Melissa De La Cruz
Published 2007 309 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Schuyler Van Alen wants an explanation for the mysterious deaths of young vampires. With her best friend, Oliver, Schuyler travels to Italy in the hope of finding the one man who can help - her grandfather. Meanwhile, back in New York, preparations are feverishly underway for the Four Hundred Ball, an exclusive gala hosted by the city's wealthy, powerful, and unhuman - a true Blue Blood affair.
But it's at the after-party, a masquerade ball thrown by the cunning Mimi Force, that the real danger lurks. Hidden behind the masks is a revelation that will forever change the course of a young vampire's destiny.
Rich with glamour, attitude, and vampire lore, this second instalment in the Blue Bloods saga will leave readers thirsting for more.
Masquerade is the second novel in Melissa De La Cruz’s Blue Bloods series. Written for a Young Adult audience the Blue Bloods books follow the (mostly social) adventures of a group of rich and beautiful teens living a life of privilege in Manhattan. However, its worth noting that although this series is targeted at Young Adult readers there is plenty of cross-over appeal for older adult readers too. In addition to being good-looking and wealthy these teens are also Blue Blood vampires and are in the process of regaining their immortal memories and vampire powers as they approach adulthood.
The Blue Bloods series has a complex and unique vampire mythology, with the Blue Blood vampires actually being fallen angels who have chosen to try to regain their places in Heaven by doing good works on earth. This process takes the span of many human lifetimes and the Blue Bloods are constantly cycled, or reincarnated, regaining their true angelic identities in their teenage years. They have complicated relationships with Red Bloods (humans) who can be protectors, facilitators or sustenance depending on the nature of their relationship with the vampires.
There are also Silver Bloods, like the Blue Bloods they too fell from Heaven, but unlike their remorseful counterparts they never repented and still follow a dark path. They feed on the blood of Blue Blood vampires, rather than humans, but this act corrupts the Blue Blood – or if they lose all their blood to the Silver Blood it means final death, since without their blood and the memories it holds, they can’t reincarnate. An ancient battle scattered the Silver Bloods, but they still lurk in the shadows and prey on unwary teenaged Blue Bloods.
Blue Bloods, the first novel in this series, introduced readers the vampire mythology and the characters, so if you haven’t read Blue Bloods I’d recommend reading that book first before attempting to read Masquerade. Masquerade builds on the foundations of Blue Bloods and extends the storyline and characters further, in particular fleshing out some of the characters who seemed a little one-dimensional in the first book. Mimi, Manhattan’s most popular “it” girl, has an interesting part to play as Schuyler’s arch-enemy. Her character is now better developed so that while she is selfish and incredibly mean (especially for an angel who is supposed to be seeking redemption through goodness) readers can also see the insecurity and desperation behind her actions.
Masquerade, like Blue Bloods, is one long whirl of exotic locations, designer clothes, fabulous parties and decadent living and, while a large part of the story is devoted to vacuous pursuit of popularity through fashion and beauty, it makes for some wonderfully escapist reading. The unravelling memories of the Blue Blood teens, who remember past lives, loves and slights, make plenty of opportunities for drama even before you factor in the whole vampire part of their existence.
As the story progresses Masquerade throws off its party frock and gets down to the real business of the Silver Blood menace, asking who is harbouring the Silver Bloods and what is their purpose in stalking the young Blue Bloods. Like the previous book in this series Masquerade also has a thread of an older mystery running through it. This time it is the unsolved disappearance of a young New York socialite in 1870, which successfully adds to the feeling of hidden intrigues and dark mystery that runs through the story.
Like Dallas and Dynasty, my favourite soap operas of the 80’s, Masquerade is something of a guilty pleasure. I know that I should be reading something more high-brow but this story is just so enjoyable I can’t help myself. Masquerade proves itself to be gripping reading, from its trivial social dramas through to its full-blown relationship dramatics and cliff-hanger climax - making it a strong addition to the Blue Bloods series which will pretty much guarantee to leave readers eagerly awaiting more.
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.