Saturday, June 16, 2012
Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Title: The Golden Lily
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razor Bill
Year of Release: 2012
Number of Pages: 418
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. 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 old-age 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 cute, brainy Brayden. 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?
As soon as my mother came home Tuesday evening bearing a freshly printed copy of The Golden Lily, my heart skipped a beat. As many of my friends and family members are well aware of, I am a huge fan of the Vampire Academy franchise. I am even proudly responsible for converting a few people into fans of the books. After reading Bloodlines early last year, it was a long time coming for the second installment to this highly anticipated book. For those of you who aren't aware, the Bloodlines books are a spin-off series from the original Vampire Academy series. Fans will undoubtedly be aware of these books- Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice. These six books all have the status of being international best-sellers and I am pretty sure they were all on the New York Times Bestseller list. The Bloodlines books take a much different approach from the original series, a risk that won out in the end. Readers have the pleasure of reading the story from the point of view of Sydney Sage. She's an Alchemist, a human who's job is to bridge the world between vampires and humans. Controlled and restrained by a lily tattoo on her cheek, Sydney belongs to the society of the Alchemists and this tattoo gives them complete control over her life. Where she goes, whom she works with and how long.
She realized this only too late- the Alchemists own her. Her beliefs dictate every decision she has ever made. Alchemists are taught to not get too close to vampires- Moroi, Strigoi or Dhampirs. But her new vampire friends have become something of a family to her, much to her dismay, and it hurts her to know that she can never truly give in to these feelings of belonging, for fear of being disgraced by her Alchemist superiors. Fighting conflicted feelings, Sydney knows all too well what her duty is- protect Jill Dragomir. And that is exactly what she will do.
I have always thought that it is not so much the story-lines Richelle Mead creates- though those are brilliant- it is the characters she manages to incorporate and portray so well. Their individual personalities, charisma and many upon many witty lines, these characters truly make the stories the amazing works that they so are. Adrian Ivashkov is a perfect example. He is witty, charming, attractive, and I'm sure all female readers feel drawn to him. (Don't worry, I do too!) His reputation given to us when we are first introduced to him in Frostbite shows an arrogant, sarcastic, rich, sleazy, taking everything for granted party boy. Not to mention how many women he goes through. But later on, we see that there is more to him than the limits of his reputation. He is just trying to break out of a cage that society has locked him in, free of any redeeming qualities and deeming that he will never be useful for anything.
So aside from the amazingly complex list of wonderfully admirable characters, The Golden Lily was incredibly funny (no thanks to Adrian) and I found myself laughing aloud so many times and so uncontrollably that I was actually rendered to setting the book down. (Gasp!) I shamelessly devoted 10 hours of my Saturday to reading this book.
I can assure you that if you are a fan, you will not be disappointed by The Golden Lily. Richelle, how long are we going to have to wait this time for the next one?
http://www.bloodlinesseries.com/ - The official website for the Bloodlines series.
http://richellemead.com/ - The official website for Richelle Mead.
You can find my review on Bloodlines somewhere in the 2011 part of my archive, if you're interested. I promise you, it's not nearly as long as this one. :)