Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series however, was one I got very enthusiastic about, absolutely loved, and was so sad when it finished. Thankfully she decided to write another series, this time featuring some of the minor characters. It began with Bloodlines and The Golden Lily is the second book in the new series, and I absolutely loved it from beginning to end!
As an Alchemist, charged with hiding Princess Jill Dragomir at a human boarding school, Sydney Sage is finding it increasingly hard to sustain the strict beliefs drilled into her from a young age. That belief, that Moroi and Dhampirs are unnatural beings and should be kept separate from humans, is tested to breaking point as she grows close and emotionally involved with a group she is trying to protect.
Sydney became a much more likeable character in the first book but for me, this is the book where I fully put my belief in her. She grows so much as a person in her own right rather than ‘An Alchemist following orders’. The fictional and dysfunctional family the group hides as have really captured my heart and even though my favourite badass and former Strigoi Guardian appears, it didn’t take over the story. Sydney is breaking out of her indoctrinated beliefs and rules about Moroi and Dhampir’s and she clearly cares for her charges. She has a lot of responsibility but she bears it well and at times with a lot of humour.
Jill is still a sweetheart and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. She is coming out of her shell a lot more and finding out who she is rather than what she represents. She is also still a fifteen year old girl with hopes and dreams, so that causes problems all of it’s own. Eddie is Jill’s Guardian but is also posing as her brother. I have no idea what is going to happen there… I know what I want! But sadly I don’t always get what I want
Adrian, ah… I could write paragraphs about him. He is a character that both irritates and makes me want to cry. He has so little belief in himself and with everything that happened in Last Sacrifice, he is at an all time low. I love the way Sydney interacts with him, at first assuming what everyone else does about him, but then as she takes the time to listen, she gets to know the real Adrian, the one we see so rarely and is startlingly brilliant.
The story was wonderful, I loved learning more of the history of the Alchemists but just get more angry at their rigid and hidebound beliefs, not to mention their punishment methods. I’m hoping there will be a big shake up happening there soon and it will be stamped with the name of Sydney Sage!
Mead’s writing is so easy to read, engaging and powerful without being wordy. She doesn’t dumb things down either, which means it can be enjoyed by both young and adults alike. Her style just drags you in and doesn’t let go until you are finished and leaves you wanting more; always needing to know what happens next.
There are some fascinating threads introduced in this book that I think will play out in the next book, and I honestly cannot wait!