Welcome to the next stop on the Bloodlines blog tour. I'm your resident reviewer/total book nerd. ;) And this is my first ever time being part of a blog tour. And I'm day 2. I can feel the pressure to be awesome. *biting fingernails* Also, thank you so much, Penguin Canada. You're so awesome for sending me an advance copy of this to review. It's possible I was ready to beg a friend to borrow hers. ;) Here's a link to the trailer.
I was just going to post a review, but I thought about it and I'm going to give you something extra at the end, a little compare and contrast between Rose, everyone's favourite Dhampir and Guardian, and Sydney, our new intrepid narrator and wary Alchemist. But first, the review (the whole post might be a little long).
Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, part 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. Ripped from her bed, Sydney thinks she's still being punished for helping dhampir Rose Hathaway, but it's far worse than she imagined. Jill Dragomir, the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir, is in danger and needs to be hidden. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to be Jill's guardian, to pose as her roommate and hide her in the last place a vampire would be, Palm Springs, California. Instead of finding safety and a semblance of security, Sydney discovers the drama is just the beginning.
Bloodlines is the start of a companion series to Vampire Academy, beginning after the events that almost cost Rose and Lissa their lives multiple times, and now everyone's favourite stoic Alchemist and part-time character Sydney has returned, becoming our new narrator. So reluctant to get involved, so wary of getting kicked out or sent away to be "re-educated," Sydney is shoved into a situation she wouldn't dare touch with a 10 foot pole, but she has her reasons.
Familiar but still new and different, Richelle Mead gives us a new series with former side characters like any good companion novel. Think Dia Reeves (Bleeding Violet and Slice of Cherry), Stephanie Perkins, or Heather Brewer (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod and The Slayer Chronicles). These are characters both beloved and left behind at the end of Last Sacrifice: Sydney, Jill (Lissa's discovered half-sister), Adrian (the Moroi spirit user with an addiction Rose turned away), and Eddie (a dhampir Guardian just skating the edge after some unfortunate events). I think a lot of readers are waiting for Adrian to find his girl after being dumped by Rose for Dimitri.
I like Sydney, she's unique and intelligent, but rather closed off. Who else would you bring in but Adrian to chip away at her walls and completely infuriate her with his thousands upon thousands of issues and addictions and his bitterness over Rose? And Jill's sweetness and semi-naivete needs hardening up. A bit of Sydney needs to rub of on Jill, and vice versa.
Now, it's all about Sydney being surrounded by vampires and part-vampires and humans. A social butterfly, Sydney is not. Far too smart for the prep school she and Jill are dumped it, she has to learn to navigate the human world, a world full of resentful teen girls, jock guys, and unique teachers. She has to keep her wits about her, to trust her instincts, to trust the right people (which might also be the wrong people, but it does happen), to learn that the world, be it the human, Moroi, or Alchemist world, is more gray instead of black and white.
And maybe that vampires aren't so bad to hang around with. Well, the Moroi, at least. She can still avoid the Strigoi as much as she wants.
Filled with twists and turns and many questions with few answers, Bloodlines will satisfy loyal Richelle Mead readers and leave them hanging on by the tips of their fingers for more. A wonderful blend of familiar characters and problems with a new setting. And, of course, new problems. Here, the stakes are so much higher than they were before, and now everyone's out for blood. But whose blood is wanted more?
Now, with the change in series and setting comes a change in narrator. Readers will miss the strong and rough and gutsy and ballsy Rose, but Sydney is strong in her own way. Strong in character and belief, in doing what's right and not necessarily what's best for the Alchemists (good thing, too). Sydney wants to keep Jill safe, to keep her alive, and to keep her hidden from any Moroi or Strigoi or whoever might want to kill her. Like Rose, she'll help and keep people safe. Unlike Rose, she's maybe not as street smart or used to teenage drama in a school environment. And, like Rose, Sydney puts up with Adrian's crap and wants him to chance.
If only Sydney could kick butt like Rose. She seems like a reluctant heroine, not necessarily comfortable in her new role, but she'll do it. And as the series goes on, Sydney will be amazing.