Published by Penguin Group on June 12th 2012
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. Alchemists protect vampire secrets - and human lives.
Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she's been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California - tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formorly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.
But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age-old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and her sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi - the fiercest vampires, the ones who don't die. But it's her fear of being just that - special, magical, powerful - that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Braydon, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else - someone forbidden to her.
When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney's loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.
Should she trust the Alchemists - or her heart?
In The Golden Lily, we pick up a little ways after where we left off in Bloodlines. Sage, Eddie, Jill, and Adrian have finally adapted to their new lifestyles. Sage has really begun to embrace life as a quasi-normal student, doing homework, hanging out with friends, and dating. YES DATING. In a hilarious yet brilliant plot twist, in GL we’re introduced to Brayden (via Trey’s handy matchmaker ways). If you were to take Sage, manipulate her genetic code, and somehow turn her into a boy; you’d have Brayden. From the political and environmental interests to the (weird) dislike of sugary foods, Sage has met her male equivalent. However, no matter how much time Sage spends with Brayden, a certain emotionally-damaged Moroi is constantly on her mind. It was quite apparent that Adrian and Sage grew closer in Bloodlines a feat not easily accomplished by an average Alchemist due to the belief that all vampires are unholy abominations. However their friendship deepens and strengthens in GL as they are put through more tests and hardships both physically and mentally.
Adrian has grown leaps in bounds since Bloodlines. Although he captivated me back in Vampire Academy, my love for his character has grown tenfold in BL and GL. Once a privileged, arrogant playboy, now Adrian has begun to develop into a strong, responsible and reputable young man, one in which Sage cannot overlook. I really sympathized with Adrian in GL. He’s working so hard to make something of himself, push beyond past labels in order to reinvent himself in way that makes him feel good about himself. Then you have his father who refuses to acknowledge the progress he’s made, putting him down at every opportunity.
The storyline moved a lot faster in Golden Lily (thank goodness). I realize that Bloodlines was the platform, laying down the story and describing the world of Alchemists, but it took me a very long time to get into the story (nearly a year HAHA). That wasn’t the case with Golden Lily, from page one I was hooked – eagerly reading along until the end. GL was one of those stay up until the *wee* hours to finish it books; I just couldn’t put it down. Like Bloodlines though, some of the plot points we’re a bit predictable which is why I could only give it 4 stakes. I really love this spinoff series but just not near as much as I loved Vampire Academy. Sage is a very intriguing and interesting character, one I’m eager to learn more about and follow but I can’t help but compare her to the main heroine from Vampire Academy, Rose. Although both strong heroines in their own way, filled with compassion and such, I still find Rose to be a more compelling character. Hopefully in the coming Bloodlines novels, Sage’s character grows.