Book Review: Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (Series, #1)
The students at Duchesne Academy in New York City appear to be your typical bunch of wealthy, elite teenagers. Naturally gorgeous twins Mimi and Jack rule the school. Bliss became part of Mimi’s entourage when her oil wealthy Texas family moved to NYC. Schuyler is part of the crowd of misfits who wear goth clothes instead of the more typical Louis Vuitton. They all gradually discover, however, that the secret to their families’ wealth isn’t just that they came over on the Mayflower. They are Blue Bloods–vampires who retire from their human shells every 100 years or so then come back with the same blood. Their teenage years are vulnerable ones, and someone or something out there is managing to kill some of the young Blue Bloods.
The vampire lore behind this story is not my style. It is so much not my style that just writing the above summary made me cringe. None of the official summaries of the book reveal much about the vampire lore, so let me tell you just in case it’s not your style either. Blue Bloods is heavily steeped in Christianity. The vampires are fallen angels who are attempting to atone for their rebellion. They face hundreds of years of punishment trapped in human bodies that they must eventually retire then return in new ones. The vampires accomplish this reincarnation by taking some of the blood from the dead vampire and implanting it into a vampire woman’s uterus. It all rings as a bit odd when you have a teenage character who’s never done anything more wrong than sneak into a club be told that she must atone for this rebellion against god that she doesn’t even remember doing hundreds of years ago. It really takes the bite out of vampires and makes them kind of pathetic.
Where the book is strongest is oddly where the vampire thing is on the back burner. Schuyler and Bliss get to model for a jean company, and that scene was actually quite enjoyable to read. If this had been your more typical murder mystery at an elite high school, I think it would have been a much better book.
Some reviewers had a problem with the presence of teenage drinking, drugging, and sex. I actually thought the sex was handled quite well, with teens talking about it a lot but nobody actually managing to do it. That read as very real. The alcohol is kind of a non-factor, since vampires can’t be affected by alcohol. My only confusion with this is if that’s the case, then why are they risking breaking the law to drink? I suppose it seems minor compared to convincing a human to become your familiar so you can feed off them. The drugs are entirely presented in a negative light the few times they are briefly mentioned.
What shocked me, and I can’t believe how infrequently this is mentioned, is that there is incest and the vampires accept it. Gah! There are times when incest is present in a book, and it is handled so that all sides of the issue may be seen–all of the accompanying emotions are delicately handled. Here, the vampires just say that it’s the way it should be and are protective of the siblings. Not much else is said of it, beyond a few teen vampires being grossed out, but it is made clear that their reactions are considered inappropriate by the vampires.
That said, it’s not badly written on a sentence level. It reads naturally, which is probably the only reason I struggled through the cringe-inducing lore. It is essentially Gossip Girl crossed with Vampire Diaries with some incest and Christianity tossed in. If that’s your thing, you will enjoy it. All others should probably pass though.
2.5 out of 5 stars