Release Date ~ June 12, 2012
Razorbill ~ Penguin
ARC won from whatchYAreading?
My review is spoiler-free but the synopsis may have a few spoilers for Bloodlines- you can also check out my review for Bloodlines (the first book in the series) here. And the top 10 things I loved about Bloodlines :)
The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series
Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Bloodlines (and Sydney Sage!) ever since I first read the new Vampire Academy spin-off last year. I've yet to read Vampire Academy, but I still highly recommend Richelle Mead's new series to those new to her VA world; you'll be spoiled for a few things but it's kind of intimidating at times to start a new series with a large number of books that are already released. So this is another good way to immerse yourself in Richelle's world and writing :)
I loved Golden Lily- it had all the same elements I loved about Bloodlines, just amped up a bit more! Which is fantastic because I like a strong sequel that picks up where the first book left off and then improves on a solid foundation.
- Real issues that we can relate to:
Not everyone is going to have the same problems that Sydney has, but I love that she's a realistic character with issues often found in real life, so that the Bloodlines books blend the distinction between paranormal and contemporary. Usually we think of paranormal books as largely (or only) dealing with paranormal issues (you know, like vampire problems). And contemporary books tend to deal with real issues (like eating disorders or relationships). But I LOVE it when a book can have both and The Golden Lily is another fantastic example of this (another good book that does this, if you're interested, is Storm by Brigid Kemmerer). And while they aren't completely dealt with, we do get to see a better picture of how toxic Sydney's self-esteem issues are and even relationships with others, such as Adrian's failing relationship with his father.
- More EVERYTHING (including romance):
One of the biggest complaints I read about Bloodlines was that there wasn't enough romance for readers- I think The Golden Lily will amend this for them! I actually didn't mind the lack of romance in Bloodlines (I'm a fan of the anticipation/build up, what can I say!) and The Golden Lily doesn't involve a LOT either. But it's there and it's good- Richelle's talent for writing chemistry between two characters and gradually amping it up is phenomenal! Plus there's more development for characters- we get to see some different sides to Sydney, Adrian, Trey and Jill in particular. And more drama (of course- what's a good book without drama?) but the good kind. Action too, because that's necessary in a good paranormal book ;)
- Sydney & Adrian:
I know that everyone and their mother is rooting for Sydney and Adrian to hook up finally, but I want to talk about how much I love their pre-romantic relationship as well. I adore that we can see all the little ways they pay attention to each other, and the ways they show that they care. They have a friendship, a bond, that just seems to grow stronger with time. And while it isn't perfect, especially since he's a vampire and she's an Alchemist so they really shouldn't get along that well, it's refreshing to see two people that care about each other... as friends. It's sweet and I love it!
- And I just really love Sydney:
I love Sydney for a multitude of reasons, but largely because she isn't your typical YA character. She's extremely awkward (and not always in an endearing way), she's realistic and analytical to a fault (there aren't that many analytical characters out there- they tend to be more impulsive in YA) but it's nice to see a type of personality that stands out. Sydney is a lot more what I'm like, both as a teenager and even at my age now. She's a control freak and picky, and she doesn't want to let anyone get to close to her... but somehow she starts to let a few people see the real her. I love her, and she's one of my favourites because of this.