Melissa de la Cruz owns Blue Bloods, Puccini owns La Boheme.
Mimì è una civettache frascheggia con tutti.Un moscardino di Viscontinole fa l'occhio di triglia.Ella sgonnella e scopre la cavigliacon un far promettente e lusinghier.Ebbene, non lo son.Invan, invan nascondola mia vera tortura.Amo Mimìsovra ogni cosa al mondo, io l'amo,ma ho paura, ma ho paura!
These lyrics, from the song Mimi E Una Civetta, seem to perfectly summarize not just the character of Mimi in Puccini's La Boheme, but Melissa de la Cruz's snobby, bratty, fun-loving socialite Mimi in the Blue Bloods series. Translated from Italian, the words are as follows:
Mimi is a coquette
Who flirts with everyone.
A dandy of a little Viscount
Makes lovesick eyes at her.
She lifts her skirts and shows her legs
In a most promising and provocative way.
All right then, no
In vain, in vain I hide it
My real anguish
I love Mimi
More than anything in the world
I love her
But I'm afraid, I'm afraid.
Mimi is simultaneously the most complex and more simplistic character in Blue Bloods. She is superfluous and catty, she fakes grief at a friend's death, and she is truly nasty to everyone around her. At the same time, she loves deeper and with more fidelity than any other character in the series. (It is important to keep in mind that liaisons with Red Bloods are not considered cheating in the Blue Blood canon.) She is fiercely protective of her brother and of the bond between them, and she accesses her full memories long before any other Blue Blood her age, which shows a level of power and maturity not demonstrated by Schuyler, Bliss, Jack, Dylan, or any other Blue Blood.
The revelation about Mimi's status as the Angel of Death adds another dimension to her character, but it explains more than it doesn't. Death is cold, final, impassive, and above all non-negotiable. So is Mimi. Many of the small incidents of cruelty and harshness that seem to be the basis of Mimi's character all tie in perfectly with her role as the Angel of Death. Death must be impartial, for everyone encounters it eventually, and there is no escape. Mimi is not so much deliberately cruel as devoid of the emotions necessary for compassion and empathy.
Another aspect of her character is her ability to strategize and execute elaborate plans and schemes with the precision of an army general. The house party at the Llewellyn's penthouse and the after-party in the old Synagogue are completely Mimi's in conception and implementation. She also takes complete control of hers and Jack's relationship, placing herself in the dominant role and Jack in the submissive role. Although Jack often likes to rebel against her and against the Blue Blood traditions, in the end he always—every single time, without fail—falls in line when she beckons. The same goes for Bliss Llewellyn, who often complains about Mimi's domineering nature to Schuyler, but never seems to do anything about her dissatisfaction.
Simply put, Mimi is the Alpha Female in her world and in the larger world of the Blue Blood society—even Trinity Force, her mother, bends to Mimi's will when ordered. It is precisely because of this Alpha Female status that Mimi has such difficulty with Schuyler van Alen, because Schuyler is also an Alpha. Although she is not as outgoing as Mimi, Schuyler is never afraid to assert herself and her opinions. Again, when ordered directly by Schuyler, Jack and also Oliver submit to her will every single time. Mimi sees her position, both as Jack's mate and as the leader of the younger generation of the Blue Bloods, challenged by Schuyler's very presence. She always wants to get rid of Schuyler—and Schuyler wants to rid herself of Mimi—because she recognizes her as the single greatest threat to her happiness and contentment.
The one scene in Masquerade that makes absolutely no sense is the sequence where Schuyler decides to try and save Mimi and the actual Blood Ritual. The first ridiculous part is in Schuyler's initial refusal to even attempt to save Mimi. The defining component of Schuyler's character throughout both novels has been her absolute determination to find the truth, no matter the cost and no matter how ugly it might be. And yet when given the opportunity to discern the truth in an already shady situation, Schuyler shies away and gives the rather flimsy excuse that she won't do it because Mimi is an "awful person." This coming from the girl who was friends with a known juvenile delinquent and who always reaches out a helping hand to everyone, Blue Blood and Red Blood, because she knows it's the right thing to do. In the end, she agrees to help Mimi because a. the boy she has a crush on asks her to and b. she realizes that this is "not a game". Well, really! Did you figure that out during the trial, or when they were dragging her out in chains? This is not the high-minded morally sound Schuyler van Alen that we have been following and rooting for throughout the past two books.
What should set Schuyler apart from Mimi is her willingness to reach out—if the roles were reversed and Mimi was asked to perform the Blood Trial for Schuyler there is absolutely no question that she would refuse—and embrace others, both enemies and friends. She takes a risk with Dylan, and with Bliss, and with Lawrence, but when it comes to Mimi she suddenly turns childish and indecisive and backs her way out of it until the last possible minute.
Even more ridiculous than Schuyler's procrastinating is Mimi's reluctance to go through with the Blood Trial. She acts as if Schuyler is simply inconveniencing her with the ritual, but not even Mimi can be this shallow. She is about to die. Period. No second chances, no other options, if Schuyler can't prove her innocent she will burn to death and be erased from existence forever. Whatever her personal feelings about Schuyler, Mimi always does what is in the best interests for Mimi—hence the irony of her name. (Imagine a bratty little girl crying 'me, me!') And it is definitely within her best interests to submit to the Blood Trial. Does she need to thank Schuyler? No. Does she need to be friends with Schuyler? No. Does she even need to be nice to Schuyler? No, but it simply does not make sense for her to aggravate her further when it is a matter of life and death.
Mimi is a seemingly shallow character who has lots of hidden depth, probably only seen by the one person who even tries to understand her, her twin brother Jack. Unfortunately for Jack, he also understands Schuyler, and sees her as the sweeter side of Mimi's darkness—in many ways, Schuyler and Mimi are better twins than Jack and Mimi are. Mimi is dark, but her darkness is, as Jack says, a natural balance, for without black there can be no white, and without death no appreciation of life. Schuyler throws off the balance, for she brings slashes of light into an already balanced and precisely constructed world. Whomever Jack chooses, he will throw the carefully constructed Blue Blood universe off its axis—which is why, even though he is a traditionally submissive character, Jack Force holds the most power in his hands.
Okay, I hope I didn't bore you too much with my thoughts. As a final note, let me encourage everyone to check out La Boheme, and its modern version, Jonathan Larson's Rent. Rent is a good introduction to La Boheme, but ultimately in my opinion La Boheme is the more powerful piece.