands and (already dated) cutting edge technology and fashions. The twist is that most of these people are also vampires – although not the type of vampire you’re expecting. Melissa de la Cruz combines vampire and fallen angel mythology with historical snippets to create a being with an interesting past and form of immortality.
I picked up Blue Bloods thinking it was going to be another paranormal romance series, but it’s actually not focussed on romance at all, even though there are a few minor pair-ups within the book. Instead, it’s really about the history of the Blue Bloods, the inclusion of a new set of teenagers to their number and the danger they are facing from a threat as old as they are. In this sense, it’s an enjoyable novel and I would certainly pick up the next book in the series to see where things go.
Where it falls down a little, however, is with the individual characters introduced in this first book. The perspective mostly follows Schuyler and Bliss, but neither is particularly sympathetic or likeable. I got the impression that Schuyler is supposed to be the character that readers will identify with, but found her a little flat myself. While we are introduced to her life, we are not really led to feel anything about it. The other difficulty with the changing perspectives is that sometimes it switches mid-chapter and it doesn’t always stay with Schuyler and Bliss. There are occasional portions of the plot that are seen through Mimi or Jack’s eyes and the combination of so many limited perspectives ends up feeling a little messy and confusing.
In a more general sense, I felt like there were hints here at characters I might grow to like with more development in later books. We only see snippets of Jack and Mimi in Blue Bloods, but they seem like the most interesting members of the ensemble, especially in relation to the hints given regarding their shared past. In addition, Oliver became a lot more interesting and likeable as the novel went on. I found him quite annoying at first, but began to warm to him once he began to have a purpose of his own, beyond merely being Schuyler’s possessive friend.
Blue Bloods won’t win prizes for great literature, but it is entertaining as escapist reading. The world that de la Cruz has outlined in her novel is different enough to encourage readers to pick up the next book in the series, even if the characters are not yet intriguing enough to pull people in on their own merit.
(Oh, and because I can’t resist – Caligula was not towards the end of the Roman Empire. If you’re going to use real historical figures for effect, you should at least make an effort to use them correctly.)