With the cascade of vampire and paranormal romance novels flooding the teen market, it becomes difficult for any novel to stand out. I started to give up on these teen novels because they started to run together for me – everything was about a forbidden romance between a vampire (or other supernatural creature, usually male) and a human. I quickly became bored of them, began lumping teen vampire novels into this category, and made sure to give them a miss when I went to the bookstore.
A friend suggested that I try Melissa De La Cruz’s Blue Bloods series – she described it as a kind of Gossip Girl-style society with vampires, and even though there is romance, it’s different from the flood of vampire romance novels out there since the romance is not the central element of the novel. I finally had the opportunity to pick up The Van Alen Legacy, and was pleasantly surprised.
But reader beware: if you have not read all three previous novels in the Blue Bloods series, then you will be completely lost. Even if you’ve read the other novels and don’t quite remember all of the details, you may be a little lost – the plot of The Van Alen Legacy is fairly dense, tightly knit and assumes that readers are up to speed on all happenings in the Blue Bloods universe. The Van Alen Legacy reads like it’s a continuation of the series rather than much of a stand-alone book, which adds substantially to the overall plot arc and gives the series a strong sense of cohesion.
In The Van Alen Legacy, the reader is immediately thrown into the plot with very little backtracking. Schuyler Van Alen and her conduit Oliver Hazard-Perry are on the run from the New York Coven, after being blamed for the death of Schuyler’s grandfather, Lawrence Van Alen. They end up hiding in Paris to seek protection from the European Coven while trying to discover more about the Van Alen Legacy. Meanwhile, Mimi is back in Rio, trying to find Bliss’ younger sister Jordan while Bliss deals with becoming a Silver Blood and fighting the powerful evil inside herself.
Told through multiple character perspectives, it feels like the Blue Bloods world is beginning to unravel around the characters. Secrets, revelations, unexpected happenings and amazing character development fall into place throughout the novel, leading to a quick-paced read that gets readers involved in the lives of the characters. As the reader continues, it becomes evident that what’s happening in the story is even bigger than he or she could possibly imagine. It’s not just about vampires and romance anymore – it’s about the constant, cut-throat battle between good and evil.
De La Cruz has a magnificent and breezy style that moves quickly and draws readers in. Of all the young adult/teen novels that I have read recently, De La Cruz had the easiest style to get into, so much that it felt like slipping into a comfy bathtub – warm, relaxing, calming yet exciting enough to the keep the reader interested and of course, enjoyable.
This series is perfect for fans of teen paranormal fiction, vampire novels such as Twilight and even fans of Gossip Girl-type novels (following the adventures of beautiful, wealthy teens that live extravagant lives) who wouldn’t mind a supernatural twist.