Melissa De La Cruz
Published 2011 147 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
They're young, fabulous and fanged... Vampires have powers beyond human comprehension: strength that defies logic, speed that cannot be captured on film, the ability to shapeshift and more. But all too often the only thing that eludes their grasp is love.
So when two young lovers are kept a part by a centuries old decree, they'll be forced to learn that, in matters of the heart, not even immortals have total control... or do they?
Bloody Valentine is a companion novella to the YA Blue Bloods series. Actually by my definition of the word “novella” (which I believe means “short novel”) Bloody Valentine doesn’t qualify. It’s actually three original short stories and no where near the content length of a “short novel”. If you thumb through a physical copy of the book don’t be fooled by the number of pages – a quarter of the pages are actually a lengthy excerpt from Misguided Angel, book five in the Blue Bloods series.
The first story, Just Another Night In Suck City, features Oliver alone in New York trying to come to terms with the loss of Schuyler from his life. He’s bonded to her and needs her to be around but she’s now away in Europe with Jack. Oliver finds a source of comfort in the most unlikely of places – with a bewitching bartender from The Holiday Cocktail lounge in the East Village. My main gripe with this story is that it’s highly convenient and feels like it’s been contrived to promote Melissa De La Cruz’s new book, Witches Of East End.
The second story, Always Something There To Remind Me, is set in 1985 and tells how Schuyler’s mother, Allegra, first met her father. Allegra is young and rebellious and during the story she questions her centuries old bond with Charles – her twin brother and cycle bond mate. Established Blue Blood fans know how Allegra and Charles’s relationship eventually ends – so while this story makes an interesting interlude there aren’t really any new revelations here.
The third story, Ring of Fire, features Jack and Schuyler in current day Florence. At 58 pages this story is the longest of the bunch but that isn’t saying much because the type is set in a large point-size and widely spaced – not to mention interspersed with a few illustrations in the final few pages. The story is about Jack and Schuyler’s bonding ceremony – there’s a bit of action in the form of a Venator attack the day before the wedding but no problems are encountered that can’t be wrapped up in a convenient manner within a couple of pages. For the most part this story feels like it should have been the final couple of chapters of Misguided Angel – the previous full-length novel in the series.
By themselves there is nothing offensive about these three short stories. There are all new, never before published, snapshots of Blue Blood life. The first two are interesting and work well enough as self-contained short stories. The subject of the longer, final story is something that most Blue Bloods fans would really want to know about: Jack and Schuyler’s bonding day. And that’s the crux of the problem with the Bloody Valentine “novella” – it is just so cynically exploitative of its fans.
Let’s look at the facts. Earlier Blue Bloods novels were in the 300 to 370 page range. A fair word count for a YA novel. Misguided Angel was a scanty 265 pages – over 100 pages less than the previous book. After that we had The Keys To The Repository a series guide that was a rehash of what readers already knew about the series and provided very little new information. Its “original short stories” were actually deleted scenes from previous books or excerpts from forthcoming novels – so it was hardly worth the cover price. Now we have Bloody Valentine – a novella that isn’t actually a novella but three short stories – of which Ring of Fire feels like it’s part of the missing page count of Misguided Angel. This feels exploitive since these books all have the price tag of full-length novels. It feels cynical because both author and publisher know that this series is highly popular and its addicted fans just can’t get enough – so sales are pretty much guaranteed whatever price tag they put on increasingly scanty content. However, just because you can fleece your fans doesn’t mean that you should.
The stories are enjoyable enough and if you are a Blue Bloods fan you are going to want to read them – but I think this is a book best borrowed from the library. I’ve rated Bloody Valentine down a whole point for being poor value for money. Apart from that it’s quite good…
LoveVampires Review Rating:
Melissa De La Cruz talks to LoveVampires about the Blue Bloods books and gives readers a hint of her future plans for the series. Read Melissa’s interview.
You can find out more about the Blue Bloods series and the other works of Melissa De La Cruz at the author’s website. Visit Melissa’s site.