Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Bloodlines

Title: Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #1 (Vampire Academy series spin-off)
Publisher: Penguin
Published: August 23rd 2011
Source: Penguin Australia for review

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.

Ever since the release of Last Sacrifice, fans have been eagerly awaiting the spin-off to Richelle Mead's bestselling series, Vampire Academy. First of all, if you have not read the original series, I strongly recommend you do so now. I do not think you can fully appreciate Bloodlines without knowing the history of events, characters and Richelle's world first. You will have a big pile of confusion on your hands and a great book will be wasted! In the point of view of Sydney Sage, an alchemist who's had a significant impact on the outcome of previous events, we are transported to sunny California where we run into some of our favourite characters - Jill, Adrian, Eddie, Abe, Rose. If you've read Vampire Academy and enjoyed it, Bloodlines will not disappoint, and if you haven't…what are you still doing here?

I was never worried about the continuation of this series as I knew Richelle had a lot more story to tell, and Bloodlines begins to slowly answer all of those questions we were left with in Last Sacrifice. While this novel isn't heavily packed with action, it certainly does not lack the fine characterisation and mystery we're used to. In the previous books, Sydney is a character who's intelligent, hardworking and does everything by the book. She usually follows rules to a T and doesn't take risks, but her unexpected friendships with vampires lead to her so-called untrustworthiness and betrayal of her superiors. While still firmly believing that magic is wrong and unnatural, Sydney becomes a caring character who has a compassion for those, human and paranormal, around her. Gone is the heartless robot, and herein appears a human who may be normal after all. Readers are very sympathetic to Sydney, as all she gets in return for her help is sadness and anger. Why can't she do anything right?

When Sydney, Jill and Eddie begin their schooling with the humans, they discover the school has a fascination with Sydney's golden tattoo, something they think makes her super intelligent. Sydney eventually discovers the student's illegal activities, using alchemist-like tattoos on themselves for pleasure, speed, strength and skill. Are these tattoos simply using alchemist-like technology or is a traitor alchemist supplying humans with their chemical formulas? This storyline is the centre of Bloodlines, as well as Sydney's mission to keep the Princess safe. There is a lot of mystery which stems from this plot and while some outcomes were predictable, my enjoyment of this novel did not lessen in any way because of this.

While Sydney is the main character, a lot of the novel's focus is on Jill, the royal Moroi she has sworn to protect.  Jill's nice enough but I can't help but feel a little annoyed at her spotlight-stealing. Sydney spends a lot of time trying to please her, not upset her, entertain her, drive her around and tal-….you get the point. This wasn't a huge negative but I'm really hoping for Sydney to focus more on herself and her relationships in The Golden Lily. Speaking of relationships, we knew this was going to come - Adrian and Sydney. Can I say…amazing? Yes, the romance is minimal and only their friendship is solidified by the end of the book, but what a journey! Both characters change a lot with their interactions with each other and that is enough to please me. I see this friendship going places. Real sexy, sweet and romantic places. Give me more!

If you're looking for those shocking twists, god-awful suspenses, frustratingly awesome characters and multiple exciting story lines, Bloodlines is the book for you. It was a good start to what I think will be another amazing series by Richelle Mead and I am eagerly awaiting the release of the next book! I've always loved Adrian and this book only made me love him more. If you weren't a fan before…you'll definitely change your mind after this one. These characters have a load of potential and I'm very much looking forward to exploring them further!
So the trailer is kind of awesome... What did you think of Bloodlines? Did it live up to your expectations? How were the characters?

Find Richelle on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Bloodlines from Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and Borders.

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