07 October, 2012

Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Series: Bloodlines #2
Genre: Paranormal
Format: Paperback, published June 12, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

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. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.
Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh 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 ones 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? - Summary from Goodreads

My Review:

Once again, I expected to love this second addition to The Vampire Academy spinoff series, Bloodlines, despite being disappointed by the first. Sadly, I was once again disappointed. My feelings for this book are all over the map and this is one of the most difficult and perhaps incoherent reviews I've ever written. I realize that I'm certainly a minority in the YA blogging community for not going gaga for this series. I guess I can't get past the premise of this series to enjoy the heart of this story.

Putting vampires into a Californian high school and expecting a teenage human girl to run the entire operation of babysitting some princess is kind of an asinine premise. I'm sorry. Had to say it. The first half of The Golden Lily was about Sydney babysitting an annoying Jill, watching an annoying love square unfold, and then going on a few dates with this weird guy who is like Sydney but with a whats-it. The plot was laid out early with extremely obvious foreshadowing, but nothing was done with it until the last bit of the book. I had to force myself to finish and for some crazy reason I was glad to have done so (for Adrian).

That was my reaction to the book, scribbled down along with a few potty words, until I read reviews after having finished. I was too blinded by my annoyance to really see the point of this book. It does what nearly every second book in a series does, have little plot and function as a bridge between the first and third. But this bridge, this fantastically subtle bridge, is the relationship of Sydney and Adrian. There is really something great going on there. Something mature and unlike YA insta-love. And it makes me want to read more. (I never thought I'd say that about this series again.)

Yeah, I wasn't crazy about it, but now after having finished, I appreciate its subplot immensely. I recommend The Golden Lily if you are one of those screaming teary-eyed girls who want to ravish Adrian whole. But, you've probably already read it if you are one of them. So, if you haven't picked up this series then I say 'meh' to you. Do it with caution, but only if you enjoyed The Vampire Academy series.

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