Friday, November 30, 2012
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
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?
Being that I wasn't too amazed by Bloodlines, I wasn't exactly dying to get my hands on this book, but I was pretty curious to figure out how things were turning out. I mean, I was not happy with Adrian at all in the first book. He was such a jerk, and I believe that while he plays this tortured bad boy role, there is a difference between being a bad boy and being a straight up jerk. He was walking a very fine and dangerous line between the two in Bloodlines. I have no problems with bad boys, mind you, but it's just gotta the right amount. Secondly, I didn't really like Sydney all that much. She just got on my nerves so many times. And thirdly, I thought it was a little slow. There was just so much muchness to it that I almost tossed the book aside and started a new one.
Good news! I thought this one was so much better!
Let me begin with Sydney. Alas, she still bothered me at times, but not nearly as much as she did in the first book. Honestly, she reminded me of an emotionless robot in the first book. She was a workaholic only living off of coffee, she never complained or stood up for herself and was overall just emotionless. Mind you, I did not find her to be a flat character; just a very unlikable one in my mind. After reading Golden Lily, I will admit that she has shown a little emotion in this one. I could really see how much conflict she was feeling as she hung out with her vampire friends, but still had those nagging thoughts about how incriminating it was for her to be friendly with them. She's in a tough cookie situation! It's just that one moment she'll be all 'Yes, I'm going to have such a lovely time with these bloodsuckers!' and then within seconds, she'll be all 'No! Stay away from me, Devil's spawn!'. Either you like the friendly vamps or you don't, Sydney! Make up your mind! It was hypocritical of her, I thought. (Plus, if she's already knee-deep in incriminating badness, why not take the plunge? There's no way she could back herself out of the situation if she were ever to get caught. Just my opinion.)
And could it be?
Yes I think it could be.
I, fellow readers, have the Syndrian Feels. Oh! Did I forget to tell you that I've kinda sorta forgiven Adrian? I know! Crazy, right? I mean, here I was a few months ago telling you all that I was not sold on Adrian, and now I'm telling you that I've forgiven him! I normally am not so quick to change my opinions about characters (Sydney, for example) but I feel that I finally got to see some of the real Adrian in this book and that was almost all I needed to go on Tumblr and create some Syndrian shipper post. But I didn't. I still do not forgive him for his reckless behavior, yet knowing that it effected Jill, too. How could somebody consciously inflict vicarious states of intoxication on another? HOW?!?
The story itself, I felt, had improved in this book. While Bloodlines was extremely slow and monotonous with it's world building and long, descriptive paragraphs, this one moved at a much quicker pace and kept me interested. I liked how we got to see different sides to the characters, including Sydney, who, might I add, scored herself a few dates! It was nice to see this other, careless side to Sydney. Well, as careless as she will ever be. Also, more of an action-y plot I would expect for a book of the vampire genre was included in Golden Lily. That was a nice improvement. I can't tell you how much I need to read a book with blood, sweat, and tears. If it doesn't have at least some of those three points, I lose interest.
While The Golden Lily wasn't exactly a five star for me, it was much of an improvement from the first book and left me wanting more once I was finished reading. There are some definite Feels I am getting from the emotions between Adrian and Sydney and, while Adrian is no Will Herondale to me, he has definitely taken at least a small part of my carefully locked away heart. I'm still feeling a little meh on the plot, but am more content on seeing more complexity and dimension in and between the characters. Will I recommend The Golden Lily? Yes. That is, as long as you've read Bloodlines first.