The following review contains
my thoughts in a few sentences: Richelle Mead has a strong gift as a writer—she can make the most simple and basic of concepts into something dynamic and intriguing. She explores all the angstiness and vulnerability that tie into being a teenager, particularly when you’re a teenager heavily involved with the vampire community with so many expectations riding on your person. If you’re skeptical about whether or not this series can live up to Vampire Academy, then shame on you. THIS IS RICHELLE MEAD, PEOPLE. Sydney Sage is no Rose Hathaway, but is an equally complex, lovable character with so many facets and insecurities and dreams. Sydney is her own brand of specialness, and it’s just as fun reading a story from this analytical, brainy, soft-hearted character's point of view.
hooking first lines: "Most people would find being led into an underground bunker on a stormy night scary. Not me."
by Richelle Mead
The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series...
Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.
IT’S THE GOLDEN LILY, BABY
Fiiiinnally. This is the second sequel, and we’ve all been pining like crazy - this is the book we’re willing to make backdoor deals for and meet shady people if it got us closer to a copy. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead is so many things, among them is Sydney Sage's turmoil. Are her feelings toward vampires questionable and anything but objective? This is a girl who has her beliefs rocked every day—vampires can be humane, can be sweet and scared and open and kind. They aren’t all monsters. Even as one side of her is pulled toward this development, the other recoils because everything she has been taught, all the lessons brutally ingrained into her lifestyle, her mind, her choices would be a mistake, an almost outright lie if she were to totally give in. Her bitter struggles are difficult and mesmerizing because she slowly finds and will continue to find that she is nothing more than a soldier who must follow her commanders’ orders to the T, never allowed to think or breach their ways with discoveries of her own, and watching her doubt the very core of the person she thinks she is is both thrilling and upsetting. These people she works for may be more subtly corrupt than she ever thought possible. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead asks,
Who are the REAL monsters here?
Even though we can almost predict how this series is going to go down, I wouldn’t call Richelle Mead’s series formulaic or predictable. The general threads may be guessed at—there’ll be tragedy at this point, romantic spark here and between those two, it’ll be heartbreaking there—but in no way does Richelle Mead make us feel as if we’re reading the same story over again. Not only does reading from Sydney’s POV make that impossible—she is logical where Rose is impulsive, passive aggressive where Rose is brash and all fire—but this is a whole new spin on the vampire world we all know and love. This is a new side of things. We are learning more about the vampire-hating Alchemist humans, more about the other side of their organization, the dangerous side. The stakes are raised way higher because if we thought Dimitri Belikov and Rose Hathaway had even a small dose of the forbidden, Mead really BRINGS IT ON in this series. This takes forbidden to a whole new plane of existence. And the mysteries are even more convoluted, more frightening than what we’ve known.
It’s not Vampire Academy action-packed, but IT IS action-packed
Vampire Academy is all explosive, combat-driven action where there is any. There isn’t too much build-up; most of the time, the action catches us by surprise. In The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead it’s all very mystery novel-like, because there is something going on BEHIND the curtains that’s spooky and dangerous, and as we get closer to those curtains our heart is pounding, we’re puzzled, we’re trying to rationalize IT WON’T GO THERE. But it does. Things are getting even more perilous as more antagonists, ones of myth and buried in history, come to light and rock the story with kidnappings, random attacks, and a secretly genius world neither Alchemists nor vampires could have guessed at.
The romance is DYNAMITE
Richelle Mead NEVER does unbelievable chemistry, poor romantic sparks. Her romances so far are ALL ABOUT the chemistry. She builds up the sexual tension and the friendship and we’re leaning closer and closer as we wait for the explosion bound to happen.
Poor oblivious Sydney. Sydney is not just cool logic; Sydney is quite adorable. Dating tips are more believable when they come from books, okay. Guys are one of Sydney Sage’s Greatest Life Mysteries. She can’t figure them because they go by no sound pattern or formula, and this intrigues her. And when the electric looks and crackling brushes of flesh allude to something SO OBVIOUS, she has no clue. And even if she secretly does, she rebuffs the notion because it would be chaotic and impossible going THERE because what could be is taboo and shizz.
But, boy, every glance, innocent touch, heartfelt conversation is chockfull of confusion, sizzle, and hits so many tender notes. Sydney and the future Mr. Sydney complement each other so well; it almost makes us wonder how we never saw the possibility before Bloodlines. The sad truth is we are not geniuses like Richelle Mead, who understands her characters better than anyone.
If ever there was an expert…
…at dragging things out, it’s Richelle Mead. Because her stories don’t FEEL dragged out, tedious, and put there solely to keep the series going and flowin’. It seems as if there’s never enough going on, there’re too many things to say to fit in less than a handful of books. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead is a mass of loose threads waiting to be snapped up and tugged on so that behind the woven creature is something we never would’ve guessed at, a plot turn that totally takes us by surprise. She’s put them into play here, and we can only speculate as to what she’s going to do with each one.
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead raises the stakes just a bit higher than in Bloodlines, causing us to sweat just a little by the end. If we know Richelle like we think we do, heartbreak and shock and anguish is fast-approaching and completely inevitable.
Rating: Perfect Bed Partner