The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)-Should You Read It?

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/New Adult Paranormal

Rating: 4/5

This is the second book in the Bloodlines series and can also be classified as urban fantasy. While no one else I have seen will say this is a “new adult” genre novel, I place it there because the point of view character, Sydney, and potential love interest, Adrian, are 18 and 21 (or 220 respectively, which is a wobbly zone for being young adult versus new adult: So it’s both!

Just as great as the first novel, this novel picks up a month or so later. Sydney Sage, loyal alchemist and protector of the secret society of vampires (Moroi and Strigoi), aims to be an intellectual individual with at least some normal aspects of life. Her independent study teacher really begins to push her boundaries by having Sydney study small charms in witchcraft, on top of all her Alchemist work. It’s tough enough keeping Jill Dragomir, cousin to the Moroi queen, a secret, let alone adding witchcraft to the mix, and let’s not forget a new boyfriend!

Trey, a student at the boarding school Sydney is staying at, has found the literal perfect match for Sydney, a brainiac and lover of Greek and Roman history. When Sydney and Brayden begin their romantic relationship, they are both new to having another person around in a romantic way and are both a bit awkward about it.

When Adrian finds out, he love to make fun of Brayden, but could there be a hint of jealousy there for some reason? When Sydney offers to drive Adrian to meet his dad in a city a couple of hours away, she is drawn into lunch with them (at both her and Adrian’s misery) and sees firsthand just how Adrian’s father treats him. The drive back involves a slushee break to cheer Adrian up, but the small act seems to have greater impact than either of them anticipate.

The Halloween dance is ever looming, and the fashion designer that Jill had done some work for previously, continues to seek out and use Jill because she is perfect model material. The designer makes and sends beautiful costumes to Sydney and Jill in hopes of coaxing Sydney to let Jill model again, but to no avail. The costume Sydney receives is meant to be more of a Roman toga style, but resembles a flashy sexual dress that Sydney couldn’t ever imagine wearing (but she does). Adrian gets a glimpse and says she’s the most beautiful girl in the world, a comment she would rather have had from her boyfriend, Brayden, but does not get.

On top of all this good stuff, Sydney oversees Adrian, Sonya, and Dimitri’s experiments with spirit. They are aiming to find some link between spirit and the fact that a restored Strigoi cannot become a Strigoi again. During their experiments, Sonya and Sydney are attacked in an alley, and later, Sonya is actually captured as a known Strigoi by the Warriors of Light, a group once connected to the Alchemists.

The group, not believing Sonya to be back to Moroi form, aims to kill her. Sydney infiltrates their hideout with the help of Trey, a member of the Warriors, and is rescued by an organized group of Dhampir’s sent by Sydney’s superior. While Sonya is safe, something the leader of the Warrior said bothers Sydney, something about starting with Strigoi, but going after Moroi as well.

With a new threat on the horizon, Sydney finds that the Alchemist may be keeping a few too many secrets to themselves, and Jill may not be as safe as expected. With the mention of a name, Marcus, Sydney has something to go off of, to find a man who has seemingly left the alchemists and “broken” his tattoo.” On top of everything, Adrian finally admits his feelings, and while Sydney seems to feel the same way, she rejects him for the sake or tradition.

I absolutely love the pacing of this series as well as the conflicts. While there are ongoing issues that continue through the series (Such as Sydney and Adrian’s relationship, her family relationship, or what is going on in the Moroi world for Jill’s concern), there is always a plot that is contained within the novel itself. The books read very quickly, and the end always has some cliffhanger from the ongoing arcs that keep the reader itching for more. Mead’s craft is pretty good for the target audience, but I come across more typo’s and syntax errors in these books than I have seen in any other book for quite some time, which is one of the reasons I lower the rating of the novels. Despite how excellent these books are, I feel that I cannot give them a five just because there are more unique books or writers with better overall craft out there, but these are still some of my favorites, and I would highly recommend them! (And if you couldn’t guess by now, I would say YES, you should read this book).

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Bloodlines-Should You Read It?

Bloodlines_Novel.jpg (320×483)

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/New Adult Fiction/Paranormal

Rating: 4/5

While this is a spin-off series from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, it can still be read as its own series. I would highly recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first anyway, because this book has a lot of references and characters that first appear in Vampire Academy. One of the characters in the later part of the series, a supporting character, takes on a leading role in this series, and the main character, Sydney, reflects upon events that happened with her and the vampires during the Vampire  Academy series. Also, I had trouble deciding whether this should be young adult or new adult, because the main characters are 18 and 21, but the other characters are high school age and the predecessoing novels are young adult, so I put under both, because I think college-age would like this novel too.

After Lissa Dragomir becomes the Queen in their society, her cousin, Jill, is in grave danger. With the Vampire rule that a ruling monarch must have a living relative to hold the position, Jill’s life is attempted at to remove Lissa from the throne. Told from the first person perspective of Sydney, the Alchemist must keep the peace while aiding to hide Jill in Palm Springs.

Alchemists find Vampires to be against nature, their very existence a foreboding thing against God. Sydney is frightened of their use of magic, abnormal beauty, and blood diet, but even more foreboding are the Strigoi. Strigoi are the evil, corrupt version of the Vampire community who live forever and enjoy killing, while Moroi are the mortal elites, and Dhampirs are half human half Moroi.

With Sydney finding her latest assignment acting as Jill’s sister at a boarding school in Palm Springs and keeping Jill hidden and safe, she also notices a number of things. One is that everyone loves her tattoo and thinks it makes her super intelligent so she doesn’t have to try academically. When other students begin getting tattoos that make them high or enhance them physically, Sydney suspects the misuse of compounds made by her own association: the Alchemists. The other thing that she notices is that a strange sting of murders has happened in the area over the last few years. Could there be any connections here?

The only local Vampire in Palm Springs believes that his daughter, among those murdered, was killed by some vampire hunters. The odd thing is, vampire hunters seem like a thing of myth, since it is part of the Alchemists jobs to keep the Vampire world hidden. When the attacks appear to be from a Strigoi, Sydney and Adrian investigate, only to find that something even more shocking than a Strigoi OR vampire hunter has been behind the murders.

To keep the human world safe from the Vampire world, Sydney must learn to face her fear of Vampire magic and mystery, and fight to keep her job in Palm Springs. Jill and Adrian have some interesting secrets of their own, but Sydney finds that even though they are Vampires, she can possibly call them friends.

I was a bit wary of this book at first, thinking it may not be as good as the Vampire Academy series, but it was an excellent read. Like I said, you can read it on its own, but I would highly recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first because of the number of events and character appearances. This book is amazing, and shows what happens to Adrian after his heartbreak with Rose. That being said, Adrian was definitely one of my favorite characters from the original series, and I am glad he was able to get his own story, because he is an interesting character, and the development of both him and Sydney is superb. I can’t wait to read the next one!