Content Note: racism
Schuyler Van Alen comes from an old family that traces back to the Mayflower. But they have since fallen on hard times and their wealth is pretty much gone. But Schuyler can still attend the Duchesne school, the most prestigious school in New York where she feels thoroughly out of place. Fortunately she has her best friends Oliver and Dylan to brave the school together. But her life gets thoroughly shaken up, when a classmate turns up and Schuyler learns that she is actually a Blue Blood: a vampire – as is the most popular girl in school, Mimi Force and her gorgeous brother Jack. But even though Blue Bloods are supposed to be indestructible, somebody is hunting them.
Blue Bloods is basically Gossip Girl with vampires and if that sounds like your kind of thing, go for it (my niece jumped at the chance). But be prepared that it is also, unfortunately, pretty badly written and racist. I won’t be continuing with the series after this first installment.
It is basically impossible, I think, to write a book about how the descendants of the Mayflower colonialists are quite literally superhuman and not come across as racist, but it becomes even more disturbing when the lost colony of Roanoake starts to play a huge part – and Croatoan – in reality a native tribe – turns out to be the biggest threat. (This becomes even more dated now that it was just discovered what happened at Roanoake: the colony went off with the Croatoans and assimilated.) All of that is ill-advised, to put it mildly.
Also pretty offensive, although in an entirely different way, is the writing: the characters are flat cardboard pieces. Schuyler is the epitome of “I’m not like the other girls”, but of course, she’s also so pretty that she gets immediately hired as a model (part of being a vampire is just being very beautiful) – and of course she does it, because she sees no reason why she shouldn’t. Uhm, there are so many? Exploitation and not wanting to coming to mind pretty immediately. The fact that a well-paid job may mean a lot to her is never mentioned though.
I guess, she and Jack are supposed to be an epic lovestory, but I can only say that because that’s how the story positions them that way, and not because they actually have any chemistry or really any meaningful interaction. In fact, that was my problem with almost all of the characters and their relationships: they were all positioned in a familiar way, but none of the relationships feel actually real, because none of the characters feel actually real. So, when the plot demands some change in their behavior towards each other, it’s not developed, it just happens. That makes the entire novel feel completely frayed, the plot jumping from point to point instead of walking. (Plus, the entire reveal about Oliver was absolutely disconcerting and I don’t understand how Schuyler could remain so cool.)
Maybe most problematic of all, the book is propaganda for the rich: they are great, supernatural, superhuman, beautiful, nice, charitable and they deserve it all. There’s not an ounce of criticism about social injustice here – even Schuyler’s poverty is turned into a fashion statement that she outweighs with her inborn aristocracy. That’s not the kind of world I want to live in.