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