Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6)

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.

The Ruby Circle , by Richelle Mead, is the last novel in the Bloodlines series. After their secret romance has been exposed to the world, Syndey and Adrian seek refuge as a newly married couple in the Moroi court under Lissa's protection. In the previous novel (Silver Shadows, the couple sought protection from the Alchemists, who were chasing them across the country for Sydney's escape from Re-Education. However, when the life of someone they love (Jill, the half-sister of the Moroi Queen) has been kidnapped, they must risk everything to hunt down a dangerous enemy from the past. Sydney uses all the powers she to unravel the mystery behind Jill's disappearance, and Adrian tries to support in every way possible.

Meanwhile, Adrian tries to help Nina locate her missing dhampir sister, who has fallen off the radar under mysterious circumstances. In the process, Adrian stumbles upon a shocking secret about the power of spirit magic, one that can shake up the entire Moroi world. The strong supporting cast (yes, folks, Rose and Dmitri have more prominent roles in this novel) journeys with Sydney and Adrian back to California where it all began in Bloodlines.

First, I want to say that I love Richelle Mead's writing style. I am a major fan of Vampire Academy, Bloodlines, and Age of X series. With that said, The Ruby Circle had its good and bad moments. The good moments tied up some plotlines (Adrian and Sydney are no longer wanted criminals and are a complete family with a baby -- how that happens is revealed in the novel). The bad moments include parts with no explanation or closure: anti-Strigoi vaccine, spirit magic's effects on dhampirs who were former Strigoi, the Jill/Eddie romance, and the Alchemist/Warriors connection. The novel felt rushed and did not provide enough closure on these bad moments. Will there be short stories (or another book series, maybe around Jill and Eddie?) in the future to tie up these loose ends? We don't know, but I hope Mead considers it. Bloodlines over time became a beloved series like Vampire Academy, yet the latter (The Last Promise) in my opinion had a better ending (I loved it so much that I still have a hardcover of TLP on my bookshelf).

Nonetheless, I am grateful that I started Bloodlines because it revealed a few surprises. It was amazing to see how Sydney Sage changed so much as a individual, from loyal Alchemist to her own person with magical powers. The Sydney in Vampire Academy would have never challenged authority or hang around Moroi/dhampirs, let alone marry one! Yet, that is what she did as she began to gradually unravel the truth of the Alchemists. I admire her determination, resolve, and intellect change the system so that she can pursue her own dreams and happiness. That is the biggest takeaway from Bloodlines: Don't conform to the status quo. Don't be afraid to explore the unknown. Most importantly, follow your heart.

Stay tuned for more updates on future novels by Richelle Mead. I don't believe this is the last novel we will hear about Sydney, Adrian, Rose, and Dmitri!

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