Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)
By Richelle Mead
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: This spin-off of the Vampire Academy series picks up where the events of the final VA book, Last Sacrifice, left off. Alchemist Sydney Sage, who made her first appearance in VA’s Blood Promise, provides the narration for Bloodlines. Sydney and guardian Eddie Castile, another VA character, have been assigned to protect Jill Mastrano, half-sister of the recently elected Moroi queen Lissa Dragomir. Under current Moroi law, Lissa’s reign depends entirely on her having at least one other family member. Until this law is overturned, Jill is a target for Lissa’s enemies. Sydney and Eddie accompany Jill into hiding among humans at Amberwood Prep, a boarding school in Palm Springs, California. Once there, Sydney finds herself investigating some increasingly disturbing developments, all while trying to keep Jill safe and avoiding being sent to a dreaded Alchemist re-education center.

Lee's Review: I loved the Vampire Academy series, so it was a no-brainer that I was going to read Bloodlines. I wasn’t sure how I would like Sydney as a narrator because I didn’t find her character especially compelling in VA. Plus, assuming narrating duties from VA’s indomitable and ever witty Rose Hathaway is no easy task. Although there’s no substitute for Rose’s copious quips, Sydney manages to hold her own in terms of keeping the story interesting. I think that her best scenes are with another familiar, and very welcome, VA face, Adrian Ivashkov, who turns up here in all his charming, arrogant, snarky glory. Yes, Adrian’s back! He provides the perfect foil for Sydney, and the interaction between these two pretty much forms the basis of my five star rating. Before reading this, I couldn’t have pictured them finding common ground with each other, but there’s DEFINITELY chemistry there. I can’t wait to see how that develops.

For anyone who’s read the Vampire Academy novels, the plot of Bloodlines is pretty straightforward. The puzzle pieces join together rather quickly, but I enjoyed the process all the same. The novel ends with one of those moments that makes you want to run out immediately and get the next book in the series. Tragically, that isn’t possible at the moment. The Golden Lily will be released on June 12, 2012. I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom the wait seems unbearably long!

All in All: This one’s definitely a keeper for my shelf. I’ll probably pick it up frequently just to brush up on some Adrian quotes.

Ally's Review: Bloodlines is the ever-amazing continuation of the beloved Vampire Academy series. And obviously, if you have read VA, you know that Richelle Mead has done, yet again, another fantastic job of pulling readers into a world filled with fantasy, blood, and yes, Adrian! Bloodlines centers around the minor characters of the original series. Alchemist Sydney Sage is charged with the task of helping and watching Jill Mastrano, also known as Jill Dragomir. Jill’s half-sister, Lissa Dragomir, is now queen of the Moroi. To keep her title, Lissa needs one living relative. After an attempt on Jill’s life, Jill is sent to Palm Springs, California to attend a boarding school. The ever loyal Eddie Castile accompanies Jill as her dhampir bodyguard. The witty Adrian Ivashkov also accompanies Jill and Eddie in their “exile” for reasons unknown. In Palm Springs, the new group faces the regular doses of danger, drama, and . . . love triangles.

In an unbiased (not!) opinion, Bloodlines was a great read. It was intriguing from the start and kept readers going. The lovable characters were very dynamic. Their small story lines from Vampire Academy really developed in Bloodlines. At first, I wasn’t as thrilled as I could have been with Sydney having the point of view. I mean, who could live up to Rose Hathaway?! Surprisingly, Sydney provided a fresh, intelligent look on people and ideas which had already been introduced. I felt myself feeling sorry for Sydney. She had such a deep, internal struggle with believing in what she knew was right and what she was raised to believe. Although sometimes whiny, Jill was a very interesting character. I loved the fact that she wanted to learn how to defend herself; that earned her a bunch of bonus points in my book. Eddie was all right. I found myself caring for him more in the other series than in this one. I guess he was too adult-like and worrisome. I know that guardians are supposed to be mature and focused, but I couldn’t help comparing him to how he used to be.

And then we have Adrian. Adrian, Adrian, Adrian. I luv Adrian! Ever since we first met him in Frostbite, I have been in love. He is like the most perfect and not so perfect character you could ever find in a book. He is artistic, sarcastic, witty, wealthy, handsome, powerful, caring . . . shall I go on? On the other hand, Adrian is also plagued with personal demons which he has to overcome. Things like smoking, drinking, partying, and insanity really hold him back. What can we do, though? Adrian comes as he is, and I would rather live with him than without him! I really, really loved Adrian’s relationship and dialogue with the other characters in the novel. Let’s be honest, Adrian played a large part in the five star rating. He really brought Sydney out of her “professional” bubble and played the loving big brother role to Jill.

In the end, Bloodlines was a really great read. The book had an interesting plot and amazing characters. The only downside, if that’s what you can call it, was that I found myself figuring out secrets and plots too easily. I did not know if those secrets and plots were supposed to be that evident or were just poorly hidden. Besides my minor issue, I wholly and completely recommend this book to anyone who has read the Vampire Academy series. I am not confident that someone who has not read the VA series could comfortably read Bloodlines.

All in All: A definite Get! I feel ashamed that I don’t already have my own copy. Lee kindly lent me hers and as soon as I come into some money I will go straight to the store and get my own copy of Bloodlines!

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