Meet Sydney. No, wait. You already know Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and, of course, Adrian from Richelle Mead’s wildly popular Vampire Academy series. Bloodlines inaugurates Mead’s first in a spin-off series that focusing on the Alchemists and told from Sydney Sage’s point-of-view.
Sydney’s perspective is certainly a departure from Rose Hathaway, the quick-tempered and feisty heroine of the VA series. Sydney, raised by a domineering, sexist, and conservative father, spends her time trying to fly under the radar instead of getting noticed. Sydney’s career as an Alchemist has been decided for her, but she does not challenge the system that has indoctrinated her…yet. Her prejudices against vampires and dhampirs are well developed, and her journey in this series looks to be one where Sydney must grow into her own person and make her own choices about the creatures with whom she shares her world. And while Mead certainly creates a lot of depth in Sydney’s character, she lacks some of the pluck and verve that made VA’s Rose such a compelling vantage-point.
That being said, the book is not without its pluck and verve: only it is reserved for Adrian Ivashkov, a favorite and rather ill-used character who makes the transition into Mead’s new series. Adrian’s effervescent personality maintains his trademark charm, but Mead continues to reveal more about what motivates and drives him. As with the VA series, Adrian brings some much needed humor to the book, but he also provides much of its emotional depth.
The plot of the series takes place in the world of the Alchemists, who have been charged with aiding in the protection of Jill Mastrano, the sister of Vasilisa Dragomir, the Moroi Queen (crowned at the end of the Vampire Academy Series). Sydney is sent to a private high school in Palm Springs to act as the Alchemist overseeing the hiding and protection of Jill, who is accompanied to her new school by a familiar VA guardian, Eddie Castile. And, for reasons revealed in the book, the loveable Adrian gets to tag along.
Bloodlines is already a must-read for all fans of Vampire Academy, and Mead is clearly setting herself up well for another compelling series.
Why you might love this book: you already love Adrian and you know it.
Why you might not love this book: Sydney isn’t Rose, and it may take us some time to warm up to her.
Rating: 4 out of 5 black cats
Publisher: Razorbill (2011)