Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Legend of the Blue Eyes (Blue Eyes Trilogy #1) by B. Kristin McMichael

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With the death of her parents, Arianna is being raised by her aunt and uncle. Naturally, having no memory of her parents, Arianna constantly questions what little family she has about her origins, only to meet a brick wall each time. Fortunately for Arianna, she's come across a source who claims to have all the answers that she has been searching for. With Arianna's sixteenth birthday approaching, she is about to pass a threshold which will change her life forever and she will finally have the answers she's so long sought.  

The Legend of the Blue Eyes reads like Aryan nation YA.  I will never get back the hours back I lost reading this book and will forever feel as though Kristin McMichael stole from me.  Throughout The Legend of the Blue Eyes, we are continually reminded how super special Arianna is. Her blue eyes make her stand out amongst her people, who are all brown eyed.  If that were not enough, she's blonde and extremely petite. Never for one minute could I as a reader forget about how Arianna's blue eyes, blonde hair, and petite stature make her super special because McMichael never seems to tire of repeating Arianna's physical description, nor did they tire of reminding us of Arianna's super special specialness as a result.  The Legend of the Blue Eyes is absolutely the exaltation of Whiteness and in particular, White womanhood. Pointing to random black dude on a bus only reifies everything that's wrong with this book.

Part of the shtick when it comes to YA is that the protagonist is always just figuring out who they are.  McMichael doubles down on this by never ever giving any answers, content to remind the reader that Arianna is super duper special.  We learn that supernaturals are divided into groups and that for some reason they're all at war.  Arianna, as it turns out is the daughter of two supernaturals from rival groups - a Romeo & Julliet. It made me want to scream that we're all familiar with this story and Shakespeare did it better, even with the Elizabethan English. 

As I mentioned, Arianna is the super special one and so people love her, stare at her and want to be around her.  This means that Arianna has to have personal security round the clock.  Her blood is highly prized and is capable of healing a whole host of aliments.  Arianna doesn't realise the true strength of her power and  beyond knowing that killing a child might not be quite right, she seems to have no problem listening in as her grandfather slaps the shit of her guard for daring to drink the blood she offered. She also seems to have no problem with her grandfather threatening to kill anyone who drinks her blood.  Sure, we are told that her grandfather is an old bastard and given the sense that he has a ruthless past, but McMichael never expands on that and instead seems content to remind us that Arianna is loved by her grandpappy, who's a mean bastard and therefore; this makes her even more super special.

Because Arianna is super special all the boys who of course are just so damn handsome, (and you can tell cause their hair falls into their eyes) are absolutely devoted to Arianna and are constantly sending off emotional support of their love and adoration.  To avoid the paranormal romance trope of the quickie romance, McMichael takes care to create a backstory in which Arianna met them as a small child and declared at age five that she was going to marry them. This however doesn't make the insta love and promises to die for her anymore tolerable.  Arianna finds herself kissing boys for the first time and is confused when none of them display jealousy because it's been written that she will have five people willing to serve her.  It's just another reason for Arianna to angst and pout because she's not sure how they feel about her. Chick, if dude declares that he's happy to die for you, that's a pretty big indicator of how they feel. 

The main plot is that Arianna's life is under threat because she happens to be fifty percent dearg-dul and fifty percent baku. These are supernatural creatures that McMichael simply pulled out of a hat because they don't bother to explore the Irish roots of the dearg-dul, or the Guyanese/West African roots of the Baku. The Baku characterisation is so bad that other than the name, it has no bearing on the original creature,  but why bother with the mysticism of people of colour when you have a White fantasy narrative to celebrate? 

Despite being the protagonist, Arianna has no personality to speak of. She's a toy that all the boys want to play with. Arianna exists to follow orders and even when she's supposedly rebelling, she's actually just following the orders of one of the boys who has fallen in love with her because  of her super special specialness. We're told how strong Arianna is repeatedly.  She is the strongest baku and the strongest dearg-dul yet because of the ignorance of her culture and power she needs to be protected. It's routine for one of her worshipers to pick her up and sit her on their lap so that she can hear their heartbeat to calm down. Arianna cannot even sleep on her own and must rest her head on the chest of one of her handsome admirers. It's a good thing every damn person is on the secret because at some point someone might just think it's weird that teenage boys are unbuttoning their shirts constantly so that Arianna can hear their heartbeats and drink their blood.  It also calls into question Arianna's intelligence that she never picked up on a damn thing supernatural about the community she lives in.  

I know that The Legend of the Blue Eyes, is the first book in a trilogy but absolutely nothing which could compel me to read another book in this series. There's only so much teenage whining I can take, especially when it comes with no discernible plot to speak of.  Reminding the reader that the protagonist is super special and continually reminding us what she looks like is not a plot. There were times reading this that my eyes actually glazed over and I had to remind myself of my promise not to be defeated by this crap masquerading as a book.  The Legend of the Blue Eyes, is something you take with you to the bathroom and then happily flush away when you are done. There's not one damn thing redeemable about it and you will never get back the time that you lost.  I didn't pay for Legend of the Blue Eyes and yet I still feel like sending the author a bill for the time lost reading it.  I consider this review a public service announcement because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.