Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Review: Richelle Mead's Bloodlines

Bloodlines, Book 1 in Richelle Mead’s spinoff series, is a spectacular addition to the bewitching YA Vampire Academy series . From the beginning, I was drawn to the VA series and for me, Bloodlines, was like a continuation of a gripping story in an unforgettable fantasy world.
Early on, I read a bunch of reviews, and many readers tried to compare Vampire Academy to Bloodlines. Even more so, they attempted to compare the two main characters – which, in my opinion, can’t be done. If you haven’t read the Vampire Academy series, I implore you to do so. I can’t fathom how anyone would attempt to read Bloodlines without reading its predecessors. I think it’s safe to say that this is not a standalone novel. In order to appreciate the series, you must read them all! 


Bloodlines is its own unique tale, written from the perspective of an Alchemist or better yet, a human. Sydney Sage is a hard-nosed, street-wise young woman, maneuvering her way through a seemly dark world. Alchemists are a league of humans whose sole purpose is to protect humankind from the underminings and danger associated with the supernatural, i.e. Moroi, Dhampirs and of course, the Strigoi. These beings are unholy at best according to Alchemist teachings.

Being a staunch Alchemist, we first meet Sydney in Blood Promise; the pinnacle of emotional YA rollercoaster tales, I assure you
(my review.) In Blood Promise, Sydney came across as stiff and reserved, but even back then, you knew there was more beneath the surface. That same attitude, plus much more was the foundation of Bloodlines. I was utterly captivated with Sydney’s determined spirit, despite all odds stacked against her. 

After Last Sacrifice, Sydney’s loyalty is called into question because she helped Rose Hathaway. She was barely forgiven and then quickly reassigned to assist another Moroi or vampire, Jill, the illegitimate daughter of Eric Dragomir and also the half-sister of Queen Vasilisa. Based on Moroi law, in order for Queen Lissa to retain her crown, there must be two living members of the Dragomir family. With many rumblings and threats at court, Jill’s safety is threatened and the decision is made to hide her. Because of the lives and repercussions at stake, the Alchemists agree to assist with hiding and intergrating Jill into a normal human life and ultimately assign Sydney to the task.  

Going undercover as Jill’s sister, Sydney and Jill end up being roommates, attending a boarding school in Palm Springs. There's an assortment of colorful characters along with for the ride too which made the book that much more delicious. Personally, I couldn’t get enough of Adrian. Thank God he’s in this series. As Sydney and Jill muddle their way through high school, Sydney begins investigating magic tattoos and a string of murder victims, including human, moroi and dhamphir.

For me, I loved delving into the perspective of an Alchemist and discovering however black or white their rules are towards the supernatural, Sydney lives in a perpetual state of gray. The fear Sydney had of the unnatural albeit magic, vampires, damphires and all the above -  felt real to me.   Her fear permeated so richly in this tale, I couldn’t get enough of it.  Bloodlines was so well done, it was an easy 4.5 for me.

Mina B.


Elana Johnson said...

Oh! I didn't realize this was a spinoff! I really liked the Vampire Academy series. Thanks for the heads-up!

Mina Burrows said...

Thanks, Elana. Yeah, it's good. And next, I'll be adding Possession to my YA list too. :)