I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Vampires of Manhattan by Melissa de la Cruz
Series: The New Blue Bloods Coven #1
Published: 2014 by Hachette
Genres: Fantasy, Horror/Gothic, New Adult
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
View on Goodreads
Vampires of Manhattan is the first book in a new adult series that’s set ten years after the conclusion Melissa de la Cruz’s young adult Blue Bloods series. I love the idea of having books that can grow with you. In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about the Harry Potter series–the books become more complex and thoughtful as the readers themselves age, so they grow into the themes that emerge in the later books. Having a series for grown-ups set in the world that they enjoyed visiting as teenagers is really cool.
The story is set in New York City, and as you can guess, the protagonists are vampires. Melissa de la Cruz creates a world where vampire lore mixes with angels and demons. Humans have gotten a lot wrong about vampires (including the contagion of a vampire’s bite) because the vampires deliberately misinform them to steer them away from the truth. However, some tropes remain present, such as the fact that vampires are all filthy rich socialites. This is where the marketing surrounding the book could have been better, because the book is presented as having “hipster vampires”, which isn’t at all the case. Maybe if the book were Vampires of Brooklyn rather than Vampires of Manhattan. These are not the type of vampires who drink $3 PBR cans at shady bars while claiming to do so ironically. They’re just rich New Yorkers.
Marketing fails aside, the story itself was engaging. Rather than having one main protagonist, the story focuses on five or six different characters, and we rotate between their points of view. It reminded me a bit of a show like CSI or NCIS, and I’m wondering if perhaps the author planned it that way because some of her other books have been adapted for television. The jist of the story is that the vampire coven is going to have the Four Hundred Year ball, and it’s going to be in celebration of Lucifer’s defeat and the new hope and stability that the coven has created. But then a body turns up and mysterious pentagrams start appearing throughout the city. It’s quickly revealed to readers that the person responsible is someone within the coven, and now the vampires must find out who before all hell breaks loose.
The complexity of the characters in the novel made me happy. Almost all of the characters made decisions that I disagreed with, but you could understand where they were coming from in a very sympathetic way. For example, there’s Mimi, who’s married to the lord of the underworld, but she doesn’t want to live in Hell, even if it has a nice garden. Mimi misses living in New York but doesn’t really communicate her needs to her husband, and ends up walking out on him instead. I found Mimi to be manipulative and immature, because rather than talking to her husband, she played mind games with him to try to get him to apologize. At the same time, I could understand why she was so frustrated in the first place and wished that she could have come up with a better solution.
Even though the characters are supposed to be Millennials, Vampires of Manhattan avoids stereotyping what stage of their lives each of the characters are at. There are characters who are married and having relationship issues, and there are also characters who are career-driven independents who aren’t ready for that yet. It serves as a reminder that everybody’s different and that within any generation, each individual has to find his or her own path.
Overall, a fun Halloween read.