Monday, July 23, 2012

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 418pgs

The Story

The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students - children of the wealthy and powerful - carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

The Review

THE GOLDEN LILY is the second installment of the Bloodlines series - a spinoff series of Richelle Mead's other YA series Vampire Academy, it picks up shortly after where the first book had ended. In this next sequel however, with the Alchemists being vastly impressed with the smart and sassy heroine Sydney Sage's work and dedication with the Moroi and Dhampir community, everything for once seems to get back to its original normalcy. But when her current mission is to continue in keeping the Moroi Queen's sister, Jill Mastrano, safe from assassination and when Sydney's relationship and sudden friendship with another fellow Moroi guy, Adrian Ivashkov, grows closer and deeper each day, Sydney soon begins to question everything she grew up with - the Alchemist's old but traditional ways of serving and even her own beliefs. And what's worse . . . something sinister is lurking amongst Palm Springs and it's up to Miss Sydney Sage herself to figure it out what this danger is before everything is all too late.

As a self-professed fan of Richelle Mead, both with her young adult and adult series, I'm very happy to say THE GOLDEN LILY definitely hit the mark, and I loved it as much as I loved the first book, Bloodlines. There's just something about Mead's writing that makes you giggle like a school girl and I have no clue whatsoever on how she does it again and again, but I love anything written by her - absolutely anything. As most of you know Mead's previous Vampire Academy series was my ultimate favourite book series in the YA genre but for some reason I found that I loved its spin-off series, Bloodlines, a hell of a lot more which continues to surprise me. So with an easy-to-follow storyline, plenty of twists and turns that await at every corner and with characters developed in all sorts of ways, it's no wonder why this series beats out Vampire Academy in a heartbeat. IT'S SO FREAKIN' AWESOME!

When it comes to Sydney Sage, I love her way, way more than I ever did love Vampire Academy's main heroine, Rose Hathaway. I still love our Rosa, don't get me wrong, but Sydney is just my kind of heroine, you know? For anyone who reads this book, using myself as an example, with Sydney's character alone you are always able to find something within yourself to relate to - both physically and emotionally -with Sydney and on a personal level too. And personally for me, Sydney and I couldn't be any more different. We're like the same person for the most part and I guess that's why I love her so much. We have this quirk about us where some may not quite understand at first. We have smarts about us and we don't care that we're geeky. We also love learning about new things and embracing that. We love books (c'mon who doesn't?). But what I identify with her the most, is that we are careful with who we trust and who we allow into our lives, and that's just something Sydney and I share with our common and almost-like second natures. From Bloodlines Sydney was just a girl who was closed off from the world and that's not such a bad thing . . . but all she needed to be opened up a little bit and in this sequel that's exactly what happened - she learned about herself, what she truly believed in, what she enjoys from her life and for once she knows who she trust! Even herself. There's such a brilliant development in her character and I swear I'll stop with the high praises right here and now because I could go on for hours with just how amazing Sydney is and what an inspiration she is to me - even for a fictional character.

As much as I love the secondary characters (including Eddie, Jill, Trey and heck even the okay-but-a-total-douche and newly introduced Brayden) and as much as I loved seeing appearances coming from Dimitri and Sonya which was a very exciting moment for me since you know how much I love, love, love Dimitri from the VA series, but let's go straight to the boy we just HAVE to talk about, that being Mr. Adrian Ivashkov. Oh boy oh boy. Adrian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally Adrian gets to play more of a part in the book and get close to our leading girl, Sydney Sage.

For a complicated character such as Adrian Ivashkov, I was really surprised by how much he has grown as a leading male character and unlike in the Vampire Academy series, where he was previously going out with Rose Hathaway and trying to impress her constantly, this time round Adrian is actually changing his ways for himself rather than forcing things that shouldn't be forced on someone as reckless as Adrian was back then. So, I really liked that change in him. Adrian has come a very long way in my books and when you overlook his gorgeous looks, his humorous witty banter (which hits every high note), and even his excuses in trying to be a bad boy that we know he can sometimes be, but deep down inside, Adrian is still a caring guy and he cares deeply for Sydney. You can just see right through him in this sequel and oh Adrian . . . *cue the infinite cries*

While the storyline was awesome and epic in all the right places, but really guys . . . it was Adrian and Sydney's relationship - their new friendship they have accumulated overtime - that was the only thing running through my mind at the time of reading this book. One of the elements of the book I just WANTED to read. C'mon . . . it totally was the only thing on our minds, right?! Adrian and Sydney would seem like the most unlikely people to become friends and share some conversations with, but where there are opposites there is also some attraction in the shadows and Team Sydrian totally had its steamy chemistry as we've seen in Bloodlines. There's this tango dance going on between both of these characters and I swear they will drive me to my own insanity one day. Sydney was so oblivious to Adrian and even the way she acted around him . . . gosh . . . it made me swear all sorts of things in the air.

And then there's Adrian . . . now he drove me right up the walls, what with his words of wisdom and the way he would always make himself excuses to spend some good quality time with Sydney . . . and to us readers it was SO obvious. Argh. You characters . . . you will be the death of me. And that ending . . . that ending scenes that I wanted so badly to happen and where it had finally happened and then torn me into little pieces . . . argh . . . Richelle Mead you are truly the Queen of all Evils in the writing world. Angst. So much angst people! *let's now cue the following gif of my current feels*

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Overall, THE GOLDEN LILY was everything I hoped it would be, if not it was more than I ever saw coming in the Bloodlines series. With so much happening in so little time and with a book that is like riding an emotional rollarcoaster (one that will make you sick with heart failures, with some casual strokes and with some symptoms of running noses and red eyes from all that crying), I can definitely say without a doubt that readers will not be disappointed by this sequel and I'm so eager for the third book, The Indigo Spell, even if I'm fearful to read it as well. Oh man . . . that ending . . . THAT ENDING! Angst people. ANGST!

The Rating5/5 stars

18 comments:

  1. YAY ADRIAN!!! I love that guy so much. I love Sydney waaay more than I loved Rose too. I couldn't care less about the predictability of the plot, the awesome characters totally make up for the lack of element of surprise of the plot. Gah! I hope The Indigo Spell releases sooner!

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    1. I love Adrian so much too. But I definitely agree - Sydney is way better than Rose. :)

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  2. Love this review, Erin! LOVE IT! I'm really surprised at how much I love TGL because I thought nothing could beat VA but Richelle is just so amazing and has created a fun new set of characters.

    Aghhh, the ending *sigh* I need more than that! Bring on The Indigo Spell! Not toooo long to go now ;)

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    1. Thank you! I thought the same thing. Never expected ANYTHING to beat VA . . . but guess I was totally wrong. :)

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  3. Five stars? And I still haven't started this series yet...I know! I said I would read Bloodlines months ago, but I never got round to it. However, after that glowing review, I am determined to start this series by the end of August at least. Hoping I'll love it! :)

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    1. You MUST read this series, Liz! You just . . . MUST!

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  4. YES!! I totally agree. Sydney is an amazing heroine and she's never annoying like some people found Rose to be. I, too, was wowed by Adrian's growth and I'm so damn excited for these two to get together. It will be OH SO GOOD <3 Super happy you loved this book too. Great review! :D

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I'm just dying for the third book now . . .

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  5. Ohhh after reading this review .. I need to get my booty into gear and read this series..Great review !

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    1. This book is a MUST for readers. A must!

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  6. Oh wow, you love Sydney even more than Rose?! GO SYDNEY! I think Rose is still my main girl, but I freaking LOVE Sydney too <3 I so adore seeing her grow, especially within the space of just one book... imagine how she's going to wow us as the series progresses?! AND ADRIAN IS OF COURSE MY MAIN MAN.

    EEEEEEEEEEEE. ERIN. ADRIAN ADRIAN ADRIAN ADRIAN *SQUEALS* You're making me sigh and swoon and pull at my hair in frustration when remembering... THAT sign *wails with Cas*

    Love, love, love your review!! <3 SOMEBODY GET US THE INDIGO SPELL STAT!!!!

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    1. I know! Who would've thought, right? Never imagined Sydney would beat my love of Rose . . . never!

      But seriously . . . we need The Indigo Spell PRONTO!!!!! Dying here . . . !!!

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  7. I seriously need to start reading the Vampire Academy series– everyone's been going on and on and on about it, especially about the spin-offs. Great review :D

    Rabiah
    Confessions of a Readaholic

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    1. VA is . . . amazing. Everyone HAS to read it! :)

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  8. I'm glad you loved it!!! This is one of my favourite series and can't wait for the next book! Great Review!

    Ange @ Moonlight Reader

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    1. I can't wait for the next book too! Thanks Ange!

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  9. Wow, this is such a great review. I loved this book too. I also like Sydney more than Rose. I relate a lot more to Sydney. And I love how Adrian has developed. In some ways, Mead's books are formulaic but I forget all of that as I get sucked into the books.

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  10. DAJFHDJLHFAJFA! *runs away and cries*
    OK, OK. I NEED TO EFFING READ IT NOW. Well, actually, I have to read Bloodlines, so I can read this!

    It seems to be almost universal that this is even better than Bloodlines and and and... AWESOME review, Erin! ♥

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