Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Release Date: 8/23/11
Publisher: Penguin Group
Blood doesn't lie...
Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning...
Over the years, I've prided myself as being a huge fan of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. Even now, years after its end, I enjoy reading about Rose and Dimitri and the gang. However, because I am such a big fan of Rose, I've been hesitant to start reading Bloodlines. I'm ashamed to say this book has been sitting in my closet next to my other books gathering dust. I didn't want to read unless it was about Rose and Dimitri and if I'm being honest, I always believed Adrian was meant for Rose. Which doesn't make sense because I love Rose with Dimitri...and see? Here I go, getting caught up with the VA series. Anyway, bottom line, I didn't find the idea of Adrian and Sydney as a couple appealing, which was obviously going to happen in the Bloodlines Series. But! Here I am now, giving in, only because I know The Golden Lily is coming out on Tuesday, and I want to be excited. Also, Richelle Mead is coming to Houston, therefore I must have myself prepared! So, now on with my opinion of Bloodlines...
Like I said, I wasn't sure how I'd take this book because of my bias, but once again Richelle Mead has concocted a masterpiece. She has such a way of writing that it feels like you're actually listening to someone tell you the story. It's a simplistic way of writing that is entertaining and welcoming. It's not hard to read at all, but instead very easy to get into the book and get lost in the world of Moroi, dhampirs, Strigoi and alchemists.
I have to say that I also enjoyed Sydney's point of view. Having read a lot of reviews on this book before reading the actual book, I knew others had seen a drastic change between Rose and Sydney as narrators. I have to say I agree with them. While Rose acts before thinking things through, Sydney spends most of her time analyzing her actions and the consequences ahead. While this was a big change, it wasn't a bad one. I found myself getting used to Sydney right away, and I liked that she was chosen as the narrator for this spin-off series. She's more interesting than I thought she would be, having only gotten a taste of her character from the Vampire Academy Series. It's interesting seeing another side of the Vampire Academy world, and I look forward to reading The Golden Lily.
As for the plot, I thought it was well planned out and I was surprised at how this book pulled a fast one on me. Very rarely does a book involving mystery actually keep me guessing at who the culprit is, yet this book was able to do so. And, just when I thought the mystery was solved, a twist was thrown at me and I was left wondering what the heck was going on. But what else should I have expected from Richelle Mead? I will never stop giving this author compliments because she is such a master at writing books!
Last but not least, I must mention the characters. Adrian, who I thought I knew in depth from reading about him in the VA series, is not as one-sided as he appeared to be. Yes, he is hilarious and has the almost child-like ability to make light of any situation, but in Bloodlines we see that he is capable of being hurt and brought down. Thankfully, his emotional scars from the VA series are healing slowly, but surely...at least until the last chapter. And then there's Eddie, Jill, and the new characters that are introduced, like Micah, Keith, and Lee. I was surprised by Jill in this novel. Because of the little time she was given in Richelle's earlier books, I didn't know what to think of her, but this book went into depth about her character, and I've come to like her a lot. I had always liked Eddie, but I like his character even more now, having seen the growth of his character through the process of becoming a guardian. The secondary characters all fit into the story well and all play a crucial part in the plot. It's nice to see it all play out. I also liked the angle of Micah being roommates with Eddie. His striking resemblance to Mason brought a sad smile to my face.
The one thing though that stuck out to me the most is the development of the character relationships. I can't mention how much I really liked the relationships between each of the characters. While they're not all completely friendly yet, because of certain complications, it was a pleasure to see them grow together.
Bloodlines was a happy surprise. I didn't expect myself to like this book as much as I did because of my loyalty to The Vampire Academy series, but I think I've come to the conclusions that I will enjoy any of Richelle Mead's books. She's just that good. The Golden Lily comes out this Tuesday and you can bet that I'll be at Barnes and Noble buying a copy as soon as I can.