Proving that the vampire craze is far from over, comes another series targeted at the most fickle-minded of the lot: teenagers.
Set in Manhattan, this Gossip Girl meets Twilight creates a whole new perspective in the vampiric lore: instead of being creatures created by malevolent demons or spirits, vampires are the earthly forms assumed by the fallen angels. And by fallen, this means literally the angels who sided with Lucifer in the last heavenly war, who are in the process of regaining their angelic wings with the help of archangels Michael and Gabriel (called the Pure of Heart and Uncorrupted, respectively, since they went down to earth voluntarily to help their fellow angels).
Main protagonist Schuyler Van Alen is lovable in that she is both the underdog – being a new soul – the product of a union between Allegra (Gabriel) and a mortal man, her conduit or human companion, and the heroine – her humanity magnifies her vampiric powers. She is not helpless or a ditz, nor is she an ugly duckling. Her character is well defined and she doesn’t elicit sympathetic notions. Which is fine by me – I really don’t like the protagonists being portrayed as helpless airheads.
And of course, the requisite love triangle is ever present, with Jack (Abbadon) and Oliver (Schuyler’s best friend and as it turned out, conduit) fighting for her attention. Now, I also appreciate how dela Cruz has managed to evoke competition between the two without their rivalry being bitter – there are no violence, fist fights, or unnatural tension. And it’s played out well without being central to the story.
The story would not be complete of course, without an antagonist – and in my opinion, Mimi Force (Azrael), Jack’s twin/mate, is deliciously perfect. She’s someone you’d love to hate but love just the same, once you get past her mean and cold persona.
The other characters are well-thought of as well, with supporting roles that give the story the needed arcs where the main characters’ storylines will not suffice, yet not too much focused that their own subplots convolutes the story.
Now, given this, if you’re more on the Goth-side of the vampire fan circuit, then this series isn’t for you. It has very little bloodsucking, even for my taste; in fact, blood is hardly mentioned in the books that author Melissa dela Cruz has to write the word “vampire” every few page or so to remind you what it’s about. It actually has more to do with the world of the rich and famous, with fashion, and teen angst. The characters’ being vampires appear to be just incidentals of the story.
While the story isn’t a big literary gem (I still hold that top spot for Anne Rice), I have to give credit to dela Cruz for a well-thought of background, good character development, wit, and for overall sustaining my interest throughout the four books (so far). In fact, I finished one book per sitting – it was that addicting! And like most fans out there, I can’t wait for book 5 and the companion book, Keys to the Repository, which are due June and October this year. 🙂
PS: Author Melissa dela Cruz is a Pinoy. Isn’t that single reason enough for you to read? 😛