4 stars out of 5
When Rose Hathaway was accused of killing the Morio Queen, Tatiana, Alchemist Sydney Sage was the one that put her into hiding. Now, Sydney’s Alchemist superiors distrust her, simply for the reason of seeming “too comfortable” with vampires. She is given a second chance; a job to accompany Queen Vasilisa’s sister and tie to the throne, Jill Dragomir, to a human school in Palm Springs and pose as her sister. With tension in the Moroi kingdom, Jill’s life is in danger, and Sydney has to keep the young girl under the radar of the vampires that want to hurt her. But things aren’t as quiet as the Alchemists promise. There is a nearby threat of Strigoi killings, metallic tattoos humans are getting that are eerily similar to the Alchemist’s own tattoos, and, of course, some romantic turmoil.
First off, I am a huge fan of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. Bloodlines is set in the same universe with the same characters including royal Moroi Adrian Ivashkov, dhampir Eddie Castile, and even Abe “Zmey” Mazur. I was excited to see that it was almost a clean continuation of the last book of the Vampire Academy series. Many questions were partly answered (Rose + Dmitri = ?, Adrian = ?, What was the deal Sydney and Abe made?, etc.) and I can only assume that they will be fully explained in the coming books. I was glad to see Rose make an appearance, and that she had a small part in the novel. It is, after all, Sydney’s story, and even thought I love Rose, I don’t want to hear any more about her. I heard Mead in an interview that she wanted to write Sydney as a character who was trying to become more impulsive (opposite of Rose who sought control of her impulsive actions). Indeed, Sydney spends half a page talking about how much she wants to be like Rose, and spends the rest of the book finding herself. She picks up on some of Rose’s habits, but is mostly calculating, so I thought this transition between narrators was well done.
Similarly, the characters were also consistent. Jill was always timid/in awe of Adrian, and she still is, but she also did some growing up. Eddie is still the stone faced guardian. Adrian is still carefree, but harbors a pain in his heart after what happened with Rose, but one could see that he is slowly healing…
…which brings me to the romantic portion of the novel. This is the part that I had the most trouble believing. I lost track of who is most likely to end up with whom. I don’t want to get too into it, but I didn’t like the romance. I thought there were three guys going after Jill and two going after Sydney, and the pairings I liked best didn’t turn out. It was so confusing and only cleared up, rather abruptly, at the end. I hope it gets better in the upcoming novels.
Other than the romance, I really like the novel. There were twists and turns characteristic of Richelle Mead’s novels, so it makes it a fun read, even if you didn’t read the Vampire Academy series at all. I actually read this thing in a day, and I’m a slow reader. A day is lightning speed for me, and I can only do it with novels I really enjoy. I highly recommend Bloodlines.
This is my real first review, so thanks for reading! If anybody has constructive criticism, I'd love to hear it! :)