20 September 2009

YA weekend!

Good Lord, I love these.

Up til 1:30 last night reading Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods, the first in the series of the same name. It's set in the ranks of old-money Manhattan: the twist, though, is that the spoiled rich kids that populate this glitzy milieu aren't descendants of folks who came over on the Mayflower--no, they came over on the Mayflower, because they're all vampires. The writing's not great--the story relies heavily on info-dumpish "now you can know the truth" conversation--but the re-mythologizing is top-notch. De la Cruz blends in the fall of Lucifer, Caligula, and the lost colony of Roanoke with the vampires' history, and locates their immortality not in their bodies as a whole, but in the blood itself. It's the blood that lives forever, and passes from host to host along with their memories, so that they experience many lives, but not always as the same people. No mere "hey-they-sparkle!" varnish: this is real imagination, and it shines through the slipshod plotting.

Today I've started The Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda, about the youngest and only female member of the Templars, half-Pakistani Billi SanGreal, plunged at fifteen into the Order's never-ending battle against the forces of darkness. The opening scene is straight-up Buffy-style, with the hate-and-black-ichor-filled spirit of a murdered little boy on a creaky swing in the middle of a deserted playground. Awesome sauce!

Why don't they write books for grown-ups like this? Or rather--because they certainly do (Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series springs to mind)--why are such books relegated to the Genre Fiction ghetto, and not allowed to coexist with (often dour, self-righteous, or o'er-consciously-literary) Serious Literature?


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