Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)

Should she trust the Alchemists -- or her heart?

The Golden Lily, by Richelle Mead, is the second novel in the Bloodlines series. Sydney Sage, an Alchemist, is undercover as a high school student at a Californian-based boarding school to protect Jill Dragomir, a Moroi princess, from assassins who want to throw the Moroi kingdom into civil war. Formerly in disgrace for her association with vampires and dhampirs, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience among the Alchemists when she successfully investigated a tattoo ink shop using vampire magic.

She lives among other dhampirs (Dimitri, Eddie and Angeline) and Moroi (Adrian, Sonya) in the city. In this secret location, the spirit users (Adrian and Sonya) conduct experiments to find a cure for Strigoi victims. Once a Strigoi (an evil vampire with superhuman strength and fierce taste for blood) has returned to its normal form (Moroi, dhampir, or human), that person can no longer become Strigoi again. As Sydney becomes closer to her friends, she begins to question her centuries-old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of a normal teenage life, and which path should she follow. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may prevent--and even cure--Strigoi transformations.

But it’s her fear of being different and using magic that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a 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.

Bloodlines is a spin-off series from Vampire Academy that focuses on Sydney Sage, an alchemist and human teen who serves to protect vampire secrets and human lives. She bears proof of her Alchemist lineage with the golden lily tattoo on her cheek. She spent her entire life learning that vampires and dhampirs (half-vampires) are evil and unnatural beings, but those beliefs are put to the test when she must live among them in Palm Springs, CA.

Although Sydney was a minor character in the last two books of Vampire Academy, she has become a remarkable lead character in her own series. I am starting to admire Sydney in the same way I cheered for Rose in her efforts to reunite with her true love and former Strigoi, Dimitri. I love this series so much because Mead challenges and inspires her characters to face risks and overcome the odds. In the end, they become stronger, happier, and wiser individuals.

[Warning: this section contain spoilers.] There is also growing chemistry between Sydney and Adrian. Should a human and a Moroi engage in a romantic relationship? How can Sydney ignore Alchemist beliefs that she has ingrained for her entire life to love Adrian? In some ways, I am happy that Adrian can finally focus his attention on someone other than Rose Hathaway (from Vampire Academy series). Sydney and Adrian initially seem like an odd couple, but they do complement one another. Adrian was trying too hard to impress Rose, whereas he wants to become a better man because of Sydney. The book ends on a cliffhanger with a huge question mark on whether their relationship could possibly work. The next novel may address Sydney's status with the Alchemists. Meanwhile, I can't wait to learn more about the history behind the Warriors of Light, a group of guardians that splintered from the Alchemists.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Bloodlines series, The Indigo Spell. In the meantime, check out this latest Los Angeles Times interview with Richelle Mead. You can also find more information about the third novel in this MTV article.

Its release date is February 13, 2013. Eight more months! You can read the description here. Stay tuned!

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