The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

This is the second book of the Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead, which is actually a spin off from the well known series, The Vampire Academy.  Both series are young adult urban fantasies that are centered on the vampire world.  There are three different types of vampires in this world: Moroi, Dhampirs, and Strigoi and the society of humans that help to keep it all secret: the Alchemists.  The Vampire Academy shows the struggle between the good, pure Moroi; the turned, corrupted Strigoi; and the half vampire protectors Dhampir from the point of view of a female student dhampir, Rose.  This is definitely a series to read and is extremely helpful as a prerequisite to enjoying the Bloodlines Series. To read the book cover of Vampire Academy click here, to read the book cover of Bloodlines click here, and to read the book cover of The Golden Lily click here.

The Bloodlines Series is centered on the point of view of a young alchemist named Sydney who is just starting out on her own and has a lot to prove to her family, her peers, and ultimately to herself.  She is in charge of Jill, who is the only living relative of the Moroi Queen; the misunderstood Adrian who is a Moroi and shadow-kissed Jill to him; Eddie who is the dhampir protector of Jill; and Angeline, a new dhampir recruit from the sticks.  The group are posing as siblings/cousins at a boarding school in Palm Springs, CA to hide Jill from those of the court that would like to kill the only relative of a very new, young, and liberal thinking Queen Lissa.

In this book, Sydney is struggling with what she was always taught to believe was true, and what she is discovering for herself.  Alchemists believe that the vampire world needs to be contained and kept secret from affecting human society, but that they are still an alien species that has to be kept at an objective distance.  However, this pretend family has developed some real emotional ties to each other that are compromising everything that keeps Sydney safe in the alchemist world, especial with Adrian.

Sydney has always craved approval from her father for her superior achievements throughout her lifetime training as an alchemist, but no matter what she does it never seems good enough for him to give any praise because that is what is expected of the position.  Because of this, Sydney has developed a really strict standard of herself from the way she thinks and acts to the way she eats and views her body; she just doesn’t know how to have fun.  Fun has never been an obstacle for Adrian; he has always been the irresponsible party boy.  Adrian possesses the rare gift of spirit that leaves the Moroi with an unappreciated and misunderstood reputation with all the others because it is not as flashy of a gift and it takes its toll on the individuals’ mental status.  Like Sydney, he has always been a disappointment to his father and is never good enough.  Because of their differences and similarities, the two would make a perfect pair to balance each other out, but the big obstacle remains: Adrian is a Moroi vampire and Sydney is a human alchemist.

Sydney has seen firsthand what can happen to an alchemist that starts to sympathize with the vampires, so she fights against what truly makes her happy to walk the line of propriety.  The more she is around her vampire “family” and sees the extreme human activists, the more she starts to question the morals and values she has been taught.

In her role as a student in the posh boarding school, Sydney has taken up as a teacher’s aide for her history teacher Ms. Terwilliger.  What Sydney didn’t realize till it was too late was that Ms. Terwilliger is a practicing witch that has seen magical potential in Sydney and has decided to teach her about magic and spells whether she wants to learn or not.  The only reason Sydney goes along with it is because of the professional mentality she has and the sense of obligation and duty to keep her role as student genuine without drawing attention to her actual position.  It turns out that Ms. Terwilliger knows all about the vampire world and still insists on Sydney learning how to understand and perform spells for reasons she has yet to understand.  In dire situations, Sydney is starting to see the usefulness in the blasphemous spells and starts to take initiative in creating a couple for future situations.  The more and more she learns and absorbs about these traitors thoughts and actions, the more she starts to question the traditions that are held so dear to the alchemists’ way.

Sydney has just heard about an ex-alchemist that is trying to do good without adhering to all the laws that have been put in place by the strict standards of the alchemists.  Will she start to become a more independent thinker and perhaps meet up with this rebel to join his cause that could potentially allow her to seek a relationship with Adrian?  I think that is where it will head.  It is really the only course of events that can take place for the two to be together, but I am sure that Richelle Mead will throw in several curve balls along the way, like she is oh so good at doing.

Sydney hasn’t really had an active personal life, so she is really naive when it comes to guys and dating.  There are several big clues throughout the book that Adrian is starting to crush on her and that she would be perfect for him, but she just doesn’t see them all.  At the end of the book I just really wanted to yell at Sydney that for being an intelligent and rational individual, she can be a really blind idiot!  Richelle Mead does a good job of building a story up and then leaves you so aggravated at the last page that you are extremely anxious for the next book, which will be titled The Indigo Spell.  I can’t wait to see where the relationship goes with Sydney and Adrian.

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