Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz

A review by Evie Kendal

Lost in Time is the eighth book in Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods vampire series. The series begins with Schuyler Van Alen, a social misfit at a posh private school in New York, who suddenly attracts the attention of the most popular boy in school, Jack Force. All the usual teen angst ensues, complete with Schuyler’s discovery that she is half-human, half-vampire and a member of the undead elite, the Blue Bloods.

Although her heritage is questioned in later novels and enmity builds between the Blue Bloods and the Silver Bloods, Schuyler is mostly concerned with which boy’s love to requite – the vampire, Jack, or her human familiar, Oliver. By the beginning of Lost in Time she has chosen Jack. The book opens immediately after their “bonding” ceremony.

A rather impressive element of this novel is how well de la Cruz catches her readers up with the story thus far. The prologue contains most of the background knowledge required to understand the narrative, including a brief history of Schuyler’s love life, the fact she and Jack are stealing time together before he has to face a blood trial that could change the fate of all vampires and that Schuyler is now destined to fulfill her mother’s legacy – to find and protect the Gates of Hell so Lucifer cannot escape and wreak havoc on Earth.

The narrative focuses on a desperate search to find Catherine of Siena and the location of the Gates of Paradise (the title of the next novel in the series). This requires travelling all over the world and gathering clues from Schuyler’s grandfather’s documents.

One awkward element of the series is the concept of “bondmates”, the result of a heavenly soul-twinning of two vampires. The sacred blood bond must be renewed in order to increase both vampires’ powers and, if broken, it can result in a blood trial being demanded by the wronged party.

This fight to the death is what Jack is facing in Lost in Time as he has abandoned his bondmate, his twin sister Mimi, in order to be with Schuyler. Given the romantic aspect of this bonding in the text, it is disturbing that it exists between first-degree relatives, regardless of any innocent explanation provided in the story.

The other major plot running through this novel is Mimi’s story as she follows her true love, Kingsley, into the depths of Hell in the hope of rescuing him. Some classic romance novel misunderstandings occur but these eventually work and things start looking up for the couple.

In fact, the only character whose love life appears irredeemably miserable is Oliver, Schuyler’s best friend who has been serving as her “conduit” and helping her with her transition to vampire powers for many years. In Lost in Time their relationship has soured somewhat following Schuyler’s decision to bond with Jack; however, Oliver is still devoted to her and tries to help her on her quest.

The different countries visited in the novel are depicted quite well, with local names used to describe features in a way that illustrates attention to detail without overdoing it. (So many authors are rather too fond of advertising just how much they “did the research” such that what is left more closely resembles a National Geographic documentary than a fictional novel).

The vocabulary used in the novel is accessible, probably owing to the series’ intended young adult audience. The cover art is a little “chick lit” for my taste but certainly beats some of the atrocious covers abusing other paranormal romance novels! The chapters are very short and therefore make it easy to progress through the novel. The many literary references to texts such as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Dante’s Divina Commedia and Perrault’s Bluebeard get a bit much at times, however these and the various historical incidents mentioned do add a little edu-tainment to the mix. Recommended for both young adult and adult audiences with an interest in vampire mythology.