Bloodlines – Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill (Puffin)
Release Date: 25th August 2011
Other Titles by this Author: Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice
Sydney protects vampire secrets – and human lives.
Sydney belongs to a secret group who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the world of humans and vampires.
But when Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, she fears she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. What unfolds is far worse. The sister fo the Moroi queen Lissa Dragomir is in mortal danger, and goes into hiding. Now Sydney must act as her protector.
The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathising with vampires. And now she has to live with one...
It’s no secret to regular readers of my blog that Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series is one of my favourites, so I knew that I would have to read Bloodlines the second I got my grubby little hands on it.
But I have to admit to being a little wary once I had it in my possession. What if it wasn’t as good as Vampire Academy? What if I didn't get along with Sydney’s narration? What was I going to do without Dimitri being mentioned on every page? My fears were pointless. It just goes to show Richelle Mead’s skill that I was able to slip back into a world I’ve gotten to know and love over the years through a completely opposing perspective so effortlessly. Seeing the world of the Moroi and dhamphirs through a human was fascinating. But Sydney’s not just any human. As an Alchemist her view of vampires is extremely strong.
I thought it might be a little difficult to adjust to straight-laced Sydney, but she surprised me. She wasn’t at all what I expected from what we saw of her in the latter books of the Vampire Academy series. Sydney’s fear of vampires and her belief that they are unnatural comes through strongly in Bloodlines and is often a thought behind every interaction she has with them; especially the Moroi. While reading some of these thoughts it struck me: she’s a human, it’s completely natural! She should be scared stupid of them! It was quite a realisation at the time. But this, along with her flaws and insecurities were what thoroughly endeared me to her; she felt real. Her qualms about her physicality when she constantly compared herself to the tall, slim and beautiful Moroi; her hatred of Moroi magic; her complete and utter social ineptitude and sometimes backhanded attempts at doing the best she can for everyone make her completely relatable. And I love her. I also admire how she wields her intelligence, not all people, especially teenage girls, are strong enough to do that.
Sydney wasn’t the only character that I fell for in Bloodlines. When he appeared in Vampire Academy, I wasn’t his biggest fan. I found him irritating and he got in the way of Rose and Dimitri, but once that competition was removed I began to see what many VA fans have loved from his first introduction. But now, I am an Adrian Ivashkov convert. Seeing his soft side and the depth of his pain after what happened with Rose in Last Sacrifice warmed me to him instantly. He became the character who I looked forward to popping up the most. Though I was constantly hoping that Rose and Dimitri would make an appearance...
One of the most surprising aspects of Bloodlines was all I learnt about the Alchemists. Before they’re always been a vague, behind-the-scenes organisation that were not even really taken into consideration around Rose’s exploits, but they are actually very intriguing. I’ve rarely come across an establishment, outside of dystopian worlds, that are so strictly controlled. I was bordering on horrified at the way that Sydney’s life has worked and everything that she has sacrificed to be an Alchemist. They’re like a religious cult that almost brainwashes most of their members; it was truly disturbing. But it also explained a lot about Sydney’s nature.
After a rather teasing ending to Bloodlines, I’m very eager to get my hands on The Golden Lily when it’s released next spring. Bring it on!