Release Date: 06/17/12
Source: RT Convention
Published by: Razorbill
The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series
Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.
1. (+) Sydney, the protagonist - Sydney, oh Sydney. Strong, smart, fiercely loyal to those who earn her trust... but also incredibly focused, too serious, and often vulnerable when it comes to her appearance (which, by the way, I think Richelle Mead handles quite well). Sydney is the kind of protagonist I feel like almost anyone could identify with, even though she's a bit awkward in social situations.
2. (+) World-building - You learn more and more about the inner workings of what it means to be an Alchemist--how far Sydney has to go in her job to truly excel in it, what the Alchemists value and use as their daily guidance, what happens to those who stray from that path... You also see more of the magic Sydney's teacher was making her learn come to life and see Moroi spirit magic in action as Sonya and Adrian investigate for the long-lasting effects of those brought back from Strigoi state.
3. (+) Character Development - One of the best parts about the Bloodlines series is that I think it has such great potential for character development - for Jill, Adrian, Eddie, and Sydney. Sydney, especially, since she has both her fears of magic, her confusion over where she belongs and how far she's willing to go as an Alchemist, and her own self-esteem as issues she needs to overcome/deal with.
4. (+) Romance - Richelle Mead is one of the best authors out there at establishing slow burning romantic relationships. Fans of Sydrian will both hate and love this book -- there are times when I was like... Adrian, just tell her! Sydney, can't you see? But in the end, it just made their time that much sweeter... Also, Sydrian is not the only romantic relationship that is addressed. Eddie, Jill, Angeline, and Trey all have something going on, even if it doesn't end up being successful :D.
5. (+) Cameos - Fans of Dimitri will be pleased by how often he appears ... Rose fans... Yeah, she's mentioned but does not make an appearance this time around. It's interesting to see how Dimitri compares in Sydney's POV versus Rose's.
6. (+/-) Predictability - Sadly, I predicted what was going to happen way before it did, but for me that didn't ruin the book, as I love the characters and their wit. I half wonder if the predictability of the Bloodlines plots comes from the fact that Sydney is such a smart, analytically driven protagonist that you know to look for whatever she focused on before...
7. (+/-) Ending - On one hand, as a reader/writer, I can appreciate the cyclical themes from the beginning to the end... But the other half of me is screaming cliffhanger noooo!! Why? I think I remember reading somewhere that Richelle Mead said that she anticipated some fans would want to throw the book against the wall... Yes, evil author alert, guys. Gah, I can't believe there's another year to finding out what happens after THAT scene!
8. (+) Writing - It's Richelle Mead. Need I even say more?
9. (+) Pacing - Kind of slow, but it's a pretty steady rise and fall plot, with a few tidbits of foreshadowing thrown in over the course of the book.
10. (--) The Cover - To be honest, I'm not much a fan of these covers. I feel like they add nothing to the book, just like the VA covers. Also I'm a bit confused as to why Jill is so prominent on this cover. There is another character who I feel grows as much as she does...
Full of witty, humorous dialogue, slow burning romance, and character growth, The Golden Lily is a sequel that will not disappoint Mead fans and does not fall prey to the "sophomore slump."
PS - Have you had a chance to look at my giveaway of this book?
PPS - I don't feel like I've encapsulated all the wonderfulness that is TGL in this review, so if you have any questions (i.e. on cameos), leave me a comment, and I'll reply (as long as it's not too spoilery).