After I finished Blue Bloods, I wrote what is perhaps my most confusing review ever – I loved it, but it was crap. It was written appallingly, but I adored it. Etcetera. Masquerade, however, has seen a slight improvement. Not in my love for it (because I genuinely don’t think that could go any deeper), but for how much less guilty I feel for liking it. It’s just… better, somehow.
Plot summary: Preparations are under way for the ball of the century. But as any true Blue Blood knows, it’s the after-party that counts. And the cunning Mimi Force is getting ready to make sure her masquerade ball is the place to be for the young, fabulous and fanged.
But Schuyler Van Alen has more on her mind than fancy dresses, even if her crush Jack Force, is sure to make an appearance. She’s getting closer to finding out what’s been preying on the young vamps – and discovering the deadly secrets hiding under the masks. . .
Just to recap, the first installment in this book wasn’t exactly written well. The dialogue was clunky, it cut off the narrative to tell you precisely what every character was wearing and it was generally written with a sledgehammer. But I just Did Not Care. I loved that book with every fibre of my being because the glamorous atmosphere and unique storyline more than made up for any flaws in the prose.
However, Masquerade is much more refined. I don’t know if it had a different editor to the other or if Melissa de la Cruz just learned from her mistakes, but it is much, much better. It still doesn’t cross the line into ‘good’ territory, especially regarding the dialogue, but I actually did notice a marked difference. When I read the series for the first time a few years ago, I don’t remember noticing any problems with the writing at all, so perhaps it really does improve as the series progresses.
So now we’ve established what isn’t wrong with the book (what a weird way to start a review…), let’s move onto what’s right with the book. Did I mention the story is amazing? Masquerade introduces a whole new layer to it, something that I normally wouldn’t like (this is becoming a recurring theme), but that is interwoven so cleverly with the plot that it’s just wonderful. We’re learning more and more about the characters’ pasts and everything that is revealed just… makes sense, somehow.
It’s a lot more domestic than Blue Bloods, at least until near the end. There’s more focus on Schuyler growing into her powers than fighting the Croatan. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though – the first was more exciting, but this is written better. It’s a decent trade-off.
Speaking of powers though… what’s with the Instant Super Vamp thing? It annoyed me in Breaking Dawn and it annoys me here. Vampires are really weak when they’re first turned/ vampires are weaker than they used to be… except for YOU, YOU’RE SPECIAL FOR NO REASON. Gah. Also, apparently they’re models now. Obviously. I know this is a teenage vampire series, but come on.
I think the Blue Bloods series work so well because the story actually develops in every books. Take the Morganville books, for example. They’re great and I love them a lot, but you finish them feeling as though not a whole lot has changed, despite the 340 pages of huge font. Not here though, every book is entirely worth the effort and takes the story and the characters forward significantly. I’ve already run out and bought the ones I didn’t own. Did I mention I love this series?