Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

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. They 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. Formerly 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 the 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 Brayden, 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?

After being pretty hesitant to read the Bloodlines series, after I finished book 1 (read my review here), I immediately ran out and bought this installment. To put it plainly, I was absolutely hooked.

After succeeding in solving the mysteries in Bloodlines, Sydney is praised by the Alchemists for her commendable loyalty and compliance to follow rules. But she finds herself really connecting with the once thought to be evil Moroi and dhamphirs, which stirs up a constant battle within her. Meanwhile, she starts dating a human who is a safe choice for her, but she begins to feel forbidden thoughts for a certain charming vampire. When a covert sect of humans that have long ago broken off from the Alchemists start to turn up, Sydney starts to feel threatened, for her sake and for her friends. When Sydney delves deeper, she realizes even more that everything the Alchemist’s have taught her is not correct. Will she let her past overshadow her thirst for things she never could have imagined she would want?

Sydney is hilarious, although not on purpose. I love her total, absolute cluelessness when it comes to social issues. Sydney has definitely made a great deal of progress in many ways. She is still the same genius who thinks of every consequence before making a choice, but she is definitely loosening the reins a bit. I love to see her development towards realizing her motley crew is more than just an assignment. Her attitude towards Adrian is pretty awesome. I love how she seems him differently than anyone else does, and she doesn’t mind calling him out on anything. I still think she has some way to go to achieve full enlightenment, and I am really looking forward to it in The Indigo Spell.

Adrian is still the same party boy I’ve always loved as before, but he has grown drastically. He is finally taking an interest in being successful in life, not just being successful in binge drinking and smoking clove cigarettes. All of this growth is due to Sydney. He wants to become better for her and not just to impress her, because he knows what she deserves. He is very protective towards Sydney, and although he is not a fighter, I am sure he would gladly throw punches for her. It makes me love him even more, which is damn near impossible because I love him so much already.

Although Jill can be annoying at times, I feel her maturity grow in each book. She makes some rash decisions, but they are becoming few and farther between. I have always respected Eddie, and that certainly hasn’t changed. He is a great protector. Brayden, Sydney’s boyfriend, is a male version of her. Okay, well that’s not exactly true. Sydney has passion to go along with her brains while Aiden…or was it Brandon…no, wait, Brayden is dull and unemotional. I was glad to see Dimitri and Sonya again, even though they did cause some expected and unexpected tension within their Palm Springs group. I have missed my Dimitri. :)

The plot was riveting and exciting, just as any Richelle Mead book is. It brought about a whole new set of mysteries, some that were resolved and some that were not. Even this is technically book 8 if you count the Vampire Academy series with this one, I have not once tired of it, and that’s saying a lot. Her writing is magical and addicting as always. The romance really took off in this book, and it was wonderful! They have an ease with each other that is great to see, and they understand each other more than anyone ever will. In the first book, I always caught Adrian picking up on Sydney’s fears and thoughts without even talking. This increases with The Golden Lily, and it's like they have an unspoken bond between them. How two people so different find what Adrian and Sydney have, I will never even begin to understand, but I love it!

This book sealed the deal of the Bloodlines becoming one of my favorite series ever. After than meannnnnn cliffhanger, I was SO excited for The Indigo Spell to finally come out. And let me tell you, things really heat up in that installment, so get ready.

Favorite Swoon-worthy Quote: He reached out and pulled me to him, one hand on my waist and the other behind my neck. He tipped my head up and lowered his lips to mine. I closed my eyes and melted as my whole body was consumed to that kiss. I was nothing. I was everything. Chills ran over my skin, and fire burned inside me. His body pressed closer to mine, and I wrapped my arms around his neck. His lips were warmer and softer than anything I could have ever imagined, yet fierce and powerful at the same time.
The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2)
Rating: 5/5 Tar Heels!


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