Series: Bloodlines #2
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires
Published by Razorbill on June 12, 2012
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Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.NOTE: Thank you, Lindsay, for sending this to me for Christmas! You're such a doll. Also, if you haven't read book one, Bloodlines, then go read that now. This review will have spoilers for that book as well as spoilers for Vampire Academy, the six books preceding this series. So yeah. Go read all that before reading this review. Or go and read my Bloodlines review!
Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.
But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.
When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.
Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, but you already knew that. Sydney Sage is a smart***, but you probably already knew that, too. Sydney Sage is doubting her Alchemist heritage, but you--oh, wait. You didn't know that, did you? Well, now you do.
There were two aspects of this book that made it an extremely enjoyable 400 pages: Adrian and Sydney's doubt and Syndrian. In the first book, Bloodlines, Sydney is a blind follower. She does everything the Alchemists tell her to do without question, without research. The only reason she does what she does is because the Alchemists tell her to. She is their lap dog. It was annoying. I like strong leads that know what they want and go and get what they want (even if I'm so not like that in some cases). I was happy to find out that Sydney is no longer that annoying lap dog in The Golden Lily! She learns that not everything is what it seems and that, yes, the Alchemists are capable of lying to her. In other words, she grows a backbone.
Like I said, Adrian is one of the reasons this book was extremely enjoyable. This is true. Very true. Like I said in my Bloodlines review, Adrian is a very fleshed out character in my opinion. There are a couple instances where he says things that seem out of character, but maybe that's just how he is. I don't question it. It must be his spirit. But I still stand by my words when I say that Adrian is very prominent, and I'd know that it was him talking without a speaker tag attached to the end of the quote. Even in the Vampire Academy series Adrian was one of my favorite characters. It's no different in the Bloodlines series.
But Dimitri was my all time favorite in the Vampire Academy series, and now he's not really my favorite anymore. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that he's kind of pompous in The Golden Lily or if he's just too stoic for me...but I just didn't like him all that much. Dimitri seemed pretty dull and he lacked substance. I'm actually starting to wonder what I saw in him when I was reading the first series. His fighting skills? His (literary) good looks? His...in-love-ed-ness with Rose? I don't know. All I know is that at the end of Bloodlines I was really happy to see him, but halfway through The Golden Lily I stopped caring that he was around.
I did like most of the characters in this book though. Even though Dimitri was dull and lacked substance as a secondary used-to-be-main character, I didn't hate him. I didn't hate anybody really except Brayden. At first, I thought, "Oh, cool name! Sydney finally gets a date! She's just practicing for Adrian, yeah?" but that was before I realized how boring Brayden really is. He's just like Sydney in academic terms, but he's just so boring. His words could put me to sleep. And his first kiss with Sydney was just awkward and weird and just no. I did not like them together whatsoever.
I have to admit that this series really isn't as good as the Vampire Academy series. I think part of it--okay, a lot of it--has to do with the fact that I'm not a big fan of Sydney. She's just...finicky and I don't really know what to make of her. She's depicted as being so brilliant and smart, but she misses the simpliest things. The plot is so predictable, just like it was in Bloodlines, and it's hard for me to believe that someone so smart like Sydney could just let all those signs breeze over her head. She's not very aware of her surroundings, and I think that if it weren't for Eddie or Dimitri (maybe even Adrian?) then she'd already be dead.
But the ending. Just. That ending. I really can't even talk about how torturous that ending was for me. I read it, but I had to pause mid-way because I was just like, "This is so not happening. It's so not happening," and I took a break. I just set the book down and took deep breaths for a good five minutes before finishing the book. The ending was just so painful.
I will. I will drown with Syndrian if that's what it takes to get those two together. I heard The Indigo Spell, the next book, is a lot better than the first two, and that there's more Syndrian! I'm really hopig there is because I can't stand to see my Adrian being so sad. It's painful. I'm just so glad that I already have The Indigo Spell. I need to order The Fiery Heart. Like right now. I might die if I don't. I hope that Barnes & Noble shipping thing really is three days or else I will flip out.
Despite the fact that I just pretty much pointed out everything that bugged me about this book, I actually really liked it. A lot. I liked this book a lot. Or maybe I just liked Sydrian a lot. Who knows? I still think this series is a must read if you've read Vampire Academy.
"He shouldn't have said that," repeated Adrian, eerily serious. He leaned his face toward mine. "I don't care if he's not the emotional type or the complimentary type or what. No one can look at you in this dress, in all that fire and gold, and start talking about anachronisms. If I were him, I would have said, 'You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen walking this earth.'"You may now swoon.
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