Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gates of Paradise by Melissa De La Cruz

So, I have been reading this series since high school. I have never seen a more unique take on YA vampires. 2013 seems to be the year of YA endings. Reading the ending to this series was bittersweet. I was dying to see how everything would tie up; yet, I kept postponing finishing it because I did not want it to be over. I literally put the book down to get some exercise. I don’t usually do this…
 I was kind of expecting it be depressing. The last book ended with a sad goodbye for the “it” couple. Jack left Schuyler for a final battle to the death with Mimi, his twin. And Mimi kind of signed over her soul to save her new love, Kingsley. All of the soul mates were kind of broken at the end of the previous book. Some seriously bad deals were made with Lucifer. At least some old enemies had become good friends. Mimi had become way less awful and actually became sort of besties with Oliver, who thankfully found a way around his Schuyler obsession.
The book begins with Schuyler, Kingsley, and Oliver living it up in London. The boys are partying every night, dealing with what they are dealing with. Schuyler is in a perpetual state of worry. She doesn’t know if Jack is alive. And she’s scrounging for time to learn more about the gates she’s meant to protect. Jack and Mimi are alive and kicking it. They’re playing as double agents, double-crossing Lucifer and doing what they can for blue bloods as a whole. The rest of the blue blood community is in hiding from the terror of what Lucifer has in the works with the silver bloods. Bliss has recruited a pack of hell wolves and comes to realize she has been underground for one whole year, only to come back to NYC and realize everything has changed for the worse.
Mimi and Jack are assigned with some seriously bad missions for Lucifer. Eventually, they are both ordered to murder the ones they love most. There’s some seriously great wolf drama and mythology thrown in with the fallen angel and vampire story. Schuyler learns a lot about her family –particularly her human father and grandmother who didn’t know she existed. Oliver finally seems to be into someone else. And it all comes down to everyone needing to work together, and to Schuyler having to make the ultimate sacrifice.
There’s the sizzling romance you come to expect from this author, plenty of fight scenes (my favorites being between Mimi and Kingsley), a college party, more international travel, questions answered, one epic battle at the end, and one crazy/awesome ending! The book also had just the perfect amount of nostalgic flashbacks to the beginning of the series. Also, there were some serious flashback chapters that went way back in time, to ancient Rome. At first, I hated that these chapters kept interrupting the current stories, but eventually I became just as hooked on the history as I was on the present.
The amount of detail that goes into each of these books is spot-on! I love all the artwork mentioned, the notes about architecture, the fashion, and the humor! I have come to love all of these characters. Characters I hated in the beginning turned into some of my favorites. There is one character I am just so beyond happy for at the very end. I won’t spoil it. I just need to say that I shouted out loud: “YES!”
I love all the different mixings of mythology that this author throws together. I also love all of the points of view you get. This very well might be the only YA book that successfully switches to so many different points of view without screwing up the story at all.
There’s always a tiny part of these books that weirds me out. The whole twin thing still kind of gets to me. And in this one, there is blood paint…But whatever, I kind of come to expect some weirdness. I also come to expect a lot of surprises. And I guess I’m glad for both. As far as endings go, I was really impressed. This final book was cohesive with the rest in the series. Sometimes it read like a book 2 or 3 and not really like a final book, and it took a bit of time for me to realize if that was a good or bad thing. But, overall, I think this was good. It means that the author didn’t change things to make the ending come off a certain way. She kept to her characters, her writing style, and her humor without seeming to stress about the way her end sounded. And I’m grateful.
I give this book a 10/10, and as I say for my other book reviews for final books in a series, I feel like I’m rating/reviewing the series as a whole, and not just this last book. This was one scary, sizzling, unique, dramatastic, epic ride, and I’m so happy to have read these books. I look forward to whatever else this author has to write.

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