January 17, 2013

Review: Gates of Paradise

Gates of Paradise Book Nine of the Blue Bloods series
By Melissa de la Cruz
Available now from Hyperion (Disney)
Review copy
Read my reviews of THE VAN ALEN LEGACY and WOLF PACT
Read my interview with Melissa and her guest blog

The Blue Bloods series had a strong premise and a great beginning, but it foundered for awhile.  The series always followed several narrators in each novel, but there were always some plotlines that didn't have the urgency or sizzle of the others.  Even in GATES OF PARADISE, Schuyler Van Alen goes on a side adventure that involves hanging out at a college party.  I mean, it's not like she should be worried about leading the charge against Lucifer and preventing him from invading Heaven or anything.

That being said, I think GATES OF PARADISE was a fitting end to the series and lived up to the promise of BLUE BLOODS.  It finishes answering the questions of Allegra's past (a plotline began in LOST IN TIME, Book 8) and reveals just what happened in Florence.  Mimi Force completes her redemption, and not a moment too soon.  I have longed to never read a point of view from the self-absorbed, bratty Mimi ever again, but she managed to change enough that I no longer wished an unhappy end upon her and was a little afraid that might happen.  And I do recommend that you read the serial WOLF PACT before GATES OF PARADISE because otherwise you'll have no clue what's up with Bliss or who those people with her are.

(But if you haven't read the series in awhile and are curious as to how it ends, you can probably pick up GATES OF PARADISE and figure out what happened in the mean time.  And no, not all of the books in the series are essential reading.)

The final battle does involve a touch of deus ex machina, but I can be more forgiving about that in a series that revolves around fallen angels who are vampires.  It's still an exciting scene that tugs on the heartstrings.  Melissa de la Cruz is determined to make her characters work for their happiness, which is only fitting.  Redemption is hard.

I can't help but feel that the Blue Bloods series might have worked better as an adult series.  It's come a long way from it's Gossip-Girl-with-vampires origins.  Given how many characters get married (or the metaphysical equivalent thereof) and all the past lives giving them knowledge and experience, it hardly feels like Schuyler or her compatriots are actualfax teenagers.  But I can't complain too much.  The series as is is pretty good.  Cruz's mythology is complex and involved and her plot is a delicate, crazy house of cards that somehow managed to hold together.

There are series I've been much sadder to part with.  But I'm happy these characters went out with a fitting end.  Schuyler, Jack Force, Bliss, Oliver Hazard-Perry, Kingsley Martin, Mimi . . . they're a group of teens who started out spoiled New Yorkers and ended up fighting the Biggest Bad of all.  It was quite a ride, and the highs were definitely worth it.


  1. I think I need to try this series again, and connect with the characters.
    Great review.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

    1. Glad I could bring the series back to your attention!


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