by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #1
Published on August 23, 2011 by Penguin Group
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
I wasn't free of my past, not yet.
Sydney's blood is special. That's because she's 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. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiences in question, her future is on the line.
When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.
The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside - and within - the school grounds. Now that they're in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.
I’m honestly surprised it took me this long to write a review for one of Richelle Mead’s books. I’ve read–and own–all but her newest series, but never actually got around to reviewing any of them. Though if owning most of her books is any indication, I’m definitely a fan. Bloodlines took time to get used to after reading the Vampire Academy series. As this book and its sequels are set in the same world as VA, bringing back old characters while telling the story of a minor character (Sydney), I struggled at first to connect with the story. I enjoyed VA and really liked the characters so I told myself to be patient with Bloodlines.
At first, I was hesitant to read Bloodlines. I didn’t dislike Sydney in the VA series, exactly, but I didn’t really think much of her either. What drew me in finally was hearing rumors that Adrian would be playing a bigger role in this new series. In VA, I really liked Adrian but knew the girl he loved wasn’t meant for him (I’ll try to avoid spoiling VA for anyone who hasn’t read it). It became quite obvious from the rumors and synopsis that the new protagonist, Sydney, and Adrian would become something. I looked forward to seeing this in Bloodlines after Adrian was short-changed in VA, but there wasn’t too much romance in this book. I’m not sure if having it would’ve made me like Sydney more earlier on or not but it’s something to look forward to in The Golden Lily (book 2). As for Sydney herself, she’s not my favorite heroine but I liked her. Some of her habits and opinions of others–and herself–irked me a bit but her character fit well with the Alchemists she was raised by. Adrian could’ve manned up a but I’m willing to cut him some slack after what happened in VA.
The story of Bloodlines moved slower than I would have liked. At first, I thought it was simply because I was still hung up on the VA books but after rereading this book, I don’t think that’s the case. I pushed through it in the hopes of everything improving but it really didn’t. I’ve read not only the Vampire Academy series, but also the Dark Swan and Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead as well and this just didn’t strike me as fitting with her usual style. I struggled to get into Bloodlines and had no problems reading other books while still plowing through it. The fact that it’s a spin-off series doesn’t help. Some authors can do it, especially when there’s a large time gap story-time between one series and the next. Bloodlines almost immediately follows Last Sacrifice from Vampire Academy. But, as a loyal fan of the author, I kept reading to the end and will continue to its sequel in the hopes of better reading material.
This book was definitely the worst I’ve read by Richelle Mead, though it wasn’t a bad book. I considered not reading The Golden Lily but then those last few pages of Bloodlines called to my inner Vampire-Academy-loving self when she decided to bring back a few old characters–including one of my favorite Guardians from VA. Hopefully by the end of book 2, the whole Alchemist idea (which I didn’t really favor in VA) and Sydney as a protagonist will have grown on me enough to give a more positive review. If you loved the VA series, don’t expect the same from Bloodlines (though that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still read it). While I wasn’t a big fan of this book, I’m sticking by this author as her previous works are favorites of mine and hopefully a little more of that comes back in The Golden Lily. Never read the VA series? Try Bloodlines out. Vampires, Alchemists, a little action here, a little mystery there–overall not a bad read.