Blue Bloods: the second Act

Misguided Angel (US)#5 – Misguided Angel

The fifth book of the Blue Bloods series is divided into three parts and each focuses on one vampire: Schuyler with her Van Alen legacy (and Jack), Mimi as the Regent of the crumbling New York Coven, Deming Chen, a Venator from Shanghai.

On their quest to find the Gate of Promise and the gatekeeper, Catherine of Siena, Sky and Jack discover a big secret that has been hidden from the vampires for centuries.

Mimi’s heart is broken, and she’s bent on getting her revenge on her twin. But she is also shouldering the title of Regent and the future of her Coven. When a teenage vampire named Victoria disappears, and a video of her tied up shows up in the internet with a warning that in seven days she will burn to death, Mimi knows something is very wrong.

Thus she enlists the help of the Chinese Venator, Deming Chen, a powerful and successful vampire. Deming disguises herself as a Duchesne student and tries to untangle the web surrounding Victoria’s abduction. Yet what she encounters on the way, she could never have imagined…

With Misguided Angel (actually started at the end of The Van Alen Legacy), the problems gets bigger – on an international scale that transcends the time. We also see glimpses of what happened in Florence in 15th century, starring Gabrielle, Michael, Venators and Silver Bloods, a story that continues in Gates of Paradise.

Misguided Angel feels a bit like the first book, Blue Bloods, because it has quite a few red herrings and is laying groundwork for the next two books and the Great Finale.

Lost in Time#6 – Lost in Time

This time the three girls we are following are Schuyler in Alexandria, Mimi in Hell and Allegra before she fell in coma.

The problem with Nephilim has gotten out of control, and many vampire Covens are seriously debating about going underground again.  Meanwhile, Sky and Jack have settled in Alexandria to find the real Gate of Promise but so far has come up with nothing but pleasant time in each other’s company. Mimi has traveled to Hell with her newly appointed Conduit, Oliver Hazard-Perry, to find and save Kingsley. But it is not easy to get out of Hell, much more difficult than getting in… The flashbacks of Allegra and her familiar, Stephen Bendix Chase, show us the conflicted young woman who has forsaken everything she has known to be with the man she loves. And Gabrielle knows that something has happened in Florence, but she cannot remember… and her twin says nothing is wrong. Is he lying? Michael, the Uncorrupted and Pure of Heart? But why would he be?

I was actually a bit disappointed in Lost in Time. The story went on endlessly even though Melissa de la Cruz could have cut it in half. I’m talking about Mimi and Olli’s descent into Hell, here. Other parts – Sky’s struggle and Allegra’s history – were well measured out, more or less. I was especially excited to read about Allegra Van Alen. I have had my doubts about the existence of Stephen Chase but Lost in Time unravels this mystery. It also tells us something about the relationship between Gabrielle and Michael, and what could have happened in Florence…
I was also expecting more from Schuyler. She is prophesied to bring salvation to the vampires, but she rather cringes away from battle. And all this talk about the Seven Paths of the Dead… we only get to see only three of them. (Gate of Vengeance, in Revelations; Gate of Time, in The Van Alen Legacy; Gate of Promise, in Lost in Time)

Gates of Paradise# 7Gates of Paradise – the Finale!

Bliss is back! Her story with the wolves is told in a separate volume, Wolf Pact, which I haven’t read and don’t plan on doing because we can understand the vampire story just fine even without having read it. So, human Bliss has found Lawson’s pact and is now part of it, and they are trying to find a way to release the Hellhounds.

Azrael and Abbadon have returned to Lucifer and are doing now his bidding. They have gone to him in order to break their bond so they can be with their respective love, but what to do when he orders them to kill Schuyler and Kingsley?
This part is told from Azrael’s point of view only, and I welcomed her back with arms wide open. She is cunning and has a good heart. She’s also a great actress. I didn’t like how the Chen-Lennoxes treated her but since they had to believe Mimi has turned to dark once more in order for Mimi’s plan to work, what can I do?

Schuyler… I’m not sure what she was doing all the time. She meets a bunch of vampires and try to figure out how to use the Key of Twins. Try being the operative word. In order to find that out, she also jets off to California (she, Ollie and Kingsley have been living in London) to find her paternal grandmother. To sum it up, she meets a great deal of people, does a lot of irrelevant things (as it turns out) and has the biggest role to play in the end.

Tomasia’s story from the 15th century Florence continues in this final volume, and what has happened in Rome is also – finally! – revealed, along with Michael’s choice at that intersection.

The first three-fourth of the book was like, where is this going? And the last one-fourth was like oh shit, oh man, oh noooooooo! Wow. The last 80 pages or so? Epic. All those pages before that? In retrospect, I can chalk them up as build-up for the grand finis. At the time of actual reading, they were just annoying.
Some of the Big Revelations don’t make any sense, at least to me. (Could someone tell me how Finn’s sister can have two dads?) As for the very last chapter, titled “Regent and Conduit”… Color me surprised.  That was the wish the person has had since childhood? Seriously?! *shakes head in disbelief*

One last word – on this series being the first “cycle” of Blue Bloods series. I have no idea how Melissa de la Cruz wants to continue a series that she has wrapped up like this. But I can tell you that I’m not going to read it, because it’s too exhausting to wait a year after a year for the next book to come out when I have probably forgotten the contents of the book before. Also because I like the ending the way it is, and whoever the new characters are going to be, I’m not interested.

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Intermission: The Van Alen Legacy

The Van Alen Legacy #4 – The Van Alen Legacy

For me, the fourth book in the Blue Bloods series is an intermission of sorts because it is an in-between book, not just number-wise but also because there are many loose threads carried over from the last book: We know the truth about Lucifer now, but what will happen to Bliss? What is Schuyler doing? How will the Conclave, who is not even fully convinced of what has happened, carry on after the massacre in Rio? What about Forsyth?
So many questions, ready to be answered in The Van Alen Legacy. Alas, not right away. We have to endure chapters of excessive descriptions – of the Bal des Vampires, the Hampton house and whatnot. We learn that Sky and Oliver are on the run from the New York Conclave, that Sky has been falsely accused. We also learn that more than a year has passed since the events of Revelations. That’s too stretching, in my opinion. Seriously, couldn’t half a year have  sufficed?
Anyway, we learn that Mimi is now on Kingsley’s Venator team and that Bliss is still being plagued by The Visitor and worse. From that point on (and 80-something pages later) the story starts to unfold, and then it’s action and heartbreak all the way.

In The Van Alen Legacy, all three girls – Bliss, Mimi and Schuyler – show an inner strength that was slumbering inside them. Their motivations vary – which are defeating The Visitor, not really known, and staying alive, respectively.
As I’ve mentioned in another post, this fourth volume marks my growing fondness for Mimi. She’s still Azrael, Angel of Death, who can be ruthless, quick to strike and haughty. Yet she also has a compassionate, intelligent side of her that tries to right the wrong.
Also, Sky and Jack’s affections for each other takes a level of maturity that surpasses the physical attraction that was predominant in Revelations. On the other hand, Schuyler and Oliver form a tight bond that goes beyond a vampire-Conduit or even vampire-Familiar relationship. Almost gone is Oliver’s angst that has annoyed me so much in the previous book.

And the end… it is too heartbreaking to speak of it. I mean, Melissa de la Cruz establishes this Code, and then she all but slashes it in two. And while we know it is wrong to do so, we root for it… this is all so messed up.

Hello, Gray

Perfect weather – the greens are sprouting (how have I not noticed that?), but it is gray and stormy outside. It is not dark yet – we still have a good three-quarter hour until darkness (Okay, I checked and the sun sets at 20:25 today. But it gets dark before that.). It is mostly calm now, but warm-but-not-sticky wind was sweeping leaves off the ground and it thundered and cracked. My kind of weather.

What do you want to learn?

If you could invent and attend any sort of classes that have great teachers and motivating students in them, what would your choices be?

Here are mine:

  • World History (세계사) – History classes can be very dull, but also insanely fascinating. The challenge about World History is that there are so many topics to cover that I wouldn’t know where to start. However, I do have those wonderful five-book series about world history at home in Korea. I’ll have to brush the dust off the books as soon as I land in Incheon.
    Personally I never had a WH class at school. Sure, we learned about the Egyptians in grade 6, European Middle Ages in grade 7 and WWI and WWII in 9th grade. Post-WWII in Germany in grade 10, after we learned about Weimarer Republic and repeated WW2. In first semester (Grade 11, first semester) we went back to the Greeks in classical antiquity. In second (Grade 11, second semester), we fast-forwarded to French Revolution, a subject we had briefly touched upon in the 8th grade. In third semester (Grade 12, first semester), the subject was once again Weimarer Republic, Nazi Regime and WWII. The last semester (Grade 12, second, short semester) covered the Cold War and the rise and fall of GDR.
    I’d gone to enough museums as a child to cover 구석기, 신석기, 청동기 and 철기. My aunt (큰이모) also taught me about Mesopotamia and the ancient Greeks when I was in the fourth grade. Pity I didn’t appreciate the lessons more. The upside is that the books are still there.
    But I know almost nothing about the Asian History. Sure, I’d read books on Korean history when I was little (I was  a weird kid, come to think about it) so I know about the 삼국 시대 and 조선, 임진왜란 and 일제 강점기 (Japanese occupation of Korea – a part of history that is often forgotten in many countries, including, yes, Germany. It didn’t even get a tiny mention.). More recently, 육이오 전쟁 (Korean War) . But those are only chunks of information that are so shallow that I only know the events happened. So World History it is.
  • French – Oh, French! La langue très belle! Et très compliquée!
    I think I would have loved French and spoken it fluently by now if I had met the right teachers.
    In the seventh grade I encountered my second (technically the third) foreign language. It was taught by a very nice but kind of feeble madame. Kids talked in class. They cheated in tests. She did. Not. Do. Anything. By the end of the 8th grade, my French sucked, even though I was one of the best in the class.
    However, my ninth grade French teacher was worse. A boorish and moody man he was, who talked with strange accent and flew by the materials without understandable explanation.
    Now, my tenth grade teacher, she was brilliant. A truly amazing teacher who has (thankfully) found her calling as a teacher. I learned more in that one year than all three previous years combined. The lesson was challenging, and for the first time in my life, I did not get an A on my report card. Still, I learned about the difference between imparfait and passé composé and future simple. J’ai parlé et écrit français. Mon français était en train d’être très bien.
    Well, then the year was over. In retrospect I kind of regret not having taken French during the Oberstufe.
  • World Literature – What reader would I be if I wasn’t interested in the century-shaping works of authors all across the globe? Seriously though, I’m just curious. I only know a few from UK, Ireland, US, Germany and France. A couple from Russia (Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy), almost none from Korea. So, I want to fix that.
  • British Literature – British literature is the one that I know most about but I also want to dig deeper – not just Shakespeare, Dickens, Brontë and Austen (I love the Brontës and Austen’s fun – although her language is sparse). I’m almost giddy when I think about learning more in this subject! I totally would have majored in here if my future life didn’t depend on my major.
    Because English is a foreign language in Germany, the teachers concentrated more on grammar than literature. In fact, we have never read a classic together in class.
  • World Religion – I’m an atheist, although certain aspects of pagan religions have touched my life and changed it irreversibly (in a good way). One of the reason why I don’t call myself a pagan is because I don’t believe in Deities. (Of course, you can also be an atheist pagan. I hope I someday will be one.) I respect other people’s gods and goddesses, but I still continue to doubt their existence.
    So religion, and the wars -both visible and invisible- caused in the name of gods, fascinate me in a sick way like you can’t look away from a car accident. I don’t mean religions are sick. Just that I feel sick when I hear about all those mindless killings because the believers are SO SURE that their God is the right one.
    So those “three big religions” -Christianity, Judaism and Islam- I want to cover, but also Buddhism and Pagan Religions and religions from Ancient Egypt, India and so much more.
  • Physics – As a high schooler, I’d hated Physics. My teachers mostly sucked, and for the life of me I couldn’t grasp the concept of electromagnetism. So if I could, I’d like to learn the basics of Physics again.
  • Chemistry – Same here, although I had more luck with teachers (except for the last two) and have learned more than basic knowledge. Still, more!

You won’t hear me pining about Math, Biology, Music, Art and Computer Science. That’s because I had excellent teachers and learned enough so that I am satisfied with my knowledge on Math and Biology, because I have no real interest in Music and Art as such (I love songs and paintings as much as the next person.) and because I already know my brain refuses to work with Computer Science. Some areas I excelled at in Elective Computer Science, and others I just sucked.

Mini Reviews: Blue Bloods – New York, Venice, Rio de Janeiro

Blue Bloods #1 – Blue Bloods

Set in NYC, the first book in the series mostly explores Melissa de la Cruz’s unique set of vampires and what distinguishes them from other vampires we’ve seen countless times. Because threads must be spun before we can make intricate clothes with them, the whole world-building of the Blue Bloods can be confusing or a bit boring. I know my head was swimming with all the information.
It’s an exciting concept, too. The immortality isn’t in the same sense as we assume it. The Blue Bloods -so called because their blood is blue and because most of them are very rich- go through a cycle of Expression, Evolution, Expulsion. Their physical shell might die after a hundred years, but their blood lives forever and can be called into another cycle. Then you are carried by a Blue Blood and born into this world. You spend the first fifteen years or so ignorant of your past lives and present abilities. When you hit the age 15, though, you start the phase of Sunset Years, during which you regain memories of your past, develop vampire-ish traits, and learn about the Code of the Vampires.  But now, the hunters are being preyed upon…

Masquerade#2 – Masquerade

The first 60 pages or so are set in Venice, Italy, because that’s where Schuyler and her Conduit expect Sky’s grandfather (and Cordelia’s bondmate) to be.  The rest of the book takes place in New York, the home town of the prominent Blue Bloods teens with the possible exception of Bliss, who’s from Texas.
Masquerade, the second of the seven-book series (of the first cycle, I might add – there is a second “cycle” coming, complete with new characters and some old ones.) continues to be mysterious and  ends on a cliffhanger, which isn’t even immediately explored in Revelations.
In Masquerade: we are introduced to awesome vampire powers Sky learns to master (e.g. animadverto, glom, occludo, velox, etc.), a White Vote is called, there are Caerimonia Osculors, Bliss keeps having blackouts, Mimi continues to be a drama queen and not-so-nice person (I can’t really hate her since The Van Alen Legacy) and a new, handsome Blue Blood student enters Duchesne and calls for a whirlwind excitement… and more.

The second book is much better than the first, in my opinion. We are already familiar with the characters and the shifting perspectives from which the story is told. Masquerade used to be my favorite book before The Van Alen Legacy came along. Now, three years and three hundred books later, Masquerade isn’t as mind-blowing, but still a fun, quick read.

Revelations#3 – Revelations

The city Rio de Janeiro plays an important role in the third book in the Blue Bloods series (and the last in what I call “The First Act of Blue Bloods Series”), but we don’t get to see the city until the last third of the book.

Revelations, as the title says, reveals quite a few of the questions we the readers have been haboring since Book One, Chapter Four or something. The hugest one having something to do with the image left (If you’ve read Book #2, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I’m not gonna spoil it for you.). But of course, because this is a BB book, it also gives us tons of more questions to ponder, mostly regarding the future of the protagonists.

Towards the end of the book, a huge metaphorical wave will break out that will alter the lives of all Blue Bloods forever. And it is forever for some, because there is no future cycle for them.

One thing that infuriated me – okay, extremely exasperated me – was that a Perry Street distracted the Egon Shiele-lover so much that certain tasks and exercises were neglected that maybe could have helped the current Regis. I mean, Perry Street is great and all that, but it shouldn’t be the only thing in your life, you know? Because if it is, and you neglect the rest, you’re so much more vulnerable (in the world of BB). I also don’t like the bruhaha that was accompanied by this tralala.
I’m totally talking in cryptic, I know. But I don’t want to spoil anything.

Reading Update & blissful break

What I read:

  • Every Day by David Levithan (At first I wasn’t sure whether I like the narrator because A had a distinctive male voice -or so I think- although A is neither male nor female. A also kept talking about “the enormity”, the concept of which didn’t really touch me until much later. But all in all, totally worth the read, very thought-provoking and quite heart-breaking. I also liked that one about Nathan. It kept the plot more interesting.)
  • Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George (I love Poppy! And the historical-ish setting! And the retelling of Cinderella with a quirky twist! I never thought I’d say it, but I like Princess of Glass even more than Princess of Midnight Ball. Granted, Galen is a much better hero but since Christian didn’t have a clue what was going on (unlike Galen in PoMB), I forgive him. I did miss the sisters in PoG, though.

What I got:

  • Every Day by D. Levithan
  • The Rising by K. Armstrong
  • Misguided Angel by M. de la Cruz (U.S.)
  • Lost in Time by M. de la Cruz
  • I Am Number Four by P. Lore
  • Beautiful Days by A. Godbersen
  • Ambition by K. Brian
  • Revelation by K. Brian
  • Bleak House by C. Dickens
  • North of Beautiful by J. C. Headley
  • Poison by B. Zinn
  • Privilege by K. Brian
  • Beautiful Disaster by K. Brian
  • Persuasion by J. Austen
  • Kiss & Blog by A. Noel
  • Madame Bovary by G. Flaubert

Currently re-reading:

  • Revelations (still)
  • Broken (still)
  • Last Christmas
  • Violet on Runway (still)

What I am going to read next: (not necessarily in this order)

  • The Van Alen Legacy (re-read)
  • Misguided Angel (re-read)
  • Lost in Time
  • Gates of Paradise
  • Privilege
  • Beautiful Disaster
  • No Humans Involved (re-read)
  • Personal Demon (re-read)
  • Living With the Dead (re-read)
  • Frostbitten (re-read)
  • Waking the Witch (re-read)
  • Spell Bound
  • Thirteen
  • Rainbow Boys (re-read)
  • Rainbow High
  • Rainbow Road
  • Inner Circle (re-read)
  • Legacy
  • Ambition
  • Revelation
  • Plain Truth
  • The Gathering (re-read)
  • The Calling
  • The Rising
  • 50 Literature Ideas You Really Need To Know
  • Anna Karenina
  • David Copperfield

… yeah, it’s a lot. But since my next exam is in roughly four weeks and does not need an intense preparation unlike Math, I’m going to kick back and finish both my cross-stitching and reading projects.

My friends and I are planning a post-graduation trip, and already it’s causing a headache (at least to me). But it’s better than letting my brain go rusty like I’ve been doing in the past six days…
I mean, I did something. But that something did not require my brain to work at its biggest capacity. And if you look at my future reading list, it is plainly visible that I’m reading for escapism (mostly). While that’s not necessarily a bad thing on its own, I know me. four weeks of no school + plenty of fantasy books + no need to go outside = bye bye, reality!

This is really alarming.

Reading Update

What I read:

  • Audrey,  Wait!  by Robin Benway
  • (added around 7 PM): Finished the first book in the Drake Chronicles. I got the bind-up for the first three books as ebook. I can’t keep the Drake brothers apart yet. Nicholas is the youngest (the sexy one) brother and next-to-youngest sibling. Logan is a year older. Sebastian is the eldest. The rest… ummm, there are Quinn, Duncan, Conner and one more boy.  [Edit: Marcus] I’m really, really interested in reading more of Lucy and Nicholas, but each Drake brother takes one book to play a major part in. (Nicholas’ is already gone without being a narrator ’cause Lucy already was.)

What I am waiting for to arrive on my doorstep:

  • The Rising by K. Armstrong, the one I’d pre-ordered months ago. This means that now I can start re-reading The Gathering to complete the trilogy.
  • Misguided Angel & Lost in Time by M. de la Cruz – I am also waiting for them so I can finish the series. I already have the final book, Gates of Paradise. I could have picked them up at the book store yesterday but then I ordered I Am Number Four and Beautiful Days, so I am picking them all up probably on Tuesday or Wednesday.

What I am going to read now:
Probably not The Gathering right away. Still not sure. I started reading Audrey, Wait! yesterday because it was on my eReader and I thought, why not?

Binge – Part 2

Cuz I’m insatiable when it comes to having books – yes, I’m ashamed – I placed a HUGE order – orders, actually – and it’s not easy to be stern with myself when my inner child is singing with joy.

  • Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen – Book #2 in Bright Young Things series. I’m not starting the series till I got them all, I still need The Lucky Ones but I can’t afford too many hardcovers in a month (both Poison and Every Day are hardbacks).
  • I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore – Book #1 in Lorien Legacies series. Sounded too good to pass up.
  • Privilege by Kate Brian – a spin-off series starring Ariana Osgood. I actually intended to buy Private #7 & #8 as well as Privilege #2, but I’m treading cautiously here. See? I’m trying to be good. (Won’t/Can’t bite back to sass, though.) Oh, f*** it. I’m getting them.
  • Ambition by Kate Brian – Private #7
  • Revelation by Kate Brian – Private #8
  • Beautiful Disaster by Kate Brian – Privilege #2
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen – the wonderful Wordsworth edition! I have yet to read Emma, but I’ve read all other Big Novels by her.
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens – another Wordsworth copy. My mom got me David Copperfield for my eighteenth birthday (because I wished for it) and she said that the clerk gave her a funny look, as in, why would you, a middle-aged Asian woman, want to read an English classic? I bristled at that. That’s SUCH a discrimination! I’m reading that as soon as I start and finish Anna Karenina because my sister started reading it aloud for me (just a few pages) and I don’t want to hurt her feelings.
  • North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley – It sounds very well thought-out, and Thomas wrote an amazing review praising the book, so I’m giving it a go.
  • Kiss & Blog by Alyson Noel – yes, I didn’t like her Evermore. I didn’t bother to read the second book. But her stand-alones do sound good, and I’ve been wanting to read Kiss & Blog since the first time I read the synopsis. And I have to get the old cover before they run out of print. The old cover has a sunny cover that carries both fun and maturity over. We’ll have to see if the cover and the content stand in correlation.

Aufmunterung

Ich gehe immer shoppen, wenn ich deprimiert bin. Meistens ist es virtuelles Einkaufen, was viel, viel besser ist als selber durch die Stadt zu irren, das irritiert mich wohl noch mehr.

Oh, ich meine natürlich Buch shoppen, was anderes kommt mir erst gar nicht im Sinn. Wenn ich nicht einmal die Lust habe, mir neue Bücher anzuschaffen, weiß man/ich, dass etwas Ernsthaftes mit mir los ist.

Ich wollte mir eigentlich viiiiiel mehr Bücher holen, was eigentlich nicht schwer ist, da ich eine endlose Liste voller Büchern habe, die ich unbedingt haben möchte, aber ich hab mich dann doch zurückgehalten, es macht ja schließlich keinen Spaß, wenn ich mir heute schon alles gönne.

Ich habe drei Bücher bestellt:

  • Poison von Bridget Zinn (seitdem ich gehört habe, dass die Autorin gestorben ist, bevor sie die Erscheinung ihres Buches erlebt hat, wollte ich so als ein Zeichen der Solidarität unbedingt ihr Buch lesen)
  • Madame Bovary von Gustave Flaubert – In Last Christmas von Kate Brian, dieses Buch dient als so eine Art Symbol und Schlüsselerlebnis für Ariana Osgood (nicht im guten Sinne) und seitdem bin ich halt neugierig auf dieses Buch.
  • Every Day von David Levithan – hat eine tolle Storyline, und ich hab schon vier oder fünf Bücher von ihm gelesen und sie sind alle gut! Außderdem hat das Buch nur 11,95 EUR gekostet, und es handelt sich hier um eine gebundene Ausgabe!