Friday, August 10, 2012

REVIEW: "The Golden Lily" by Richelle Mead


The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
(Bloodlines #2)

Young Adult -- Paranormal
For Ages 13+
Steam Level: Kisses 

Razorbill -- June 12, 2012
Hardcover, 418 pages

Rating: 5 Stars



SUMMARY

The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series.

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

MY THOUGHTS

***WARNING: REVIEW MAY CONTAIN MINOR SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES, BLOODLINES***

The last time we saw Sydney Sage she was helping thwart her fellow alchemist's blood-trafficking ring and trying to balance her own mission with some remnants of a high school life.  She has been assigned to assist a group of Moroi (including the Queen's sister) in hiding out from would-be political assassins at a Palm Springs boarding school, but her close interactions with the Moroi and dhampirs have started to make her question her alchemist upbringing.

I absolutely loved this book!  Richelle Mead is truly a master at providing relatable characters that grow as people while dealing with some pretty difficult situations.  The relationships between the characters is highly entertaining and always with an eye towards the greater storyline.  I will admit that this book doesn't have the action that the last Bloodlines book or the Vampire Academy series had, but it was still wonderful because of the character interactions.

Sydney Sage continues to a character I truly admire and want to see succeed.  She really grows in this book and I personally can't wait to see where Mead goes with her next.  In The Golden Lily, readers see Sydney start to become more comfortable with her mission and her daily interactions with the Moroi and the dhampirs.  She still has moments of panic (especially with the whole blood drinking thing), but those are rare occasions at this point. 

Sydney also grows stronger in her own confidence.  It was obvious in earlier books that she has a low opinion of herself which is proved by her obsession with her weight.  By meeting a guy who is seemingly her perfect match, Sydney gets to actually have a social life and enjoy herself.  I was also fascinated by the way Mead showed her doubts emerging about the true purpose of the Alchemists and whether she can still blindly follow her elders.  The alchemists are some pretty scary people and I can see some major action when all of the prejudice comes to a head. 

And then there's the wonderful Adrian!  His character goes through both high and low points in this book which shows what a complex person he is.  The appearance of Adrian's father and super-dhampir Dimitri really decreases the little self-confidence that Adrian gained in Bloodlines.  I personally found the visit with Mr. Ivashkov to be heartbreaking and just wanted to reach into the pages to give Adrian a big hug.  While these were not easy scenes to read, they were very important in establishing why Adrian acts the way that he does.  But, unlike the Vampire Academy books, Adrian is not allowed to wallow in his own despair for long because he has his growing relationships with Jill and Sydney.  His big brother-like feelings for Jill are very sweet and show how mature Adrian really can be.   

The Sydney/Adrian relationship really takes center stage in this book.  I am loving how Richelle Mead is depicting this couple(?) with them starting out as acquaintances and then becoming friends.  The Golden Lily shows quite a few signs that their friendship is beginning to become something more and I couldn't be happier.  They may be opposites in terms of their species and personalities, but they really bring out the best in each other without judging.  I also like the fact that this "romance" is super forbidden in the world of Moroi, alchemists, and dhampirs. 

The secondary characters also are a major part of this book.  Jill Dragomir is becoming more mature and makes some surprisingly adult decisions regarding her life at Amberwood Prep.  I am also seriously adoring Eddie and his devotion to Jill.  That is one couple I am definitely rooting for!  Angeline, the Keeper turned guardian in training from the Vampire Academy series, is highly entertaining yet admirable with her adjustments to life outside of her isolated community.  And, of course, there are some wonderful appearances by the lovely Dimitri and former Strigoi Sonya Karp while they work with Adrian to figure out a way to use spirit magic to prevent Strigoi transformations. 

As I mentioned above, there isn't as much action in this book as in the first one.  There is only one major battle scene though it was pretty suspenseful on its own.  The book consists mainly of minor subplots (mentioned above) along with the addition of a new group to the already complicated world of Moroi, Strigoi, dhampirs, and alchemists.  I definitely adored this book and can't wait until February when I get to see more of Sydney, Adrian, and the gang in The Indigo Spell.


 FAVORITE QUOTES

"Sage," he said. "What are you wearing?"
I sighed and stared down at the dress. "I know. It's red. Don't start. I'm tired of hearing about it."
"Funny," he said. "I don't think I could ever get tired of looking at it."




"I tried to be a better person for her—but it was to impress her, to get her to want me. But when I’m around you, I want to be better because… well, because it feels right. Because I want to. You make me want to become something greater than myself. I want to excel. You inspire me in every act, every word, every glance. I look at you, and you’re like… like light made into flesh. I said it on Halloween and meant every word: you are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen walking this earth. And you don’t even know it. You have no clue how beautiful you are or how brightly you shine."


SERIES INFORMATION

Bloodlines
2. The Golden Lily
3. The Indigo Spell (To Be Released February 2013)

SIMILAR TITLES

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep
Divergent series by Veronica Roth

3 comments:

  1. I really loved how much we got to know Adrian in this book, you got to see behind why he was the way he was, and it just made me fall more in love with him, although I have always been a Dimitri girl at heart lol, Great review!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved this book as well, and your review really does it justice!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just finished this book and I completely agree with you! I love Adrian and I can't wait to read more. Great review!

    World of Books

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