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 who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. 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 age–old 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 Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, 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?
The Golden Lily is the latest instalment in the Bloodlines series; a spin off series of the ever successful Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead and like its predecessor proves to be an engaging, addicting and exciting world and story to get lost in!
What can I say besides, Richelle Mead rocks! While I’m yet to read her adult books (silly me) her enticing YA books never fail to captivate me and The Golden Lily is no exception! I was heart-broken, yes heart-broken, when VA came to an end, but I’m finding the world of Bloodlines and the characters within it to be more than a good substitute—in fact there are moments when I’m left thinking VA who? The tone and pace of The Golden Lily doesn’t race as previous Richelle Mead books have, but it’s still such an enjoyable read regardless. Every moment is entertaining in some way or other and there’s always a purpose for the things we discover and explore.
The Bloodlines series continues to step out on its own and hold it’s own as its plot line develops, differing somewhat from that of VA. Mead continues to tell tales with as much emotion, action and flair that made the first series brilliant while allowing the previously little known VA characters to shine as we follow them in The Golden Lily. Some of the characters we loved are back and the ones who intrigued us, but who were lost in amongst the other feature characters of Vampire Academy constantly steal your heart in this series! Once again Sydney, Adrian, Jill and Eddie are back, with Angeline once more popping up. However, VA fans will go crazy over the fact that our very own Russian cowboy jumps back into the picture as he teams up with Sonya to do some more research on bring people back from being Strigori. Let me just insert a dreamy sigh while I think of Dimitri..... *sigh*
Sydney is exceptional as our main character and Richelle Mead writes her very different to that of her previous heroine Rose, with Sydney having her own individual strengths, however showing her very different vulnerabilities and flaws. And good golly do I love Sydney! I don’t think there’s been a moment yet where I haven’t been gaga over this girl—in fact, she’s giving Rose a mighty big run for her money. More than I thought possible. Sydney is one of those naturally lovable heroines, that you truly love reading about her. She’s likable and is constantly growing. Seeing her begin to alter the way she perceives things is amazing and the rich, almost motherly way she interacts with all the other characters is awesome.
I must add that I especially soak up every moment she and Adrian spend together. And while she is incredible intelligent, it’s a stroke of brilliance the way Richelle Mead writes Sydney’s character so that in the moments when she appears to blind or naive to social situations it makes totally sense, because she is actually socially awkward. For someone that has been home schooled and has never experienced the kind of social situations that Sydney finds herself in throughout The Golden Lily it’s completely reasonable that she’d act that way. It makes sense that she’d struggle with things like dating and that she’d miss certain signs from a certain dark haired, green eyed Moroi that that were there all along!
And on that front......if there was ever a character that I want to see find happiness and to become so much more it’s Adrian! Snarky, witty, and somewhat naughty Adrian is really beginning to become a different person. That being said everything about him that with love, everything that makes him Adrian is still there even as we see that serious side of his, that sweet side, one not so confidant, one that has more vulnerabilities then we as the reader have ever seen before. And is he awesome or what!?! While I’m trying, so, soooooo hard not to give away too many spoilers, seeing him bare so much of himself at the end of this book, seeing him acknowledge what we readers have been thinking yes, yes, yes about for so long and then have the book end the way it did broke my heart. How could Richelle Mead do that to him?!? To US?!? It’s just cruel!
But oh, forbidden love! Is there a better kind? Is there anything better than seeing two people so perfect for each other, so in sync with each other struggle with what they feel? With what they believe and know to be right? Ooooh, I just love it! It’s so juicy and addictive. Even in the beginning, as we see in The Golden Lily, the connection and tension that arises between Sydney and Adrian is so electric, even in this early part, that it’s evident where they’re heading, even if they (or Sydney) are not ready to face it. And let’s face it.....there isn’t a VA or Bloodlines fan out there who doesn’t want Adrian to find a HEA with Sydney. After the heartbreak he experienced at the end of Last Sacrifice, I know one of the most appealing things about Bloodlines was the prospect of seeing him find the one he is truly meant to be with.
So basically, The Golden Lily was everything I was expecting and more. I knew Mead would continue to branch out on her world, and while the direction she went in wasn’t overly expected, I’m expecting big things from this series and anguish as only she knows how to write. I know Richelle Mead has a lot up her sleeve and with the final pages tearing out my heart I’m already marking my calendar for the next book, The Indigo Spell! This is one you don’t wanna miss!
Source: I bought it.
AU Release Date: Available now!
Buy it: Booktopia // The Nile // The Book Depository
Recommendation: This world is one of the best vampire worlds I've ever gotten lost in, and if you've ever liked a vampire book, you'll want to check this series out! (My recommendation is read the first series, Vampire Academy first, though.)
Cover: It's nice, but I don't love it like I loved the Bloodlines one.
Will I read sequel/continue with series: Yes. YES, a hundred times, yes!