The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) - Richelle Mead
Rating: 4/5 stars
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?(Description from Goodreads)
~ * ~ * ~
I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to dive back into my favourite Richelle Mead world. ‘The Golden Lily’ takes us on another crazy ride discovering parts of the world we never got to see in the first series (Vampire Academy) and for me, that just makes the series more exciting – finding something new.
We learn a lot more about the Alchemists and not all of it is good. I always knew they had a strict and hard lifestyle, but we never really saw what it is that actually happens behind the scenes in the Alchemist life. We get a chance to see more in ‘The Golden Lily’ and I can safely say it’s not a lifestyle I’d pick for myself. I really liked this new glimpse of the Alchemists, they’re no longer just a random secret group.
It was bad enough that Sydney and the gang were looking out for rogue Moroi groups and random Strigoi attacked, but when they discover evidence of Vampire Hunters, everything jumps to a whole new level. I had a feeling the vampire hunters were going to make an appearance in the series. After so much talk about their secret existence it was only a matter of time before Sydney was faced with them and the trouble they’d bring. There’s also more to the hunters than meets the eye – but that’s all I can say without giving too much away.
I loved being around the characters I know so well again. There are some people you just can’t get out of your head and Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy characters do that for me, especially when it comes to her male characters. There is nothing better than seeing Dimitri Belikov on the page again and he brings out his super awesome Guardian skills just to prove he hasn’t lost his badass touch just yet. But he’s not the only guy to rock the page. Adrian grew so much in this book. I was so touched by his strength and loyalty and, as always, he never fails to make me smile. The Vampire Academy men stole the show.
And finally, Sydney. I love her awkwardness in the book. She’s faced with something completely new in her life, something more difficult than looking after moroi and dhampirs in the human world. Sydney gets asked on a date. Her social skills are still lacking a bit, so it’s fun to see her work through this new situation. She also explores her magic side a bit more – despite her aversion to magical performances. It’s here that I had my biggest issue with the book. Sydney seems to have a few problems with the subject of magic and vampires. She makes so much progress throughout the book to overcome the Alchemist prejudices against the unnatural vampires and shudder-worthy use of magic, but there are moments when she falls back into old ways of calling moroi and dhampirs “evil monsters” and freaks out when magic is being used – even though she using her new magical talents quite a bit. I kept hoping she’d move forward, take charge, and stand up for what was in front of her – that vampires aren’t all evil. It didn’t have to be giant leaps, it just had to happen. But she seemed to take more steps back than forward.
All-in-all, another interesting and smile-producing addition to the Bloodlines and Vampire Academy world. Looking forward to seeing what happens to Sydney, Adrian and the rest of the gang next.
(Originally posted on Goodreads)