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Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

by Richelle Mead

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Release Date: August 23, 2011

Publisher: Razorbill
Source: borrowed/Public Library
Purchase: Book Depo. | Amazon | Kindle
About the Book:

The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy.

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

I honestly don't know if my review will do this book justice. How is it possible, that so soon after putting down the last of the Vampire Academy saga, I've been drawn into another world, another main character's POV, another love interest as deeply and irrevocably as the first time? It's almost surreal. But Mead is THAT good. She masterfully blends characters new and old in this new spin-off series, WHILE maintaining that same wonderful and thrilling feeling that came with the first one. Even managing it with a heroine who is the COMPLETE opposite of the MC I've known and loved for so long!

I never thought I'd love again after Rose, but somehow, with Sydney, Richelle Mead made it work. She pulled it off. My transition from character-to-character went much more effortlessly then most people I've read about (in reviews) so far. It literally took me, like, ten pages to fall into Sydney's telling of the story currently unfolding. I think it helped that Sydney is a bit more relatable than Rose. She has insecurities like other girls, her life is less... Action Movie-like and more of a reflection of our reality. Something I think was imperative considering that alchemists are human--that connection had to be made. I thought I would be more reluctant, put up more of a mental fight against shifting over to another MC, but I found that I enjoyed Sydney not necessarily more--I love my Rose!--but differently and just as much. Just as powerfully effected and captivated by her story. Leading an alchemist life, I'll have you know, can sometimes be nearly as eventful as being a butt-kicking dhampir guardian--which both Sydney and Mead have exceptionally proven.

Mead skillfully wove in so many different problems to throw off the characters that I couldn't help but be glued to Bloodlines's pages BECAUSE SOMETHING IS ALWAYS GOING ON. Don't get me wrong, there's downtime (which, incidentally, manages to be interesting, too!). But Bloodlines is filled with so much action and mystery. More of the ins-and-outs of the vampire world are unveiled. It was wonderful, sinking back into this world, learning so much more about it. It's that spot in Bora Bora that you want to go back to time and again, because the magic, the awesomeness is addictive. And that slight familiarity that makes it comforting, too. I didn't have to sit there through pages of info-dumps--I was fairly acquainted with the world of the Moroi/dhampir. And it was exciting revisiting it with well-known and loved faces that are somehow fresh altogether.

These starring characters having their time in the spotlight gives them a depth they've never had before, one I wanted to explore further and further as the book progressed. Two of them characters I'd never thought I'd really cared to know more about. I liked them in previous VA books, but they never struck me as minor-MC material. Oddly enough, it felt great to be proven wrong. Jill is sweet and shy, a bit naive, and very teenagerly. Probably the most of out of the group. Sydney, while sometimes stiff and proper, endearingly responsible and efficient, surprised me with what's going on beneath the surface. I'm impressed and dazzled by her and I just want to know more. Adrian, yes, yes, YES, ADRIAN, returns for his role in Bloodlines, and I will admit that I've been secretly in love with him for a long time. He was always a great side in VA, but I loooove it that he plays a major role in this book. And Eddie, I was curious as to how his life was going to pan out after everything that occurred in VA, but now I'm definitely way more into him than I was before. With the benefit of a few cameos and new guest characters, Bloodlines is this incredible, seamless blend of the new/old, fresh/familiar.

And the romance... how I wish I could find it in me to delve deeper into the romance for this review... But, I cannot. It would totally be spoilery. HOWEVER, I will say that... I've had a sneaking suspicion as to the direction of the main romance, and I'm more than a little pleased. I'm touched. I'm ECSTATIC. For both soon-to-be couples that will, undoubtedly, be put through hell in the upcoming books.

And in the way of all Great and Torturous Authors, Mead ended Bloodlines exactly as it should have, though not entirely as expected, and with one HELL OF A CLIFFHANGER--but not a common one, that's for sure. I'm freaking out people. The release for The Golden Lily is the middle of 2012!!? It's so unfair, considering I read the VA conclusion followed swiftly by the opening to the new, fantastic spin-off! What am I supposed to do nooooww??

Then I realized Keith had froze up beside me. He'd claimed he could "handle" being around Moroi, but apparently, that meant staring gape-mouthed and not saying a word. Keeping a pleasant smile on, I said, "Keith, this is Adrian Ivashkov. Adrian, this is my colleague, Keith Darnell."
Adrian held out his hand, but Keith didn't shake it. Whether it was because Keith was still shell-shocked or because he simply didn't want to touch a vampire, I couldn't say. Adrian didn't seem to mind. He dropped his hand and took out a lighter, stepping past us as he did. He nodded toward the doorway.
"They're waiting for you. Go on in."Adrian leaned closed to Keith's ear and spoke in an ominous voice. "If. You. Dare." He poked Keith's shoulder and gave a "Muhahaha" kind of monster laugh. 
Keith nearly leapt ten feet in the air. (47)

Adrian studied each of them in turn and turned to me. "This is a law firm," he said in a low voice. "It specializes in divorce, doesn't it?"
"Yes," I said. 
He nodded and took a few moments to process the information. Then, to my horror, he leaned over me and said to the older woman, "He was a fool, clearly. You're a stunning, classy woman. Just wait. He'll be sorry." (257)