*May contain spoilers if you haven’t read The Vampire Academy series*
“The greatest changes in history have come when people were able to shake off what others told them to do.”
Does anyone else think Richelle Mead’s name is secretly switched? Because Michelle Read would make SO much more sense. Maybe that’s just me…
Synopsis: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead is an extension of the world built in The Vampire Academy series. This story, however, follows Sydney Sage, an Alchemist who is assigned to watch over Jill Dragomir, the new Moroi queen’s younger sister. Sydney and Jill are accompanied by Keith, another Alchemist, and Eddie, Jill’s guardian. And Adrian, one of my favorite series characters ever. They are sent to Palm Springs, California, in the hopes that the constant sunshine and isolation will deter any potential vampire assassins and keep Jill safe. The first novel in the Bloodlines series is full of romance, action, betrayal, mystery, and your run of the mill high school drama.
Feelings: During the summertime, I find myself wanting an easy read – a palette cleanser. (Did anyone else just think of that scene in The Princess Diaries?) It’s been a year since I read the whole Vampire Academy series, but as I read Bloodlines a lot of information came back to me. One thing I really enjoy about Richelle Mead’s writing is her conversational tone. Her narrators have spunk, making me laugh out loud and sigh in complete understanding of their struggles. I did miss Rose as the narrator, mostly because she has more grit and backbone than Sydney does. I’m really hoping that this is just a starting point for Sydney and that she really grows into herself as this series continues. I liked her attitude and willingness to help others (even the Moroi), but she just seemed like she needs a fire lit in her. Enter Adrian? God, I hope so.
Issues: Plot twist, shlot twist. I could smell the ending from a mile away. One thing I remember from the VA books were their twisty ways, but this was just bleh. Not even halfway through the book, I made my predictions. Then as I kept reading, I was searching for places where I could be wrong…but I wasn’t. There were multiple mysteries that were all predictable – that’s probably what bothered me most about this book. Why does this character seem so familiar to everyone? Why is this character so sick? Who’s killing Moroi? It’s exhausting. Can we not just have a story?
If you haven’t read the VA series, then there was a lot more to learn in this book. If you have read it, then you knew things that Sydney didn’t. So basically, the reader knew what was going on long before the narrator did. I see what Mead was trying to do there, but it was more annoying than effective. The book started with me being frustrated with the narrator, and that’s not a good start.
Characters: I didn’t just love Sydney, but I enjoyed her POV more than I originally thought I would. So, that’s a win. I actually got a little angry when she was complaining about wearing a size 4, instead of her usual size 2…then started watching what she ate. Girls, don’t take that page from Sydney’s playbook. She was completely socially unaware…but I found that relatable. That probably says a lot about me.
Jill made me want to lose control. She reminded me so much of Lissa and that’s not a positive thing. She was whiny and selfish and I don’t want any more.
ADRIAN. *sigh* What a great character. Honestly, he was the saving grace of this book. I really loved him in the VA series and he was literally the only reason I decided to pick this book up at all. He was the comic relief, occasionally (and surprisingly) the voice of reason, and he needed his story to continue. He’s so much more than the person he was in the VA and I’m glad he gets to have some dignity back after Rose left him high and dry.
Final thoughts: Independent of the VA series, this book was ok. As a continuation and extension of the world, I’m intrigued, especially considering the last few words of the book. I can say that I’ll continue the series, hoping Sydney grows some thicker skin, Jill gains some sense of self, and Adrian finds some independence. I would recommend that you either read the VA series before picking this up, or at least watch the book-based movie. It’s not a blockbuster, but it does give you a little introduction into their world.
Pick this up if you liked:
The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead (because Adrian)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (guilty pleasure YA reading with Bloodlines having far fewer metaphors)
Shadow Falls series by C. C. Hunter (I read this series along with VA last summer…apparently I was going through an urban fantasy/paranormal romance phase.)
Goodreads rating: 4.23/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.5/5
My rating: 3.75/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn