The drama here isn't her survival, which is assured relatively quickly and easily due to the interventions of other part-demons who have been watching out for her. And, luckily, she lands a job with the San Antonio police, who are far more aware than they let on about vampires. And, eventually, demons too. Watching Val and her very attractive partner Dan unravel the mysteries afoot amongst the vampires is fun, if not deeply complex. Val has to handle her lust for Dan very carefully, lest her demon side take over and drain his life force. That inner battle is more intriguing, and the combination of roiling internal emotions and kicking vampire ass makes this a well-balanced page turner. Definitely recommended to Buffy fans, and perhaps as an antidote to the passivity of Twilight's heroine.
There are, of course, repeated tropes in genres. Deborah Stevenson pointed out the oft-used teen novel trope of the description of self in the mirror. I've become intrigued by the trope of the truths and myths about vampires. Because every author/novel/series seems to have their own set. Here, Blue's truths are that vampires cannot be in the sun (no sparkly Edwards here) and that holy water, if blessed by a true believer, can be scalding. Silver is a problem too. But she eschews the turning-into-bats powers (those seem to be on the wane overall).
In other news, Betsy Hearne won this insanely huge lifetime achievement award. Wish I could have been at the Children's Literature Association Conference to clap and cry.