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I Belong


Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Title: The Golden Lily

Author: Richelle Mead

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Bloodlines (Book 2)

Publication Date: June 12, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 418 Pages

ISBN-10: 1595143181 (Penguin/Razorbill)

ISBN-13: 978-1595143181 (Penguin/Razorbill)

Reviewed by: Michelle

Synopsis:

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?

Quick & Dirty: A great follow up to a spin off series, filled with emotion, adventure, and well-rounded characters.

Opening Sentence: Most people would find being led into an underground bunker on a stormy night scary.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Richelle Mead captivated me with her Vampire Academy series. With her latest series, Bloodlines, it solidified my fangirl status for her writing, stories, and characters. In The Golden Lily, the second book of the Bloodlines series, it was like going back to school and being greeted by familiar faces. Mead’s world and characters is established and familiar, but she always manages to surprise and entertain me.

The Golden Lily revolves around Sydney. Where Bloodlines focused on the new life outside of the Academy, The Golden Lily showcases Sydney and her life with the Alchemists. Sydney must find a balance to uphold her duties, staying true to her beliefs, all while keeping Jill safe. There is unwarranted danger, and on top of everything that Sydney has going on, this is just another day for an Alchemist.

Sydney has grown so much as a character. In my mind, she is no longer the Alchemist that I met in the Vampire Academy books. She is no longer the same girl that I met in Bloodlines. Instead, she is becoming an individual who is loyal to her friends and beliefs. At times, I felt that those two things overlapped, putting Sydney at a conflicting crossroads. Sydney is still uptight at times, but she wouldn’t be Sydney without having all of her quirks. I’m happy with where Mead is taking her. Each scenario has shown how Sydney can step up and make a calculated decision, putting what is most important in the forefront of that decision.

It wouldn’t be a Mead story without the supporting characters. Dimitri and Sonya are supporting characters, but not exactly two that just blend into the background. Their reasons for being in Palm Springs has proved to be an interesting storyline, one that I can’t wait to see the results of. Adrian has grown in The Golden Lily. He is maturing, showing interest in something other than himself. It’s nice to see, and whenever he’s in a scene, it’s always a good thing. I’m not a huge fan of Angelique, but she keeps Eddie and Jill busy. I’m sure there will be use for her later on, but as for now, I’d rather just skip over her parts.

While Mead’s world of the academy was home for a while, Amberwood Prep has made for an interesting new setting. But most of the scenes in The Golden Lily take place around Palm Springs, or even around Southern California. The freedom to change scenes and locations add another element to the story that wasn’t always there in the Vampire Academy series. It added more danger and intrigue, never allowing me to know for sure that things were safe.

I can’t really say much and spoil the rest of the story, but Mead brings the tone to a little dark place within The Golden Lily. Magic and rogue groups fill the pages later on in the story, and it brings the action level up, definitely. It’s something that I have been missing in the series, thus far, and I’m glad that this second installment got a good taste of it.

There’s a lot of growth throughout the story, the characters, and everything surrounding them. Mead always makes for an interesting read, and I find myself engrossed in her world.

Notable Scene:

“He was human? Not dhampir?” I couldn’t tell the difference, but Moroi could.

“Definitely.”

Sonya had stopped again and was glancing back at the guy’s retreating figure. I followed her gaze. “There must be some reason he recognized you. He seems pretty harmless.”

That got me another smile. “Come now, Sydney. I figured you’d been around us long enough to know.”

“Know what?”

“Nothing’s ever as harmless as it seems.”

The Bloodlines Series:

1. Bloodlines

2. The Golden Lily

3. The Indigo Spell

4. The Fiery Heart (TBD)

FTC Advisory: I purchased this copy of The Golden Lily.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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