Author: Richelle Mead
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2011
Source: Checked out the e-book from my library
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 couldn't breathe. There was a hand covering my mouth and another shaking my shoulder, startling me out of a heavy sleep."
In a Sentence
Bloodlines exceeded my expectations and ended up (in my opinion, of course) surpassing it's mother series, Vampire Academy.
For those of you who were around to read my review of Last Sacrifice, the final book in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, you've already heard me say it...but I'll say it again: as much as I enjoyed the VA series, it had lost some of its charm for me around book four. Personally, I felt the Dimitri and Rose drama had been dragged out a little too long, and I was starting to get a bit frustrated with Rose's character by the end of the series. In spite of this, I was still really excited to read Bloodlines, both because I wanted to return to the world of VA, and because I had heard a lot of good things about it.
After finishing Bloodlines, I can definitely say that the change from Rose to Sydney's point of view was just what I needed. Not only was I interested in learning more about Sydney and the Alchemists after their appearances in the VA series, but I quickly found that I was able to make a better connection with Sydney as a character. While for the most part, I liked Rose, I also felt that I had very little in common with her apart from her desire to protect the ones she loved. Sydney, on the other hand, was a completely different story. Growing up under the tutelage of her extremely controlling father, Sydney is constantly seeking for approval that she (sadly) will never really obtain. She's a hard worker with a love for knowledge and learning, and I really respected her because, in spite of all of the beliefs that had been forced upon her for her entire life, she was still able to question those beliefs at times, even if she was initially hesitant to do so.
While Sydney definitely had her flaws, for me, one of my favorite part of Bloodlines was getting to see her confront those flaws. For example, with her perfectionist mentality, pressure from her father, and the amount of time she spends around the thin and ethereally beautiful Moroi, Sydney has developed quite the body image issues. I remember being appalled during a scene in the first part of the book when Sydney is crushed when she's assigned a size four uniform instead of her usual size two. As a literature student, I at first thought that this occurrence in the book was just another example of authors perpetuating the stereotypical must-be-skinny-no-matter-what version of beauty that our society has, but as I read further, I began to really appreciate Mead addressing this issue in one of her characters. While I'm not going to go on much of a body image rant in this review (though I'm seriously tempted to write a discussion post on it in the near future), I did want to mention that I thought the way Mead handled the situation with Sydney was well done.
I also really enjoyed getting to see more of Adrian in this book. Adrian was one of my favorite characters from the Vampire Academy series, and I hated everything he had to suffer through by the end of Last Sacrifice. Though he's still reeling from everything that happened, it was nice to see him recovering and adapting to a new environment. Furthermore, I liked seeing more of Jill and Eddie as well. Though they made a few appearances as minor characters in Vampire Academy, Bloodlines gave a more in-depth look into their characters, which added to my overall enjoyment of the story.
Honestly, I'm probably in the minority on this one, but so far, I'm actually liking the Bloodlines series better than Vampire Academy. I've actually also already read The Golden Lily (Confession time: I read both books within 48 hours), and I can say that book number two will also be getting a four heart rating from me, once I actually get around to writing the review. For those of you who are fans of Richelle Mead, I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this series is a must-read for you. If you haven't yet encountered her writing, this might be a good place to start!