Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Release Date: August 23, 2011
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.
I have a small disclaimer to add first:
I have never read Vampire Academy. Or anything by Richelle Mead for that matter.
So, Bloodlines was my very first taste of this living and breathing world created by Mead.
Bloodlines didn't disappointed me at all, even though I was wary of reading it since I hadn't read VA and I'm not into vampires that much. But I can happily say that I am HOOKED. I won't speak for those who are VA fans, but for those unfamiliar with VA or Mead, Bloodlines is the perfect introduction. You want to meet this book and be best friends with it.
Sydney was the perfect main character. I don't think I have ever related more to a character than I did with her. Mead writes her story excellently, and I was fascinated by this alchemist trying to fit in, but not fit in too much with vampires who are trying to blend in with humans. I actually enjoyed reading about the alchemists more than the vampires, because it offered such a unique and refreshing perspective.
The relationships in the book are executed to perfection. Your heart literally breaks watching Sydney struggle with the expectations thrust upon her, and in particular the strain between herself and her father. I was annoyed at first when she would obsess over not being small enough until you realize why she feels that why- and then I just melted completely. No one should ever have to go through that, but at times haven't we all felt like no matter what we do it'll never be enough?
Other reviewers have commented that there's no romance in Bloodlines. And... that's pretty much true. Sydney doesn't have a love plot, but that's amazing in and of itself! Bloodlines wants its relationships to develop gradually. With time. I can't remember the last time I read a YA book that did this; which of course means that if it ever actually reaches that point, the romance will just be THAT much better since we've been (im)patiently waiting for it. ;)
And...I don't think I have a single bad thing to say about this book. I truly loved it and I could honestly sit here and rave about it if you'd let me.
HUGE thank you to Penguin Canada for providing me with an ARC for the upcoming Bloodlines blog tour! The tour will be stopping at Esther's Ever After on September 13th!