Title: The Legend of the Blue Eyes [Blue Eyes Trilogy 1]
Author: B. Kristin McMichael
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: 3 Stars
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.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
This was very nearly a DNF. By 10% in, I’d already decided to throw in the towel. The narrative was weak, bland at best—and the author had a penchant for redundancy. Often, a character would react to something that hadn’t yet happened, throwing the sequence of events into turmoil, and the main character, Arianna, came across as a 1-dimensional robot. The omniscient style of the narrative was irritating at times, and seemed to suck the tension out of what could have been some really powerful moments. It was pretty unbearable.
However, by 29% in, the story began to pick up again, and I was able to push on till the end of the book. This was clearly a case of a book that was great in theory, that was executed poorly. The plot was interesting: a 16 year old girl discovers that everything she knew about her life, including her own birthday, was wrong. She finds herself turning into a supernatural creature and immersed into a prophecy—and no one is willing to clue her in to what is going on. The world building was fully fleshed out and engaging, pulling several new ideas into the genre that really made this an interesting story.
Unfortunately, for the first third of the book, all of that is overshadowed by the poor writing. Arianna didn’t seem to have any feelings for a good portion of the book. She reacted to the events and people around her with an almost emotionless disconnected viewpoint. Other characters kept trying to tell her what was going on, but for whatever reason, she just wasn’t grasping the situation. Ideas had to be constantly repeated, and her questions about the situation were useless. Rather than ask anyone what was going on and what her part in the prophecy was, she kept asking people to repeat what they’d already told her. It was frustrating and it made it seem as if Arianna was an airhead. There were times I just wanted to shake her and tell her how dumb she was being.
The narrative itself was over-explained, and frequently wordy, filled with “junk words” like “very”, “quite”, “just”, “so”. It sucked all the tension out of the narrative and left the writing feeling weak and bland. The dialogue was unnatural, and sometimes cliché. The characters seemed to react in ways that didn’t always make sense, and were all-too-familiar and accepting of the situations they found themselves in with no apparent reason.
The complacency of the characters involved in the romance was nearly maddening. Here’s this girl who’s never even had a boyfriend, and suddenly she’s got a bunch of men clamoring to be with her forever—and none of them seem to be upset, awkward, or even remotely jealous of the fact that Arianna isn’t exclusively theirs. I understand that there’s a prophecy involved saying she’s got to have 5 different people around her for the rest of her life, but just because there’s a prophecy doesn’t mean that the people involved aren’t going to have emotional conflict over it. It was entirely unrealistic. Also, every single one of the men who fell in love with Arianna did so blindly, and seemed to all share the backstory of having met her as a child (even though she doesn’t remember any of them). It felt as if the author were being lazy. I think it would have bothered me less had they been drawn to Arianna because of the prophecy or by some mystical force—rather than having the lot of them fall in love with her collectively as children and sticking to that devotedness throughout her life, despite the fact that they don’t really know her. It felt a little like invasion of the body snatchers with all the warm happy thoughts directed in her direction.
That aside, though I didn’t particularly care for the first third of the book, once it really started to dig into the story, the book became a lot more interesting. The pace picked up, tension-packed romantic and thrilling scenes started to creep in, and the story finally started to move along. From that point forward I didn’t have nearly as much difficulty following along with the story as I’d initially had. Some aspects of the book continued on into the later half of the book that I wish hadn’t—like Arianna’s frustrating lack of personality—but the second half of the book was definitely much better. At some point, I sunk into the story, and I forgot about all the errors.
So where does that leave this? 3 Stars. This book was a bit of a mixed bag. It wasn’t great—there were times I outright wanted to throw the book away—but it wasn’t totally irredeemable either. The book does get better towards the end if you can stick with it that long. I only wish more time had been spent ironing out the narrative. I don’t think this book is going to be for everyone, but if you like YA paranormal books, you may like this. I think younger readers will enjoy it much more than adults, as they’ll be able to bypass most of the weak writing problems with less difficulty.