Monday, December 2, 2013

REVIEW: "The Fiery Heart" by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
(Bloodlines #4)

Goodreads -- Amazon
Author Website

For Ages 13+
Young Adult -- Paranormal
Razorbill -- November 26, 2013
Hardcover, 438 pages
Purchased from Amazon

Vampires, Magic, Dual POV, First Person Narrative, Cliffhanger

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

"I won't lie.  Walking into a room and seeing your girlfriend reading a baby-name book can kind of make your heart stop."

Warning!!  This review contains spoilers for earlier books in the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series.

Every time I think Richelle Mead can't make me fall more in love with her Bloodlines series, she completely proves me wrong.  And I couldn't be happier about it!  The Fiery Heart takes place shortly after the conclusion of The Indigo Spell with Sydney and Adrian's worlds continuing to get more complicated.  I loved almost everything about this book from the evolution of Sydney and Adrian as characters and a couple to the side characters to the supernatural setting as a whole.

I have mentioned this in almost every review of a Bloodlines book, but I feel like it needs to be repeated.  I absolutely adore Sydney!  I am still a huge fan of Rose from Vampire Academy, but I connected with Sydney immediately and am so happy with the way that she is being developed.  This book showcases how much she has grown comfortable with the Moroi/dhampir world and that she is thinking for herself rather than relying on the Alchemists' rhetoric to run her life.  But, despite all these changes, it is still nice to see the main parts of her personality remain strong from her love of structure to her intelligence to her work ethic.

Adrian is just one of those characters that seems to jump from the pages in every scene he is in.  Like Sydney, he has evolved in a way that I did not think was possible upon his first meeting.  The Fiery Heart is very important for his character growth because he is forced to really look at his reliance on spirit and what it is doing to his mental state.  He takes some pretty big steps to showing others (besides Sydney) how valuable he is to the future of his race and I loved every minute of it.
An image of Sydney's face appeared in my mind's eye, calm and lovely, "I believe in you."  My anxiety faded.  I took a deep breath and met the gazes of all those watching me in the room.  Who was I to do this?  I was Adrian Ivashkov.  And I was about to kick some ass.
Something different in The Fiery Heart is the fact that it is told from both Sydney and Adrian's points of view.  The author has stated that it was important for the future of the series because of the growing scope of the plot.  I think it really makes the book stand out because, for the first time, readers are getting to see into Adrian's mind and truly understand his view of the world he lives in.  One thing that did surprise me when reading this book was how well-balanced the alternating pov chapters were.  Usually this writing style can make a reader feel rushed or annoyed, but that never happened to me.

Another thing that makes me love the Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series is the development of the side characters.  Long-time series fans have spent a lot of time with these people and it is wonderful to see them return.  I loved getting to see more of Jill, Angeline, and Trey.  Plus I have a huge soft spot for Eddie and my heart just broke for him at the end of the book.  He is such a strong guardian, but has some vulnerabilities that are hidden deep down.  It was also tons of fun to get some more interaction with Dimitri, Rose, Lissa, and Christian.
"Aren't you failing English?" I asked.Angeline flushed. "It's not my fault.""Even I know you can't write an article on Wikipedia and then use it as a source in your own essay." Sydney had been torn between horror and hysterics when she told me."I took 'primary source' to a whole new level!"
There are two main new secondary characters that I enjoyed meeting and seeing how they become a part of the larger cast.  First, there is Zoe Sage (Sydney's younger sister) who is sent to Palm Springs by the Alchemists to help her sister keep an eye on the Moroi.  Her appearance really complicates Sydney's life because she is forced to hide how close she has become with everyone.  Then, there's Neil, a new dhampir who is obsessed with his duty to the point of being an annoyance.  His straight-laced first impression hides someone who truly believes in their duty and wants to do anything to help.

The Fiery Heart continues to help develop two of the main plot lines in the series.  The Moroi are continuing to make advances in their attempts to use spirit to fight against the Strigoi.  This book brings about the possibility of immunization of Moroi and dhampirs which could be quite a change in the whole war.  Readers also get to see Sydney continue her work on breaking the mind control within the Alchemist tattoos with the help of her increasing magical prowess.  Both of these plot lines have taken major step forwards and I am excited to see where things go from here.

In conclusion, I continue to be impressed with this series and how it manages to keep the story lines fresh and the characters ever-changing.  Sydney and Adrian are amazing (together and individually) and Richelle Mead knows how to get the most of their collective personalities.  The only thing I have left to say is that I cannot believe I have to wait until July of 2014 to see what happens next especially because of that killer ending.  Highly recommended!!


--"Don’t take the high ground and assume you already know what you’ll do. The truth is, when it comes to someone you love, you’ll find there isn’t anything you won’t do."

--"Did Belikov bend the rules of time and space to get here so fast? He can do that, right?"

1. Bloodlines
2. The Golden Lily
3. The Indigo Spell
4. The Fiery Heart
5. Silver Shadows (Coming 2014)

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