Joelene Reviews: Melissa de la Cruz's - "The Gates of Paradise"
It is New Year’s Eve and the world is celebrating. For Schuyler Van Alen, however, that is a luxury that she cannot afford. In her world – the world of angels and demons, Heaven and Hell, Blue Bloods and Conduits – there is no reason to celebrate; and less time. Jack Force, the boy she loves, has been missing for months and might well be dead. Even that is not something that Schuyler has time to dwell on because Lucifer is moving against those who would oppose him; and Schuyler tops that list.
She is the key to unlocking the Gate of Promise and leading her people to Paradise, if only she can figure out how. And she has to figure it out soon, or Lucifer will destroy the gate and take away the only chance she has. Luckily she is not alone. Her best friend, Oliver, is with her as always, and she has allies with the werewolves. She may also have friends who are closer to Lucifer than to her.
Gates of Paradise is the seventh and final book in the Blue Bloods series. For a series that has been running since 2006, you would expect an epic finale. And, in some ways, you get it.
Gates of Paradise brings together all of the characters that the Blue Bloods series has been built on. In their own ways, they are all working toward winning the looming final battle. Whether they are rallying their forces, trying to solve the puzzle of the key to the gate, or weakening Lucifer, each person has a part to play.
This strategic team-work coupled with the flash-backs to mistakes made in the past – or in past lives – builds a solid foundation for an epic showdown. But, for all the build-up towards it, the final battle is a disappointment. It’s an almost blink and you’ll miss it affair. This would be fine if there were few or no repercussions to the battle; but well-known characters are cut down in a casual sentence and entire clashes of powerful foes are summed up in equally few words. It feels as though de la Cruz is racing toward an invisible finish line. It’s a pity because the ideas touched on in the final scenes – love, sacrifice, weakness – are handled well; they’re just not as fleshed out as they should be.
Ultimately though, I think that fans will get what they would have wanted out of the end of this series. A final journey with the characters they have loved through previous books – Bliss, Lawson, Schuyler, Jack and Mimi Force, Kingsley and Oliver – a chance at seeing how the battle changes them and a look at how the survivors adapt to their new lives without the threat of death hanging heavy over them.
Gates of Paradise – Melissa de la Cruz
Atom Books (January 15, 2013)