Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead
Release date: 12th June 2012
Publisher: Puffin Books
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads description:

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?

My thoughts:

I really liked Bloodlines so could not wait for the second installment of the series. I like Sydney more than I liked Rose, I find her more relatable which I think helps. It was great to see her grow, become more her own person and less of an alchemist clone, which is something we've seen happen slowly since she was first introduced; but I feel like she made some massive steps in this book. She's definitely tested a lot, emotionally, physically, intellectually and morally, but she always manages to do what she thinks is right, despite her struggles and she's fiercely loyal. I love how intelligent and smart she is, and it's nice to see her being less uptight.

I love all the other characters, but especially Adrian. He too grew a lot in this book and it was nice to see. He tried to change himself for Rose, but that always felt a bit forced, however this time it feels a lot more organic and I liked that. He was his usual quippy charming self, but he felt more in control,more responsible, less irrational than he could be in VA which was good. Like a better version of himself, in a way.  I was glad Dimitri didn't steal the show from him as I was always more of an Adrian fan. Sonia too I liked, though I wasn't completely enamoured with. I did love Angeline, I'm glad she was brought back because she's pretty cool. All the romantic elements were handled really well, I especially loved the blossoming romance between Sydney and Adrian. Adrian was so sweet and Sydney was so oblivious; it was just adorable to watch unfolding. All the little things he did for her, and she did for him, most of it without Sydney really noticing was just so cute. I think they're really good for each other; they both challenge each other in a good way, they lead each other to be better and they really get on well and understand each other.

Plotwise, I had similar issues with this as I did with Bloodlines; I really enjoyed the book and all the personal developments, but I felt the main mystery plot was a little lacking and a little obvious. I think part of this is down to the narrator; Sydney notices and mentions everything, yet seems not to have the ability to put everything she sees together. She makes the observations but never deduces anything from them. Whilst this style of narration might fit with her character, it leads to predictability and a slight feeling of weakness within the plot. I was a little disappointed by this. Having said that though, I love Richelle's writing style, I love the other aspects within the story and I love the characters, so I still enjoy reading the book, it just doesn't have that extra kick that I got from reading the Vampire Academy series.  

The ending was as big, if not bigger, than the ending of Bloodlines. I willed it to happen for the entire book and when it did I was like GASP but then what followed after made me go "nooooooo!!" I neeeeed the next book now, I need to see how this is resolved!!

I love Sydney and Adrian more than Rose and Dimitri, but in terms of plot and action, the Bloodlines series is a litle lacking in my opinion, which is why The Golden Lily lost a point on my rating.


  1. oh em gee!! I really can't wait to get my hands on this book!!!! It is my birthday tomorrow and I'm just crossing my fingers that someone will gift it to me ;D

    I love the VA series and this one too! Everything about it is amazing :D

  2. This is very similar to how I felt about this book. Loved all the character stuff but couldn't believe that Sydney wouldn't be putting all the clues together, plot wise.

    And the ending was fantastic and heartbreaking and everything I wanted.

  3. Totally agree about the obviousness. I loveee the characters like woah, but how predictable it was made it a bit disappointing.

  4. Can't wait to read this one. I did a bad thing and preordered it online. Which means it will take days and days to get to me! Even with member express shipping because they don't ship it today!

    Glad to hear that this one was good! I kind of see what you mean about the difference with this series and VA. Hoping to still love this though!

    Great review!!

  5. OMG!! I REALLY seriously can't wait to get this book ;) Glad you liked it though and thanks for sharing this awesome review :D
    xoxo, Mariam @Book-A-Holic

  6. I'm glad you liked it, but I'm sure I will feel similarly. I have it sitting right next to me and am about to start so am super excited! Great review!

  7. oh great review! I always thought Adrian changing for Rose felt a little forced, too, but I'm glad this one feels organic! I'm really excited for The Golden Lily and can't wait to read it!

  8. I think they're really good for each other; they both challenge each other in a good way, they lead each other to be better and they really get on well and understand each other.

    This right here is pretty much convincing me to give BLOODLINES a second chance. I gave it about 100 pages and put it down, I think, because Sidney wasn't Rose, and I wasn't ready to read a VA spin-off without Rose as the heroine. But now I'm thinking I might be. So...go you! You convinced me to hold out hope for loving this series!

  9. This, Sydney notices and mentions everything, yet seems not to have the ability to put everything she sees together, I didn't see until you mentioned and explained it. NOW I get it. And I kind of dig the way you explained it. Because it fits and I can see that would be irritating, and maybe a little untrue to the character.

    HOWEVER. I'm SUPER GLAD that Sydney and Adrian are working for you as much for me. Sydrian FTW <3 Together and separately :D

  10. The ending of this one sounds awesome! I can't wait to get started on it!

    I've always been a big Adrian fan too, and I never felt that Rose was right for him, so I'm hoping Sydney will endear herself to me in this book!

  11. Yes! I thought that the Bloodlines series is seriously lacking in action, and I agree about how the main mystery is a bit obvious and predictable. I really don't understand how someone as smart as Sydney can't put it all together. Overall I did enjoy the book. Nice review! :)

  12. I enjoyed reading your opinions of The Golden Lily! I didnt mind the lack or surprise because I'm a more character development lover of the books I read. Adrian and sydney are so amazing in this book! I loved feeling their relationship grow! Adrian-swoon! Awesome review Cait!

  13. You love Sydney more than Rose!? *le gasp* Rose is my favourite heroine ever but I do like Sydney too :) Oh yes that ending! I agree that the plot is a little lacking in this series especially compared to VA but the character development is great, glad you enjoyed it Cait and I enjoyed reading your thoughts!

  14. I just finished Bloodlines last night, and I couldn't help but immediately get online and buy The Golden Lily afterwards! Like you, I think I find Sydney easier to empathize with than Rose. Even though I liked the VA series, I felt like the Dimitri/Rose thing was dragged out a little too long, so I was ready for something new! Can't wait to read book two! :)

  15. I love Sydney and Adrian more than Rose and Dimitri too! I'm so, so, so excited for this book! I heard there's romance everywhere in TGL and I'm crossing my fingers that it's all about Sydney and Adrian. And omg to the ending! The way you said it, it feels like I already know what's gonna happen.

  16. Totally get what you mean about Sydney noticing, but not really connecting the dots. Which helped me guess the mystery pretty much when the first hints came to light. Sometimes that takes away from the story, but good god, I got to the point where I just didn't care because all I could think about was Sydney and Adrian. I just... they... I can't... CAIT. I WANT AN ADRIAN *wails*

    I effing love that guy. The entire chapter 24 was just... my heart can't handle it. I was FLYING. SO HAPPY. SO HAPPY And then... asdijfhsdnvklsd! Devestation. Why do I love those kind of endings? I mean, I HATE what they do to the characters, but I love the torment. Given what Richelle did in Shadow Kiss, I'm kind of excited and terrified to see what she has planned at the end of The Indigo Spell, if she follows the same 3rd book SHOCKER.

    ANYWHO. Amazing review, Cait!


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