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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review: The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)

Release date: June 12, 2012
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Length: 418 pages
Source: Won ARC


Sydney Sage is 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.

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?


    

Review:


Characters: At the beginning of The Golden Lily Sydney is reminded of what it means to be an Alchemist as well as the dangers of getting to close to the Moroi and Dhampirs. Sydney's internal struggle with this fact is prevalent throughout the novel and she definitely reconsiders her beliefs. Jill also develops throughout the novel, she matures and looks at both the Moroi and Human world differently. Eddie has his hands full both training Angeline, the Dhampir from the Keeper society, as well as stuggling with his feelings for Jill. Lastly, Adrian was the most interesting character to see develop. Adrian maturity creeps up on you in this novel. He's definitely out to prove himself to those who think less of him.


Romance: The level of romance was pretty high in this book, depending on how you would define romance. Though you might not be disappointed in the level of romance that this book entails, you may be disappointed at the romance that doesn't happen. By that I mean, the longing looks and flirty compliments that go unnoticed throughout most of the book. This book is definitely a large step up from Bloodlines. I was very pleased with the level of romance, which Richelle Mead is very talented with, as she doesn't lay it on too thick or make it too prominent in the over all plot line.


Cameos: Since this is a spin-off there are a variety of cameos from the last series, actually I just lied there are only two, three if you count Angeline as a cameo, however I don't. The first one is obviously Dimitri, pause for girls everywhere screaming, his role in this seres is obviously diluted, but it was great seeing him again, and he even gets a badass guardian moment or two. The way he's described by Sydney is very interesting since he she sees him similarly to Rose however she doesn't feel very attracted to him like Rose is. Sonya Karp was fun to see, especially since we still know very little about her. All we really know is that she was a teacher at St. Vladimir's, she turned herself Strigoi, was turned back, and that she's engaged to Mikhail. Oh, wait I almost forgot, she's also Jill's aunt. Seeing her character was great, but she never really developed in the book.

Title: I won't usually talk about titles in my reviews but this one is a special case. The title The Golden Lily sounded really cool, but like with most of Richelle's titles for her YA series didn't seem too important to the overall plot, that is, until the end. I'm not going to spoil anything, but the title is very well crafted, while reading the last few chapters everything started to fall into place and it mainly centered around the lily tattoo on Sydney's cheek.


Cover: I know a lot of people who don't like the covers for both Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, my own cousin and best friend being two, but I'm actually quite impressed with this cover. I appreciate the irony of Jill's face being prominent on the cover since one of the minor issues of this book is Sydney trying to keep Jill away from modeling lest she be discovered by Moroi dissidents. Another thing I appreciate and find ironic about the cover is that Sydney's lily tattoo isn't showing. Granted that these aspects may not have been intentional, but they are there none the less.


Predictability: This book was pretty predictable, it was easy to see a lot of things coming before Sydney did. I'm pretty sure this has to do with the fact that Sydney notices everything, but for some reason only analyzes things when they become important. Even though it's easy to see most of the bigger "twists" coming, the book isn't ruined by them. Everything is still as amazing as always, it's just really easy to see things coming. 


Ending: Around the time that Bloodlines first came out, Richelle Mead had said that readers would throw this book at the wall after reading it because the cliffhanger was so intense. She didn't lie, I would suggest finding a padded room to read the last chapter in, because you may very well throw this book at a wall after reading it. The ending is something that will leave you saying, "Holy Crap! What's gonna happen next?"



Rating:




This book is a definite buy. Just make sure that you read both the Vampire Academy series and Bloodlines first. I was very happy with this book and I know you will be too! 

25 comments:

  1. Great review! I love anything written by Richelle Mead and I absolutely adored her VA series. But I have to admit - I think I love the Bloodlines series more than VA which is a nice surprise. Can't wait to read this book!

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  2. Great review!
    I agree with Erin W. I think I love the Bloodlines series more than VA too.
    I can't wait for the third book, The Indigo Spell!

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  3. Love. Love. Love. I have never known a guy who reads YA much less is a book blogger and I must say that your view of the books have a different tone, BUT is still amazing that it reminds you how great the story was! :) Huge fan of Richelle and I can't believe people don't like her covers! Blasphemy!

    Looking forward to reading more of your reviews! :)

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    1. Have to agree with Emma Snow about never having know a guy who reads YA and being a blogger also.

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  4. Love this review! I agree about Karp, I still wanna know what her deal is lol. I really like seeing Dimitri and Adrian through Sydney's eyes too, it gives us readers a different perspective on them both so that's interesting. Cant wait for Indigo Spell! Richelle Mead is one of my faves, hands down.

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  5. ahhhhh I am dying for Indigo Spell, the end of TGL was borderline cruel :)

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  6. Great review! I really want Indigo Spell to come out already.

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  7. I liked the VA series more than Bloodlines, but I'll still be reading The Indigo Spell when it comes out.

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  8. Wow, your reviews are not only correct but very detailed. I am really glad that I found this blog. I really love hearing things from a male prospective. So nice to see such an amazing blog! I am going to make a post on my Blog's facebook to get more people to follow you!! My blog is LoverofParanormal.blogspot.com and my Facebook is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lover-Of-Paranormal/271784059556738?fref=ts Come and check it out!

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  9. I love the way you write reviews!! I can't wait for Indigo spells... I love bloodlines, but it just hasn't stacked up to VA for me. I'd love to spend some time reading your other book reviews.

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  10. I haven't read this but I really want to. I hear it is a really good series! Thanks for the review.

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  11. Excellent review! I love how you break down the different sections and you've brought up quite a bunch of things I've NEVER thought about!

    Yeah, so far the plots in Bloodlines and TGL were quite predictable but I've never attributed it to Sydney's character. And hang on, Sonya is Jill's aunt?! How did I miss that?? O.O I need to re-read TGL...

    The cover - I actually really like the Bloodlines series covers. The title treatment in particular, I love how they integrate the flowers in. And again, wow, I've never given it so much thought! (about the irony and such)

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  12. I loved this book! I only read it recently because I was waiting for The Inidgo Spell to be released, so I didn't quite have a throw-book-at-wall fit when I reached the end, though I did have a little internal scream!

    You've brought up a lot of things I didn't even think of such as the cover, whether it was intentional or not it's brilliant!

    Great review! :)

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  13. i was hyperventilating when i read the end of the book! i was shocked and confused and sad and happy all at the same time!

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  14. i was hyperventilating when i read the end of the book! i was shocked and confused and sad and happy all at the same time!

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  15. agreed with your 5/5 stars. beautiful book! :)

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  16. cant wait 4 more days ugh i love the series

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  17. Excellent review and a lovely book!

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  18. I do think that Sydney needs to notice things more even if they aren't so important because like you said, it was really easy to see things clearly before she did.

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  19. That's so right! The ending was so intense I haven't stopped thinking about what Richelle would have in store for Indigo Spell. I keep thinking of my own ideas of what should happen and they all have their own twist. Now it is finally out and I can stop thinking and start reading.

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  20. First time I read one of your reviews, I really liked the way you organized it. Very informative, but just enough to not spoil the book. I'm gonna read some more :)

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