Review by Frank Plowright
Melissa de la Cruz is an extremely prolific writer with over twenty novels for teenagers spread over five series published since 2004. The earliest of them, and the longest running series with eight instalments to date, is Blue Bloods, and it’s the first of those novels that’s been adapted by Robert Venditti and illustrated by Alina Urusov.
Blue Bloods taps into the early 21st century explosion in fascination with all things vampiric, but credit to de la Cruz for ensuring she’s not just recycling familiar material. Blue Bloods posits the arrival of vampires in North America with the 17th century English settlers, since when their immortality has permitted infiltration into the highest echelons of society. These vampires aren’t the familiar garlic-fearing bloodsuckers, but come with an equally impressive array of abilities, including being able to slip into past lives.
The plot is propelled via Schuyler Van Alen, whose family’s secret past cloaks tragedy. The family finances have seen better days, and she’s well down the social pecking order. Shortly after a classmate dies in mysterious circumstances she starts to develop pronounced blue veins, and the previously aloof elite of the school begin to display an interest in her.
With its background of privileged education, inexplicable occurrences and gleefully horrific incidents inflicted on its teenage cast, there are parallels to be drawn with Morning Glories, but de la Cruz was there first. Venditti’s adaptation is a page-turner, and can there have been a better choice than Urusov to present a world of high society glamour? Probably not. She brings a polished credibility to all her scenes, and the entire cast is impossibly attractive. What better way to illustrate those considering themselves society’s elite.
As only the single graphic novel adaptation has seen print, it would appear this wasn’t successful enough to warrant continuing the series in this format. Don’t let that put you off sampling a very good opener.