Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book #49: The Van Alen Legacy

Title: The Van Alen Legacy (book #4 in the Blue Bloods series)

Author: Melissa de la Cruz

Date started reading: April 03, 2012
Date finished reading: April 04, 2012

Publish date: October 2009
ISBN: 978-1423102267
Number of pages: 384

Official summary: "With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss’s true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry; love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Schuyler has made her choice. She has forsaken Jack for Oliver, choosing human over vampire. But old loves die hard... And even coldhearted Mimi seems to suffer from the ties that bind." (http://melissa-delacruz.com)

Official book trailer:

How I obtained the book: Bought for $3.99 at thrift store

My totally spoilerific commentary:
  • This series has turned out totally different than I expected... in an amazingly good way. I expected just a teen vampire romance. Even though there are relationships in the series, they take a backseat most of the time to the big storylines, which all are society-based. The main focus is on the society of vampires, not on the vampires themselves.
  • The way the society works somewhat makes me sad sometimes because basically no one has real parents. Spirits are born into bodies for a lifetime (or "cycle"), and even though it appears like a family to the humans, the vampires' "parents" aren't really their parents. The "parents" are just adults to usher the spirits into the world in their new body. So basically most of the vampires grow up without having good parents of any sort. They don't grow up getting showered with love and attention. It sounds like a really lonely way to start out a lifetime.
  • I really respect the author for her treatment of sex in the series. Schuyler and Oliver go on the run for a year, but it is specified that they haven't had sex and are waiting until the time is right (which never ends up happening). Even though it is implied that Mimi has sex, it never goes in detail about it. It doesn't glorify teens having sex. Thank God. 
  • Normally when I read a book (or series), watch a TV show or movie, etc., I get really wrapped up in one or two characters. It always happens. This time it hasn't happened. I'm sort of shocked that I haven't imprinted myself on a single character, but it doesn't seem as weird as I would've thought it would be. The three girls -- Schuyler, Bliss, and Mimi -- are all focused on fairly equally. I like all three, in different ways.

    Mimi: She was once the Angel of Death, so she has darkness in her. At first she seems like just a shallow spoiled brat, an heiress, a mean girl who tortures the less pretty/less rich girls at the school. With this book, though, you start to see that she is capable of having feelings and compassion, like when she helps out a bunch of homeless/hungry children. She's deep, and even though she could feed into the darkness inside her, she still has chosen the side of goodness. She's destined to be with Jack (who in this lifetime was born as her brother, even though he's not really her brother), but she falls in love with Kingsley. She starts to go through with her wedding (or "bonding" ceremony) to Jack, but then at the last minute decides to run off with Kingsley (which didn't end up happening due to chaos). She gets furious and vows revenge on Jack and Schuyler when he decides to turn his back on the bond and run off with Schuyler. It all seems a little petty because she was going to foresake the bond herself. She only decides to get bonded to Jack because Kingsley is gone. She doesn't really have a right to be mad, but I guess it's understandable in the end.

    Schuyler: She was never supposed to exist. Her father is human, and her mother is one of the vampires (one of the "uncorrupted angels"). You feel bad for her because her mother has been in a coma for most of her life and her dad died when she was a baby. Then her grandmother dies. She gets accused of killing her grandfather, and she goes on the run with Oliver, a human/her conduit and best friend for most of her life. She loves him, but she still aches for Jack. She can't really choose between the two of them. In the end, Oliver steps aside and lets her be with Jack.

    Bliss: She starts out seeming like such an innocent girl. She's fairly naive in relation to the world. Suddenly she discovers that the spirit of Lucifer is living in her body. She also finds out that her spirit was created when Schuyler's mother had an affair with Lucifer, so she has a half sister. In all her past lives, the girl she was could never fight Lucifer off and they all went crazy. She ends up figuring out how to banish him from her body at the end of this book, which leaves her as a human, not a vampire. I can't imagine how hard it would be to go from being a vampire to being a human. I'm sure it would be even harder than going from human to vampire in the beginning. You'd think I'd relate most to Bliss because she thinks she's going to crazy when Lucifer starts showing up, and in the past lives, doctors thought she had multiple personalities or was schizophrenic. I do love her character due to that, but it doesn't make me love her any more than Mimi or Schuyler.

Memorable quotes:
  • "(Bliss) was a stranger in her own life, a tourist in her own body. If someone had asked her what it was like, Bliss would have explained it this way: it's like you're driving a car, but you're sitting in the backseat. The car is driving itself, and you're not in control. But it's your car, at least you think it is. It used to be yours, anyway. Or like being in a movie. The movie is your life, but you don't star in it anymore. ... She was not Bliss anymore, but simply the memory of the Bliss that had been. Sometimes she wasn't even sure that she had ever really existed."
  • "Stepping into someone's subconscious is like discovering a new planet. Everyone's internal world is different and unique. Some are cluttered, stuffed with dark and kinky secrets pushed to the edge of their minds, like racy underwear and handcuffs shoved in the back of a closet. Some are as pristine and clear as a meadow: all hopping bunnies and falling snowflakes." ~ Mimi
  • "When you had lived for thousands of years, going through your memories was like trying to find a contact lens in a pile of broken glass. The past wasn't filed away in a neat tree of folders on a computer screen, marked accordingly with dates and labels for easy access. Instead, the past was a jumble of images and emotions, of knowledge that you did not understand and information you did not remember possessing." ~ Mimi
  • "Memories were tricky things, Mimi thought. ... They weren't stable. They changed with perception over time. ... Memories were moving pictures in which meaning was constantly in flux."
  • "(The Visitor) was like a carjacker, Bliss thought, waving a shotgun and rudely shoving her to the backseat of her mind."
  • "To the Red Bloods (Dylan) was just some troublemaker; to the vampires, collateral damage. No one cared or remembered him." ~ Bliss
  • "Having vampire sight was like watching a show on DVR: you could rewind to exactly the same place and remember everything -- every detail in the room, every nuance, every expression on anyone's face, every word that was utter." ~ Schuyler
  • "Part of me is here -- with you -- and another part is ... somewhere else. I don't know, but I know I am not complete. I'm like ... like a ... template ... you know, like a virtual personality trapped in a computer." ~ Dylan's "spirit" to Bliss
  • "Frightened people make the worst judgments." ~ Schuyler
  • "(Schuyler) loved her mother, she did. But she didn't want an angel who only appeared once in a lifetime to give her some enchanted sword. Schuyler wanted a real parent: one who was there for her when she cried, who encouraged and prodded and annoyed her -- a little bit -- only because they cared so much. She wanted someone ordinary." 
  •  "So far, Bliss's adolescence had, to put it frankly and literally, sucked. She'd moved to a new city, discovered she was a vampire, fallen in love and lost her love, all in one crazy year. And now she'd spent the last year possessed by a demon, who, by the way, was also her father -- however that worked, she had no idea." 
  • "Homesickness isn't just a state of mind." ~ Dr. Pat to Schuyler
  • "For a person -- vampire or human -- to succeed in the world, unlocking the mysteries of the universe was insufficient. One would also need to grasp the mysteries of human nature." ~ Schuyler reflecting on what Lawrence had once told her
  • "So this was how a love affair ends: with a random meeting on a public staircase." ~ Schuyler about her and Jack
  • "The world in your mind is as real as the world outside of it." ~ Lucifer to Bliss
  • "Maybe weakness is a strength of a kind." ~ Kingsley to Mimi

Buy on Amazon.com: The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods, Book 4)

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