OK… I don’t usually post twice in the same day. Heck, it’s been forever since I posted twice in the same week! But I just have to talk about The Golden Lily. This book by Richelle Mead just came out yesterday, and I’ve already devoured the whole thing. It is the second book in the Bloodlines series, and I’ve been waiting for it for over a year.
I cannot say enough good things about this series. I really, really love it. It is a spin-off series from her Vampire Academy novels. Now, the VA books were good. I enjoyed Rose as a kick-butt heroine, and the world was a unique take on vampires (even though I thought that the title Vampire Academy was kinda lame, and that actually turned me off of reading them for a while). But I have to say, as good as the VA books were, I love the Bloodlines series even more. Here are some reasons why:
- The main character — Sydney is awesome. I love that she is a powerful female character with agency, but her power comes from intelligence and from a desire to help people and put others first, instead of from an ability to beat people up. I like female heroines (like Buffy or Rose) who can beat people up, too, but it’s nice to see somoene different. And I can relate more to Sydney and her social awkwardness and intelligence more than to the kick-butt girls, too.
- The leading male character — I was always a fan of Adrian. From the first time he came on the page in the VA books (I think it was in Frostbite), I knew there was something there. I never rooted for him and Rose as a couple; to me they just didn’t mesh. But Adrian and Sydney… now there is a couple. And I love that Adrian gets so much more screen time in this series. And so many more snarky comments. And time to grow into his own person — the more well-adjusted version of himself that we know is out there.
- Amberwood Academy — Having our vampire, half-vamp, and Alchemist characters blending into the human world is a different perspective that really benefits the series. VA was the insider’s view of the vampire world. The Bloodlines series is more the outsiders view. Some of the stuff that was common place in VA is looked at in a different light here.
- The addition of more supernatural in the world that just vampires — here come witches, not to mention the human vampire hunters (Clarence wasn’t crazy after all!).
- Alchemists — Secret societies are so fascinating. They intrigued me in the VA series, so I love getting the insider track on them in the Bloodlines series.
Sometimes, the second offering in a series is weak, but The Golden Lily was not. I actually may have enjoyed it more than Bloodlines. In TGL, the romance went up a notch. That Sydney/Adrian chemistry really ramps up. And Sydney is so adorably clueless when it comes to romance, either with human Braden, with vampire Adrian, or between the others in their little group (Michah/Jill/Eddie/Angelina). It was nice seeing Dmitri again, but I was happy he did not overshadow my Adrian this time around. I also thought the mystery in TGL was fairly well plotted.
I cannot wait to see where this series goes next. I love how Mead is throwing all the taboos out there — human/vampire romance, Alchemist/vamipre friendships, human vampire hunter/Alchemist friendships, humans using magic… Everyone in these books is going to have to face some hard choices, and it will be fascinating to see what they do. Is Sydney going to end up in a re-education camp? Will she become a witch? Will she leave the Alchemists? Will she ever stand up to her father?
The only bad thing is that I guess I will be waiting another year before the next book in this series comes out. I’ve heard there will be 6 books total, like in the VA series. Why, oh why, must I wait so long? That is the curse of getting so attached to a series that has not been completed yet. Oh, the waiting! I know from her blog that Mead is writing another book before she starts on the next book in this series. **sigh**
But, despite that, I think that if you like Y/A, you’ll enjoy Bloodlines and The Golden Lily. Honestly, you could actually read them without having read the VA series. Now, I’d recommend reading both series in order, but if Rose and her saga don’t seem up your alley, you can still enjoy Sydney’s story. It would spoil VA for you, but enjoy info about the past is provided that you wouldn’t be lost.
Happy reading, everyone!