Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)
By Richelle Mead

* I received a copy through Goodreads First Reads.

To Sum It Up: Alchemist Sydney Sage continues her mission to watch over Jill Mastrano Dragomir, half-sister to the Moroi queen. Although the Alchemists firmly believe that vampires are aberrations of nature, Sydney has grown comfortable being in the company of Jill, guardian Eddie Castile, and the inimitable Adrian Ivashkov. Sydney frequently wonders if she’s become too close to her little group and worries what would happen if her superiors thought so. When a new threat to all vampires, both Strigoi and Moroi, arises, Sydney must decide between adhering to the Alchemists’ procedures, like she always has, and following her feelings.

Review: The gang is finally back, and not a moment too soon. I only read Bloodlines a few months ago, but it seemed like I’d gone ages without a new Adrian quip. After finishing the Vampire Academy books, I couldn’t really picture the character combination of Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian working in Bloodlines, but I should know much better than to question Richelle Mead’s genius. Those four are brilliant together, and their relationship only strengthens in The Golden Lily. They may be posing as a family as part of their cover story, but they truly have become one.

What struck me the most upon finishing this book was how much the characters had grown, especially Sydney. I was pleasantly surprised by her engaging narrative voice in Bloodlines, and she really establishes herself as a heroine in The Golden Lily. We know that she’s super intelligent and fiercely dedicated to her Alchemist work, but we haven’t seen much of the person behind that stoic professional exterior until now. It was a lot of fun watching Sydney let her hair down a little at last and enjoy life outside of her job. Sometimes she feels guilty for doing so, just as she feels guilty over how much she’s come to care for her vampire companions. Sydney’s struggle to reconcile the Alchemists’ teachings with her loyalty to her friends increasingly makes her question the accuracy of the Alchemists’ view of vampires. I liked that Sydney challenged her beliefs and began to rely on her instincts as well as logic when making decisions. She’ll probably never be the warrior that VA’s Rose Hathaway is, but Sydney has her own way of putting up a fight that is equally powerful.

And now for the obligatory Adrian paragraph! Like Sydney, Adrian has matured as a character since Bloodlines. The trademark charm and wit are still there, but he has quite a few unguarded moments in which his sincere, caring, sensitive side shines through. He also goes through a rough patch that’s heartbreaking to watch because he’s been trying so hard to bring structure to his life and change how others perceive him. Adrian really wears his heart on his sleeve in this book, and as much as I love his arrogant, snarky self, I adore this Adrian, too.

As in Bloodlines, the baddies are pretty easy to spot. The action in The Golden Lily takes a little while to kick into high gear, too, but when it does, it’s like a volcanic eruption. It’s Sydney’s constant internal conflict between listening to her mind vs. listening to her heart that takes center stage here, and it’s just as intense and absorbing as a physical battle. Be prepared to retrieve your jaw from the floor when you reach the ending; I know I had to. Repeatedly. Um, how long until the next book comes out?

All in All: Bloodlines fans won’t be disappointed until they arrive at the last sentence and realize that they must begin the wait for a new installment all over again. Here’s hoping that we won’t have to go too long without our Adrian fix.


  1. Great review! I'm glad you liked this book; I've been meaning to start this series for a while now and it's good to hear that it's just as great as VA (though I should have known better than to ever doubt Richelle Mead :p). Thanks for reviewing this one!

    1. I was more than happy to review it, lol. I loved VA and wasn't sure how I was going to like a spin-off series, but I've really enjoyed the Bloodlines books so far. They're definitely worth reading!

  2. Yay, I've been looking forward to reviews of TGL and I really enjoyed yours! I am so happy that you enjoyed it, it sounds like the characters have really grown - can't wait to read it!

    1. I was very impressed with how deep the characters have become, especially Sydney, who I never would have imagined as a protagonist when I first read about her in VA. I hope that you have the chance to read this soon. :)

  3. Yayyy glad you liked it! It lived up to expectations- it's good when they do that! x

    1. Absolutely! I'm always sad when a series loses momentum, but that's not the case here. I can't wait to see what's in store for the characters in the next book.


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