(Cover picture courtesy of My Book Addiction.)
Arianna Grace liked her boring, Midwestern, teenage life where she ignored the many unanswered questions of her childhood. Why were her parents dead? Why did she not have family? Where was she raised until she was five? When someone offers to explain it all, Arianna thinks she’s just getting answers. Instead, she is thrown into a world of night humans who drink blood.
On Arianna’s sixteenth birthday, her world is thrown upside down when she changes into a vampire. Night humans, or demons, as some call them, live in normal society. Learning all of the new rules of a world she didn’t know existed might be hard enough, but it’s further complicated by two former-friends that now want to help her take her role as the successor to her grandfather.
There is a war going on between the night humans. Sides have been taken and lines are not crossed. Four main clans of night humans are struggling for control of the night. Divided into two sides, clans Baku and Tengu have been at war for centuries with the clans Dearg-dul and Lycan. That is, until Arianna Grace finds out the truth; she’s the bridge of peace between the two sides. But not everyone wants peace. With the night humans divided, Arianna is now a pawn in the war between them. She must choose a side—her mother’s family or her father’s—and for once in her life, decide her own fate.
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
Unfortunately, The Legend of the Blue Eyes is an example of how a good premise can be ruined by mediocre writing.
The premise of B. Kristin McMichael’s world is not a new one but she puts such an unique spin on things that you can’t help but fall in love with it. She goes back to the origins of vampires and incorporates some of the old myths into a modern, sophisticated type of vampire called a Dearg-dul. The Baku and Tengu are sort of vampire/incubus/succubus combination while Lycans are quite obviously werewolves. They aren’t the typical sort of creatures you find in urban fantasy, particularly YA, because McMichael actually took the time to make her creatures unique. I honestly can’t fault any aspect of her world-building because it really is fantastic.
Her writing is not, however. It’s by no means bad but it’s not up to the quality of her world-building. She spends pages and pages on Arianna’s boy-craziness until it crosses the line from typical boy-crazy teenager to the realm of “make up your mind already!”. I’m not a big fan of romance but when done right it’s great. But it really was just not done right in The Legend of the Blue Eyes. The male leads are kind of stereotypes, one dimensional people designed to exist for the gratification of the female protagonist. While it’s sadly refreshing to see men objectified for once in fiction it doesn’t make it enjoyable or right.
I really couldn’t connect with Arianna. She’s just such a walking cliché of pretty much every YA heroine in popular fiction. Arianna can’t make up her mind about which boy she even likes, she’s a small town sort of girl thrust into the middle of a rich urban world, she’s special even amongst her own people, etc. It would have been different had McMichael put some twists on these clichés but she really didn’t.
Instead, the wasted potential of this book makes me sad. The world-building is absolutely fantastic and could be a model for pretty much every author out there, but the rest of the novel is lackluster at best. If it sounds interesting to you I’d say go ahead but I’m not going to go out of my way to recommend this one.
I give this book 2.5/5 stars.