The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy.I want to preface my review with a little background information. I have heard great things about the Vampire Academy series, so much so that I purchased all the books. But, I haven't read them yet. I went into reading Bloodlines, knowing that it was somehow related to the former series, but not knowing how much I would be missing out on because I haven't read them. Mel at He Followed Me Home recommended that I Wiki the series to get some of the details to help me with reading this. Of course, I didn't (she loves telling me "I told you so" when I don't listen to her advice ;). So, I read this book with no prior knowledge of the characters or Richelle Mead's world. I was hoping this would serve as an objective way of reading, to see if it would stand up to the test of a "stand alone" novel.
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.
With the above disclaimer in mind, I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. There was enough world information to make the story flow smoothly and character description to sort of give a heads up on what had happened up till now. I liked that it features Sydney Sage, an alchemist, as the main character. It's funny, alchemists have been popping up in several of my recent reads, in one capacity or another. This makes me wonder if alchemy is the next big thing, as opposed to the formerly popular vampire/werewolf/fairy themes? (Though Bloodlines does contain vampires with the alchemists working to prevent their exposure to the unknowing humans.) Alchemy, I think, has a flexible quality about it, giving a writer lots of room to work with chemistry, and not just the idea of changing lead into gold.
Again, I'm unsure of what role Sydney has played prior to this adventure, but in Bloodlines, she takes a good hard look at herself. She starts to notice how her actions are affecting those around her and also question the prejudices long held by the alchemists about the "rightness" of vampires in their society. I loved that her character was able to grow and become much stronger, setting the reader up for the next installment in this series.
That's right, I said next installment. While a few different mysteries were concluded in this book, the overall lead in to the book, the attempt on Jill's life, was not wrapped up, meaning there will be more. This development throws my "stand alone" theory right out of the water! I will have to continue on to future books for the ultimate catharsis. As for any Vampire Academy info, I don't really feel that it was necessary to enjoy this book. I know that the Rose/Dimitri storyline is something I'll need to look into further (hopefully before the next book in the Bloodlines series is released) but Bloodlines definitely held its own.
This was a long book, not overly fast paced at the beginning, but contained enough intrigue to keep a reader engaged (the action does pick up, though). Full of great characters, I'm really looking forward to finding out what happens next for Sydney.....and for Adrian ;)
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