Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Gossip Girl With Vampires!

Last week while I was reading two lame teen-world meets fantasy books, I kept thinking, Someone really ought to write a rich-teen-girls-gone-wild story with, like, vampires.

And, look! Melissa de la Cruz has!

You know that saying about how the rich are different from the rest of us? Well, in Blue Bloods that's because the ultra-rich old-moneyed families of not just New York but the whole world are vampires.

One of the things I enjoy about contemporary vampire stories is the way authors create their own unique vampire universe. In de la Cruz's vampire universe, vampires were thrown out of Heaven with Lucifer and the rest of the fallen angels. They need human blood to survive, but they don't "prey" on other humans in the traditional vampire way. Killing is a big no-no in their code. And they are seriously into philanthropy. They have been founding museums and raising money for charitable causes for generations, hoping to earn their way back into Heaven.

Blue Bloods is far better than the earlier teen-world meets fantasy books I whined about because

1. de la Cruz actually has a story. Yes, you really do need one.

2. Her characters are defined. Yes, they all sound as if they just walked out of The Gossip Girl, but while I was reading Blue Bloods, I thought that was the point. I thought that was an enjoyable part of the story.

3. The author doesn't have her characters point out things for us. No running commentary here, just story and action.

What I enjoyed about this book was how it played so close to the original Gossip Girl book. At the time I was reading it, I thought that was intentional, that this was a kind of parody of that book and the whole teen chicklit thing. But then I found out that de la Cruz has her own teen chicklit series so now I'm not so sure she was doing a send-up here. That might be too much like biting the hand that feeds her. So maybe I was reading parody into the book because that's what I wanted to see.

But come on! Blue Bloods has a queen beeitch just like The Gossip Girl does. It has the big official party. The over-the-top private party in a private home. The rich kids planning a charity event. The rich underage kids being served drinks in hotel bars. The massive amount of product placement. The detached parents. If I recall The Gossip Girl correctly (and I may not because it wasn't all that memorable) both books even end up in the air.

To me, that read like a winky sendup, and I enjoyed it. If I was wrong, then Blue Bloods is another ode to the rich who are different from you and me. It's a tolerable ode because it includes vampires.

Many people don't care for the rich, but who doesn't love vampires?

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