Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily

Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines, #2
Summary: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. Alchemists protect vampire secrets--and humans lives.

Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she's been sent into hiding at a boarding school in Palm Springs, California--tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age-old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi--the fiercest vampires, the one's who don't die. But it's her fear of being just that--special, magical, powerful--that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else--someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney's loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

Should she trust the Alchemists--or her heart?

Review

I cannot say enough about how glad I am that Richelle Mead continued this amazing world she created from Sydney's point of view. Ever since I started this series, I have been completely engrossed in it. I'm sucked in from the very first page and I can't put it down until I'm through. It was that way with all of the Vampire Academy books in Roses point of view, and then Bloodlines from Sydney's, and now The Golden Lily (also in the point of view from Sydney). 

The book begins with Sydney at the Alchemist headquarters where she sees a crazed Keith, who has been in Rehabilitation, pleading for them not to take him back to that dreadful place. Sydney is immediately scared for her own life, because if the Alchemists were treating Keith this way when he hated vampires, what would they do to her if they knew just how close she had become to the ones she was protecting. 

After being scared out of her wits, she arrives back in Palm Springs, only to jump into another mess with the vampires, who are tagged as Sydney's family members at the boarding school she attends. Not long after returning to Palm Springs, she and the vampires set to work, trying to find a reason as to why those Strigoi turned back into Moroi and dhampirs cannot turn back into a Strigoi. Some begin believing that Sydney holds the key to finding the answer to this question when they realize that the Strigoi could not stand to drink her blood, but Sydney refuses to give up any of her blood to the vampires. No matter the cause.Then Jill begins acting strange towards Sydney, getting a dreamy look on her face and randomly giving Sydney compliments. Not only does Sydney have to balance all of this, but Angeline continuously gets into trouble with the school board, almost getting herself kicked out several times, if it weren't for Sydney's quick-witted nature. And she's trying to keep her emotions and beliefs at bay, while her instincts are beginning to tell her that the vampires aren't any worse than humans, and in fact, some humans are far worse. During all of the crazed drama, Sydney meets a cute, brainy, and human boy named Brayden and they begin dating. But it seems that every time they are supposed to meet up, Sydney has a "family emergency" and can't make it. Through all of this Sydney keeps herself together, and I love that. She's such a strong heroine, always coming to the rescue of those in need, even those that have been deemed evil by the people she's committed her life to, including her family. And the thing that scares her the most, is that she's beginning to question everything she's been taught her whole life, and may even be falling for someone who is absolutely, one hundred percent forbidden to her. But then, there is a terrible attack and one of the vampires is taken and believed to be Strigoi. Sydney, Eddie, Adrian, and even the Alchemists team up together to find where the captured was taken, and Sydney finds herself crossing the line between work and friendship to save the vampires who have become like family to her and she finds a strength in herself that she never knew she had.

The Golden Lily is the perfect sequel to Bloodlines, and it lived up to every one of my expectations. Exceeded them even. I loved every minute of it, and when I was finished, I was dying to read more. I can't wait to find out what happens with her and Adrian, how she is going to handle her beliefs toward the vampires, and if the Alchemists will finally realize that not all vampires are bad. And just what will happen to what I will call the "other group" for the sake of this review and not wanting to give too much away. I think there's going to be a whole lot of kick-ass action in the next installment (or at least I'm hoping!). Not to mention, I think we will finally discover just what it is about Sydney that makes her so special: why the Strigoi couldn't drink her blood without being sick, and why she's able to do magic with such ease. I'm also interested to learn what it is that makes it impossible for someone who has been turned back from Strigoi to turn back into one, and if maybe Sydney's blood really does hold the key to discovering what that is. I guess you could say that I absolutely loved this book and I'm DYING to read the next in this series!


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-Kelly