Friday, September 12, 2014

Double Review: Vampires of Manhattan - Melissa de la Cruz

Vampires of Manhattan
Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Vampires of Manhattan #1
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Young Adult / New Adult
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Word Rating: A-
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I've been following Melisa de la Cruz a bit on and off and so while I've read some of her work, I'm still new. New, and hooked.

(Still, this might be a little more tame of a review than the awe-fest that infected We Live and Breathe Books last week.)

Disclaimer: Vampires of Manhattan is in many, many ways a sequel to the last Blue Bloods book, Gates of Paradise. The same characters appear: Oliver, Finn, Mimi, Edon (if you loved Jack and Sky, they're only in the last scenes, sorry!). If you haven't read any Blue Bloods books, you should at least wiki the summaries; the novel is thick with a mythology that de la Cruz doesn't spend too much time easing you into if you haven't read the past books and references that will fly over a new reader's head. She does do a terrific job, however, of creating (and in most cases re-introducing) a loveable, exciting cast.

This is the main reason Vampires of Manhattan acts as a wonderful re-introduction into the Blue Bloods world. Ten years after Lucifer's alleged death, the coven is thriving with its new Regent, Oliver - yes, OLIVER THE DESPERATELY WEAK AND ADORKABLE HUMAN I'M STILL NOT OVER THIS - who has become incredibly rich, hot, immortal, and ever so subtly a pompous, vaguely misogynistic bag of crap. He's an entirely new character (though some things pierce through the years now and then) and it's quite disconcerting. Thankfully, Cruz balances Oliver's ambitions with Finn, who has (at least, seemingly) not changed much.

Along with Oliver and Finn, there are two other sets of main characters, a young venator Ara teamed with Edom, and Mimi along with Kingsley. Mimi and Kingsly, though utterly predictable, are so hilarious in this novel. They hate each other one second and are having sex the next second. It is one hell of a ride (GET IT HAHA BECAUSE THEY LIVED IN HELL YEAHHHHH. Alright I'm lame I'll stop) and it contrasts the "picture perfect" image of Oliver and Finn that we're given in the beginning.

Totally unrelated is the super badass team of Edon and Ara.

As is obvious, the characters were what sold me. Everything just sprouts out of them, the humor, the wit, the imagery. Even, the plot, an intricate combination of past and present, with revelations and twists strewn in, was quite subtle and secondary. I could really tell the difference between this and the first Blue Bloods; Cruz focuses in on what's important to this particular novel - characters and characterization - and lets it drive everything else. It's neat.

- Marlon

Noor's Review of Vampires of Manhattan
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Enjoyable 

When I first picked up Vampires of Manhattan at BEA, I didn't realize it was the first book in a continuation of a previous series I had not read. I decided to just go for it and read it anyway and see what my experience would be like.

There was definitely a lot of the worldbuilding that I realized had been previously established and wasn't going to be elaborated on in this book and I wasn't sure how many of the characters were recurring and how many were new. However, even though I might not have gotten as many of the references out of the book as someone who read the previous series, I don't think that my reading of the book was negatively affected in that I don't think it was impossible to understand anything that was happening. It wasn't too difficult to pick up on what the background was and kindof just go with it and Melissa de la Cruz did a good job making this book a bridge between the two series'.

Ok, I really loved all the characters and the dynamic they had with each other and how everyone was fleshed out so well. Melissa de la Cruz did a good job making me invested in the fates of all the characters and also made me want to learn more about their backgrounds and lives. They all had their own distinct personalities and ways of speaking and really stood out. I really liked all the points of view that let us explore their lives.

One of the things that stood out to me the most was her writing style. Filled with descriptions and very elegant, this book read very fluidly. I enjoyed reading her writing and it pulled me along just as much as the plot did. The imagery was all very stark and the book had a very intense feel to it, which I really appreciated.

I liked the storyline of the book as well, even though it was fairly simple and straightforward, although I'm assuming that's because it's the first book in a sort of spin-off type series and things are going to get more intense from here.

Overall, I really liked the book, which took me a few pages to get invested in but once I was in, I was hooked.

- Noor

Have you ever read the sequel first?
Let us know in the comments!

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