The Golden Lily

 I don’t read that much Young Adult fiction, not because I don’t like it, but more because I don’t have children, so titles pass me by without much notice.

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!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Richelle Mead
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)



When I finished reading the Vampire Academy series, I knew Richelle Mead had created something very special.  She put her own original slant on the vampire mythos and blended Moroi, dhampir, humans and the evil Strigoi together in a common world.

Bloodlines focuses on the human Alchemists, the main character being someone we met in the last series.  It was great seeing Sydney Sage again, I already liked her despite her professional bias, and I’m glad Mead decided to explore this character more.  The book is from Sydney’s perspective and picks up after she’d returned home in disgrace for helping Rose Hathaway and Lissa Dragomir.

What follows is a touching story of Sydney doing her best to overcome years of instilled prejudice, trying to do the right thing and finally stand up for herself.  She’s not quite there yet but she comes a long way in this novel.  She is a brilliant character, well written and likeable; more so than in the last series, as we finally see the world through her eyes.

I loved the cameo from Rose Hathaway, as Sydney embarks on her mission.  It made me want to cheer and I understand why she couldn’t actually be a part of this story, as she wouldn’t have let anyone else get a word in!

There were other familiar characters that were part of the story and it was good to see them again and in more depth than before.

Adrian Ivashkov; my favourite Moroi playboy.  It was really good to see him again and I loved his role in the book.  He is a complex and interesting character and while his excesses might not be quite a thing of the past, this series is hopefully the start of something better for him.

Jill Mastrano is such a sweetheart and in the unenviable position of being Queen Lissa’s sister.  I think her emotions and actions are spot on for a fifteen year old girl and my heart aches for her as she struggles to find her own purpose and self worth, rather than just being the reason Lissa can hold her Throne.

Eddie Castille is along as Jill’s Guardian and it was great to see him play a larger role after everything he went through in the first series.  He is a solid, dependable character although I get the feeling there will be a bruised heart ahead for him.

The new characters are just as interesting.  The majority of the story is set in a human boarding school, and both friends and enemies are to be found there.  Although it’s not too different from St. Vladimir’s it has the added element of the major cast having to hide who and what they are.  The other Moroi and Alchemists we’re introduced to added yet another facet and I definitely had a love/hate feeling about them.

The actual story was well crafted and brought together several different elements, including how the human and vampire worlds interact or clash.  There is also a bit of a magical mystery in there too which was very nicely done, and I didn’t see the resolution of that coming until it was ultimately revealed.  The crime that Sydney just couldn’t ignore was the big shock and Mead hid several hints along the way that I can now only see, looking back.  The pace is fairly steady throughout, with a few exciting action scenes breaking up the tension the characters feel as they just try and stay safe.

I started reading the book this evening and it was so engaging, I couldn’t put it down.  Now I’ve finished, I just want more; I absolutely call Richelle Mead out as a tease with the very last line of the novel.  Especially when it causes me to make very undignified squealing noises for a woman my age!

A wonderful start to the new series and a book to be enjoyed by teenagers and adults alike.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Richelle Mead
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)