The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Release date: June 12, 2012
Series: Bloodlines #2
Source: ARC from Penguin Canada
Reviewed by: Tynga
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.
After facing death by strogoi, Sydney is now back to her normal life, or whatever pass as normal with her latest mission. She poses as Jill’s sister (a moroi princess in hiding) along side with Adrian & Eddy (her supposedly brothers) and Angeline (their fictional cousin). Along with the merry gang are former strogoi Dimitri & Sonia, trying to discover why strogoi restored by spirit magic can’t be turned again. At first look it seems to be all fun but things gets complicated when a band of human attack Sydney and Sonia, wanting to kill the latter because “she’s an evil creature of the night”. What a mood killer!
If you remember, Bloodlines had been a bit of a let down for me, but I’m happy to report that I think The Golden Lily was better! To my dismay, Jill still won’t be in danger in that book, which honestly bothers me because the whole mission was set to protect her from vindictive moroi who might want to kill her to remove Lissa from the throne, but this latest installment brought a lot of interesting elements to the table.
Let me start by talking romance because surprisingly there’s a lot of it! Jill’s relationship with Eddy’s roommate Micah evolve, to Eddy’s dismay because he’s in love with her, but Eddy isn’t left out as new comer Angeline has it big for him. The whole situation would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic. Poor Jill is completely blind to Eddie’s affections and his broken heart is hard to bare. On the other hand Angeline won’t miss an occasion to rub herself against him, oblivious to his disgust toward the whole thing. I could really picture his discomfited expression, holding back eye rolls because it wouldn’t be professional. This love square (?) evolve in a rather interesting manner during the course of this installment, and I can’t wait to see where it’ll go from there in the next book.
Beyond all expectations, Sydney will also have some “romance” of her own. I use quotation marks here because let’s be honest, Sydney’s definition of romance is kind of sketchy. She meets a barista that’s just as stuck up and socially inept as she is, which makes for some really awkward moments, for the reader’s enjoyment. Watching them around each other I didn’t know if I wanted to burst out laughing or bang my head on a wall, let’s say it was entertaining in a weird way. Sydney also has a love triangle of her own even though she is completely oblivious to it. Adrian really pays her special attentions, in the sweetest way and I loved every moment. You can see that she is really special to him, even though he doesn’t want to want her and she really has no clue. Their interactions really were the stellar point of this novel for me.
Now let’s talk about some plot shall we? Sydney is no Rose, and the Bloodlines series can’t compare to Vampire Academy action wise, but The Golden Lily took it up a notch this time around and I was pleased. Attacks, kidnapping and rescues are on the menu and it did wonders to Sydney’s otherwise intellectual habits. After being helpless in a situation, Sydney decided to take matters in hands and take self defense classes, and she even considered magic as a potential defensive option, which showed a lot of growth on her part, considering how deadpan her opinions usually are on the matter. The situations she faces will really push her to grow, which makes me really excited because she used to be borderline boring with all her self restrain. Richelle also brought to the game a new interesting faction in the strogoi/moroi/dhampir/alchemist world and I’m curious about the fall out.
The conclusion was surprisingly action-packed and the very end was a shocker. I don’t want to tell you anything about it, because it would suck to spoil it for you, but I was ecstatic, bewildered and stunned all at once. I’m highly anxious to see how everything will play out in the next book with the bomb Richelle Mead dropped right at the end! The third book in the series, which as no title as of yet, is scheduled for release in 2013, and the wait might just kill me!
Overall, The Golden Lily was a great installment in the Bloodlines series, making me hopeful for the upcoming books. Romance, action & witty comebacks are on the menu, everything to please adults and young adults alike.
Here’s my favorite quote (from ARC, subject to change):
He reached out and pulled me to him, one hand on my waist and the other behind my neck. He tipped my head up and lowered his lips to mine. I closed my eyes and melted as my whole body was consumed in that kiss. I was nothing. I was everything. Chills, ran over my skin, and fire burned inside me. is body pressed closer to mine, and I wrapped my arms around his neck. His lips were warmer and softer than anything I could have ever imagined, yet fierce and powerful at the same time. Mine responded hungrily, and I tightened my hold on him. His fingers slid down the back of my neck, tracing its shape, and every place they touched was electric.