Monday, January 28, 2008

Book 2 – Blood Is the New Black

By Valerie Stivers

Fashion is a bloodsucking business. Literally.

When you have this as a tagline, either you totally want to find out more, or you don’t. Like when you’re nursing a hangover and you somehow managed to haul your ass over to the new releases section of the nearest video store, and you’re dumbly gazing at the catchy cover, well, you just need to know whether it can deliver the mindless yet engaging entertainment you wish to occupy your mind with for the next few hours. And Blood Is the New Black is just that, um, except it’s in book form.

So you've got the heroine, Kate McGraw, who, you know, is plucky and independently minded, not a fashion slave at all, because she's got her own retro-style going and she wants to be a doctor or lawyer one day. Somehow, her aunt pulls strings and she ends up working as an intern at Tasty magazine. Like any fresh young upstart, Kate is instantly disliked by her immediate boss, the uber-bitchy Lexa, and catches the eye of the cute in-house photographer, James. However, she also falls under the spell of the ethereally graceful and mysterious editor-in-chief, Lillian, and gets herself embroiled in the shocking “fashion murders”, where the victims are inexplicably drained of their blood, and found near photo shoots and parties whenever her freakishly pale co-workers are around.

As Olman already pointed out in his review last year, 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. And I must say, I agree with this statement. Here are some good quotes that perfectly illustrates why there are so many fashion victims...

“I learned that vampires are always seeking others who can join their ranks. They have a pathological need for followers. That’s why they’re in fashion. But very few humans can make the transformation.“

“… Now that she’s marked you, you’re like a beacon. Our kind can sense you. And with each bite, your ability to evade attack lessens. Most blood donors end up it in the end. You’ll see them shopping in Nolita, or at the tents in Bryant Park during Fashion Week, just waiting to be picked off.”

Now, I’m not exactly on the cutting edge of fashion, but I’m a woman and like most women, I loooooove clothes. So unlike Olman, I enjoyed the noisy-chatty and at times, very clever-nasty, female-driven dialogue and the detailed references to what the various characters were wearing. When you have lines like:

“When Reese leaves, the silence in our closet-slash-office is thicker than Pringle cashmere.”

“My aunt walks into the kitchen wrapped in a fuchsia silk robe with a contrast-band of brilliant blue around the waist and blue bias-tape trim.”

“Let me see it,” she says, taking my wrist and examining the tacky puncture wounds. “This is nothing! This is just a sip. You’ll want to shop a little bit more than usual, but that’s it. And you’ll look good. Anemia is chic!”

It’s like Sex & The City meets The Devil Wears Prada meets Buffy! What more can a girl ask for?

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