Words will probably fail to convey just how flawless this book was. The Golden Lily manages to have everything we want in a book - characters we care about, a romance that drives us crazy, suspenseful mysteries and more! I'm not completely sure yet but this spin-off series might have overtaken the original in my eyes. The way I see it, we've still got the old characters PLUS new characters in a new setting with a new agenda. The thought of having four more of these books has sent me into heaven!
After the original series ended, everyone was eager to see Adrian be paired up with Sydney. The two are polar opposites in personality but share the same stubborn fire that we know will bring about a delicious passion in their relationship. The Golden Lily completely delivered on the intense Sydrian romantic tension and had me running laps around my room in frustration. So here's Adrian being completely adorable and pounce-worthy in a million ways I can't even explain, and there's Sydney being OBLIVIOUS TO IT ALL. She's the human equivalent of an alien who's been living on Mars her whole life. The I'm-into-you body language, conversations with not-so-hidden meanings and every other signal on the planet? They went completely over her head! *cries* Oh, Sydney! How many times did I feel like shoving you into Adrian's arms when he was putting himself out there for you to just ignore?
If things weren't confusing enough, there's a love triangle in this book. Oh yes. Oblivious little Sydney has "met her match" in Brayden, a nerd who even tops her book smarts but lacks the social smarts like she does. I found him sweet and cute at first but slowly…he began to grate on my nerves. I mean, really, his name should've clued me in on his dodgyness. He's all too practical to keep up with her fire, to love and treat her like she deserves! The two have zero chemistry and Sydney just doesn't realise that everything she needs is in Adrian. For a date, Brayden takes her on a windmill tour for goodness' sake! Mead compares the two boys throughout the book, drilling Adrian's superiority into our minds. Brayden does or says something ridiculous to Sydney and Adrian counters with something charming and sweet not long after. The two men are entirely different but, as the story progresses, I think Sydney begins to realise how one might be better than the other……………
As always, Mead's characters are magnificent. Sydney begins to creep out of her shell in The Golden Lily and does things she never thought she would do as a perfect and obedient alchemist. Her superiors constantly say how responsible she is but she finds that that's not the case at all. She's befriending the vampires she's been taught to fear, going on dates and developing feelings for people she shouldn't, beginning to practice forbidden magic, making decisions without permission and…generally just breaking a lot of rules. I knew she had all of this in her from the beginning and it was so exciting to watch her change and become this new, unpredictable person. I can only imagine that she will grow more and more with every book so I'm ecstatic at the moment!
Adrian's character is also given the growth and time he missed out on in the original series. He deals with a father who is always disappointed in him and that doesn't believe he can do any good. My heart was just crushed every time Nathan delivered a mental blow! Adrian tries so hard to be a good son and wants his dad to be proud of him but Nathan lets him down time and time again. Sydney doesn't realise it (although Adrian does!) but she's his support during these difficult times and tries her hardest to brighten him up afterwards. They made me melt with how perfect they were for one another and you just know that when they finally get together, they'll be stunning - hard to look at without fainting, stunning.
Many more things happen in this book than they did in Bloodlines. We have a mysterious society of possible vampire hunters roaming the city and this leads to attacks and kidnappings everyone's weary of. There are multiple suspects behind each event and we're not completely sure about them until the end! Dimitri, Sonya and Eddie are testing their blood to try and solve the puzzle of strigoi immunity. At the end of the last book, Sydney discovered that her blood was unpalatable to strigoi and this brings in a whole other question that we've yet to answer!
I officially have to shut up now. If you're not convinced that Adrian and Sydney are as sweet as toffee, YOU ARE A LOST CAUSE. The Golden Lily ignited something wild in me that the last few books of the Vampire Academy series seemed to lack and I have full faith that Mead will take us to breathtaking places again with the next four books. I had to stop myself from rereading this book as soon as I finished it, it was that good. Adrian has long been my favourite character since he was introduced in Frostbite and I could almost die from how good his character is now. This book ends on a CLIFFHANGER. I melted, cried and banged fists on tables. You've been warned.
Was this book amazing or what? Dying to get The Indigo Spell!! Who do you think is on the cover behind Sydney?