The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart by Richelle MeadWARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES

Sydney has finally made her decision and has chosen to be with Adrian despite the risk to them both. She has been part of The Alchemists for her entire life, and they absolutely forbid any kind of relationship with Moroi. However, once Sydney realized that the life of an Alchemist may not necessarily be what she wants, she decided to be with Adrian in secret. This is only made harder for her when her sister Zoe shows up, determined to prove what a good Alchemist she can be and pretty much attaching herself to Sydney’s side. Sydney starts to lead a double life–one in which she is the perfect Alchemist, and the other in which she is in love with a vampire.

I was so excited to read this book because the ending of The Indigo Spell was such a shocker. Finally, Sydney admits to her feelings for Adrian and they decide to be together and then Zoe shows up! And then when I heard that this book would also feature Adrian’s point of view I couldn’t wait to read it–he’s been one of my favorite characters since Vampire Academy.

I’ll admit the book started off a bit slow for me, but it definitely picked up towards the middle. I was worried that once Adrian and Sydney were together things would get dull, but Mead did a great job of making sure that didn’t happen. They had plenty of things going on that caused conflict, so it was very hard for their relationship to get boring. They constantly have to hide what is really going on, even from their closest friends, which made it very difficult for them both.

I loved getting Adrian’s perspective in this one. He is such a complex character and I feel like getting his point of view made it easier to understand him a bit more, especially where spirit is concerned. He always comes off as a drunk, but after he stopped drinking in this book it was obvious that the spirit really affects him and numbing himself to it is the only way for him to feel better. Adrian grew a lot in this book, both because of Sydney and because he was able to finally have some confidence in himself.

The ending to this book was even crazier than the last! I definitely did not see it coming, and I don’t know how I will be able to wait for the next book.

Overall, The Fiery Heart was a great addition to the Bloodlines series. There was a lot of character growth and an ending that will definitely change things for both Sydney and Adrian. I can’t wait to read what happens next!

The Fiery Heart was released on November 19, 2013 and is the fourth book in the Bloodlines series. The fifth book, Silver Shadows is set to be released on July 29, 2014.

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The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead“’Any life worth living is going to have risks.’”

In the third book in the Bloodlines series, Sydney finds herself torn between her duty to the Alchemists and her desire to make her own choices. She begins to discover the truth behind the Alchemists and comes across Marcus Finch, an ex-Alchemist who wants Sydney to join his group of rebels and run away from the Alchemists like he did. At the same time, Sydney finds herself learning magic from her teacher in order to protect herself and other girls with magical abilities from an evil magic user who wants to steal their power.While dealing with her distrust of the Alchemists and her hesitation to use magic, she is also conflicted about her feelings for Adrian, who makes no secret of his feelings for her.

I think each of these books has been better than the last so far. The less uptight Sydney becomes, the more I like her. She really won me over in this book, mainly because she really started to learn how to use magic to protect herself and finally realized how much control the Alchemists have over her and that she doesn’t want that. She starts to finally take control of her life and make her own decisions, and she also starts coming to terms with her feelings for Adrian.

In this book Sydney meets Marcus Finch, who right away wants to help Sydney break away from the Alchemists. I was happy that she was finally starting to realize that the Alchemists are not exactly the people she thought they were, but I was glad she didn’t immediately trust Marcus also. Sydney becomes torn between living the life she was raised to lead, or starting a new life for herself. What I really love about Sydney though is that she is a very selfless person–she really cares about protecting Jill and doesn’t make any decisions without considering her first.

Jill and Eddie seemed to fall more to the background in this book, but I still think that Jill seems to be getting more mature with each book. She gives Sydney a lot of good advice and it seems like she’s finally starting to realize how much Sydney sacrifices to keep her safe. There were some really great Sydney and Adrian moments in this book, and I love how they each bring out different qualities in each other. Sydney really brings out the best in Adrian, and Adrian makes Sydney more confident and helps her to start putting her own needs first more often.

Overall, The Indigo Spell was a great book with tons of sweet moments between Sydney and Adrian and an ending that I absolutely did not see coming. The next book should definitely be interesting!!

The Indigo Spell was released on February 12, 2013 and is the third book in the Bloodlines series. The fourth book, The Fiery Heart, will be released on November 19, 2013, and apparently will feature Adrian’s point of view also!!

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead“’Every relationship is different. Everyone loves differently.’”

In this sequel to Bloodlines, Alchemist Sydney Sage begins to start questioning her beliefs about vampires and her own people. She begins to grow closer to Jill, Eddie, and Adrian–all people that she would normally fear and avoid. She falls into a relationship with a boy who is her intellectual match, but finds herself being drawn to someone else–someone she cannot allow herself to fall for. Sydney struggles between following the archaic beliefs of her people, or following her heart, and her loyalty is constantly being put to the test.

I liked this book better than I liked Bloodlines, but I will admit that after going back and reading the entire Vampire Academy series, I reread Bloodlines and enjoyed it much more. While it’s not necessary to read Vampire Academy before Bloodlines, I would definitely recommend it because I was able to understand more about the relationships between some characters that had been developed in Vampire Academy. That being said, I still liked The Golden Lily better than the first book, mainly because Sydney became a much more likeable character. She finally began to ease up a bit, and even though she is still socially awkward she seemed to have more of a personality.

Sydney starts dating a boy named Brayden in this book, and he is basically the male version of herself. He is very smart and she is able to have academic conversations with him, but there is no spark whatsoever. Plus, Sydney is always having to run out on him to deal with Moroi issues, so the relationship only gets more awkward. And while she’s trying to force herself to fall for Brayden, she finds herself drawn to Adrian, who, as a Moroi, is forbidden to her.

Adrian was one of my favorite characters from Vampire Academy and I’m so glad that he is such a big focus of this story. We get to see so much more of him in this book and we get to discover the many facets of his personality, from his vulnerability when meeting with his father to his protectiveness of Sydney when she feels threatened. His relationship with Sydney grows so much in this book–she helps him with his family issues, “teaches” him to drive a stick shift, and takes a self defense course with him. Their back and forth banter is really cute also, and I love the way they have helped each other to grow.

There was also a great side plot surrounding Jill and Eddie.  Eddie was another character that I loved from Vampire Academy and I was happy to see that he wasn’t punished too harshly after the events that occurred with Rose. He is fiercely protective of Jill to the point where it becomes obvious how he feels about her, even if Jill herself is oblivious. Jill was a little bit annoying in Bloodlines–she kept whining about not being able to be a model and she didn’t realize how everyone was sacrificing so much to protect her. She was a little bit better in this book and it seems like she is maturing and is a little bit less naive.

Overall, The Golden Lily was a great sequel to Bloodlines. The characters showed a lot of growth, Sydney herself was much more likeable, and we got to see a lot more of Adrian. I’m very excited to see what happens next!

The Golden Lily was released on June 12, 2012 and is the second book in the Bloodlines series. The third book, The Indigo Spell, is available now and the fourth, The Fiery Heart, will be released on November 19, 2013.

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

“The greatest changes in history have come when people were able to shake off what others told them to do.”

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, a member of a group of people who act as the barrier between vampires and humans. Since she was a child she has been raised to fear the Strigoi, the evil vampires who want nothing more than to kill humans and drink their blood, and to not trust the Moroi, the other kind of vampires who coexist with humans. She has been bred to keep vampire secrets from the rest of humanity, and when the life of the Moroi Queen’s sister is threatened, Sydney is called upon to act as her protector and keep her in hiding. Sydney and the Moroi princess, Jill, pose as students in a private school along with Jill’s guardian Eddie. Sydney has to adjust to living surrounded by vampires, creatures she has been fearful of her entire life.

I was a bit confused at first with the whole Strigoi/Moroi thing and I’m wondering if part of this is because I haven’t read any of the Vampire Academy books. I didn’t realize that Bloodlines was the start of a spinoff series–I had thought it was an independent series, so I felt like I was missing out a bit because there were a lot of references to Rose Hathaway and events that took place before this book. Once I got a better grasp of the different vampires and dhampirs and Alchemists I definitely thought it was an interesting take on vampires.

Sydney was kind of an annoying character. She is way too uptight and has a seriously unhealthy body image. She got a bit more confident towards the end of the book and I gradually started to like her better. She is super smart and dedicated to her job but her best quality is that she really tries her best to take care of everyone, vampire or not. I really liked Adrian and his interactions with Sydney were some of the best parts of the book. To me this book seemed like a set up for the rest of the series because it really didn’t pick up until about two-thirds through. I feel like the next book will have a much more interesting story.

Overall, Bloodlines was an interesting story with a slightly more original take on vampires, and while it had a slow start, it was a promising beginning to the series. I am looking forward to reading the next book!

Bloodlines was released on August 23, 2011 and is the first book in the Bloodlines series, a spinoff of the Vampire Academy series. The next two books, The Golden Lily and The Indigo Spell, have also been released and the fourth book, The Fiery Heart will be released in November.