Publishing Info: June 12, 2012 by Penguin
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 20, 2013
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1), The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)
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.
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?
Okay, I will say that I enjoyed THE GOLDEN LILY more than BLOODLINES, but at the same time I still had the some of the same issues. Sydney is a good heroine for these novels, but I’m still not quite convinced on how much I like her. She definitely has some deep-seeded personal issues that stem from the strict rules of the Alchemists and these issues make her more reserved which gets a bit tiresome at times. She’s incredibly intelligent and studious, but so much so that it makes her incredibly naive and unaware of social surroundings. All of that kind of got on my nerves so I was still having a little trouble really supporting Sydney – The good thing about all of that is that slowly but surely, Sydney is really starting to come into her own ideas and beliefs and question the rigidity of the Alchemists’ beliefs, like any good MC does.
I definitely liked where the plot was heading in THE GOLDEN LILY. We see a few more secrets unearthed and some more truths come to light that really puts an interesting twist on the relationship between the vampire community and the Alchemists. I really enjoyed some of the plot twists, but at the same time, I can’t help but compare the series so far to that of Vampire Academy and in doing so, I’m just not as into it as I was with VA. Sydney’s world is still intertwined with the Moroi and dhampirs, but when we were following Rose’s story, we got to see the school atmosphere where she was learning how to be a guardian and I really felt like that explanation and creation of the vampire world added a whole separate aspect to the story that I’m missing with BLOODLINES so far. I’m not feeling as connected with the world of the Alchemists because Sydney is actually removed from it and attending a normal school.
Overall in the series so far, I feel a general lack of action-packed scenes. I think normally, I wouldn’t have noticed the difference, but after coming off the jam-packed thrill ride that was Vampire Academy, I’m just missing all of those different fight scenes. There’s also a lack of “OMG moments” that were so prevalent in VA that I’m still missing in BLOODLINES as well.
As far as secondary characters and their story lines go, I’m kind of take it or leave it. Adrian is still a great main character and I’m loving how much more we see of him in BLOODLINES and THE GOLDEN LILY, but I’m pretty much ambivalent about Eddie and Jill, and I’m actively disliking Angeline. I AM more interested in Trey, especially after his character’s development in THE GOLDEN LILY, so I’m really curious to see his role in future books.
Sydney Sage: Sydney is still pretty blah for me. I’m kind of over the plain-clothes jokes and how clueless she is about picking up on social cues. I mean, I get it. I guess in her Alchemist training it really wasn’t a part of her life. Still, I’m hoping she’ll just hurry up and become a little more normal because whereas it was just okay in the first book, it started to really wear on me in TGL.
Adrian Ivashkov: Yay Adrian! He really has the best lines. Ever. They’re so snarky and sarcastic and absolutely hilarious. He’s becoming such a great, well-rounded character.
Brayden: Oh. My. Gosh. Hated him. So incredibly boring and pretentious.
I’m not TOTALLY sold yet but Richelle Mead’s books are always enjoyable! If you’re a VA fan, chances are you’ll still really enjoy this series too!