Friday, January 11, 2008

3. Blood is the New Black by Valerie Stivers

Blood is the New Black pictureI must enter this review by letting everyone know that the author is a friend of mine. She's closer to my sister, but we've hung out enough that my objectivity may be in question!

Blood is the new Black (great title, btw) is another iteration of the vampire mythos, this time taking place in the corporate hallways of a major fashion magazine. The hero of the book is a practical but very fashion-conscious young woman who gets an opportunity to intern at an elite fashion magazine in Manhattan before her final year of med school. Though style is clearly in her genes, she has chosen a more pragmatic path after her mother, an up and coming designer herself, abandoned the family for the life of haute couture and sophisticated partying. She is reluctant to take the internship, but finally does.

Of course, things are immediately weird at the magazine. It's a difficult tension because we all know that her bosses are going to be vampires. The suspense and enjoyment comes from the manner in which this vampire myth manifests itself (which is quite well done) and from figuring out who and who isn't a vampire (not so well done). It's an enjoyable and quick read. One sympathizes with the main character and you can really feel the stress of being in such a job even if the nasty bitches that ran the place weren't vampires. The plot moves forward well, though the internal thinking style I found a bit chatty, but I think this probably accurately reflects the constant noise and confusion that goes around in women's heads. One problem I had were the constant references to specific types and brands of clothes that people are wearing. These were very specific. It made it so I couldn't really figure out what anybody looked like. Can't blame the book, though, as this is probably appropriate for the intended audience. I imagine this must be what it's like when my sister reads a Mack Bolan novel.

The manifestation of the vampire myth in the modern, fashion world is fantastic. It cleverly integrates all the vampire clichés, updates some of them and wittily critiques high fashion. This is a bit of a spoiler, but it goes so far to explain how the vampires were responsible for changing our appreciation of the feminine form from the robust, curvy figure of the 19th century to the emaciated, dried out look of today (which fits much more the vampire aesthetic, obviously). There is a lot of this and it is quite enjoyable.

All in all, Blood is the New Black is a good read, which I think will be particularly enjoyed by vampire fans and young, stylish women.

3 comments:

Lantzvillager said...

And those are your exact target demographic! ;)

beemused said...

you wrote: "but I think this probably accurately reflects the constant noise and confusion that goes around in women's heads"

oh pleez.

Olman Feelyus said...

well, most women :0