Sunday, May 8, 2011

Can a Mask Hide a Vampire?

Masquerade (Blue Bloods, Book 2)
When we last left the Blue Bloods in Melissa De la Cruz's first book, the Blue Blood teens had determined that Silver Bloods (vampires who feed on other vampires for super power) were behind the recent rash of deaths. Unfortunately, they couldn't get anyone to listen to them. When Schuyler Van Allen's grandmother is attacked by a Silver Blood and almost destroyed completely (if you save enough blood the soul can reincarnate), she tells Schuyler to go to Venice and find her exiled grandfather. He was the only one who could help them.

Masquerade starts with Schuyler, new Blue Blood/ half blood, in Venice with her best friend and human Conduit, Oliver, (vampires use Conduits to help them in the human world) trying to find Lawrence Van Allen, Schuyler's grandfather. Just when they think they have failed, they locate him and warn him of the Silver Blood threat. Lawrence tells them he won't come back to New York, so Schuyler and Oliver return disappointed.

When they get back, though, they find the other Blue Bloods getting ready for the big 400 Ball- where all 400 Blue Bloods gather each year to induct the newest members. With preparations in full swing, Schuyler is still trying to get to the bottom of the Silver Bloods when her grandfather returns. He plans to help both his family and the rest of the Blue Bloods stay safe against these abominations. Unfortunately, something keeps happening to Schuyler's friend Bliss- she starts to black out and wake up in strange places, and her dreams have become monster filled nightmares. Even Schuyler can't seem to take to the vampire transition as she starts to get weak and pass out often. When her grandfather tells her to take a human familiar (someone the Blue Bloods feed off of, but never kill), she decides to use Oliver, further complicating their relationship.

When the 400 Ball kicks off, Schuyler shows up in her mother's gown, setting the guests at the party into an tizzy as she blows away even the most high-powered Mimi Force. When Mimi and her twin brother Jack are recognized as bonded angels, the Angel of Death and the Angel of Destruction, Schuyler learns they are a reincarnated pair that comes together every cycle out of love and devotion (although being born as siblings in this cycle complicates things in the human world). Now Schuyler's crush on Jack seems futile, but Jack hasn't stopped noticing Schuyler, much to Mimi's horror. When Mimi decides to protect her eternal love and bond, she decides to unleash an evil that will rock the Blue Bloods like nothing ever has before.

I read the first book of this series many months ago, and I got distracted by other books before reading the rest of the series. When I got an advanced copy of De la Cruz's new book (adult fiction) I started to read it and realized there are connections to the Blue Blood's series. So I decided to delve back into the series so I didn't miss anything in the new book. I always worry about waiting too long for a sequel, because with as many books as I read, I tend to forget much of the book. Sometimes an author does a good job of briefly catching you up on the story, but sometimes they write a sequel as if no time has passed since the end of the last book. De la Cruz was part of the former- choosing not to leave her readers grasping to remember what had already happened. It was done briefly and well detailed so someone reading the series straight through wouldn't feel it was too repetitive. I definitely appreciated her efforts with this.

The book itself was fun and exciting. The series is a bit younger than some other YA out there, and would be good for most middle school through high school students. The language and subject matter are fairly tame. The only weird thing I had trouble digesting was that Mimi and jack, who are born as brother and sister in this cycle, will be bonded and essentially made husband and wife. It is explained well in the book, and I understood it, but the pair seems unnecessarily complicated. The bonded pair could have easily been two unrelated people. I guess I am just having trouble getting over the ick factor with this relationship! Maybe more will come out in the later novels in the series. All in all, this was a great follow-up and I am already knees deep in book #3!

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