Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Review: Bloodlines (Bloodlines Series #1) by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines (Bloodlines Series #1)

Author: Richelle Mead

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Synopsis: Sydney’s blood is special. That’s because she’s 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. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiances in question, her future is on the line.

When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir—the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Draomir—is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.
The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwoord Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside—and within—the school grounds. Now they’re in hiding, the drama is only beginning.

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Review: I first heard about the Bloodlines Series via fans on Twitter but didn’t pay much attention to it. I am not a fan of Richelle Mead. Her first series The Vampire Academy was HORRIBLE! Rose was not only a girl who took the word whore to a whole other level but she was incredibly selfish, reckless beyond needing and self-centered. I didn’t waste my time reading all the books in the series because frankly I could barely get through the first two (and I had to skim through the second one). I did pick up the final book in that series and skimmed through it only to discover how predictable it all was and my assumptions of Rose from the beginning remained as true until the end. So suffice to say, I wasn’t exactly excited to read Bloodlines but I was curious to know what all the hype was about, especially after my best bud Bridget loved The Golden Lily, the second novel in the Bloodlines Series, so much. (But then again she’s also a fan of the Vampire Academy Series so that probably should have been a warning of caution for me =P).

Surprisingly though I ACTUALLY did enjoy Bloodlines. Perhaps because of the fact that Rose and Dimitri weren’t involved so much with the story (THANK GOD!) or the fact that Sydney, the main lead, was ACTAULLY portrayed as a SMART woman.

Now Bloodlines is a SPIN-OFF SERIES which means the plot is pretty much the same as the VA Series with a few differences: Sydney Melrose had made a huge ghastly mistake in the eyes of her community of Alchemists by aiding a vampire (Rose) in escape and must now prove her loyalties. She is sent off to boarding school, assigned to protect Jill, Queen Lissa sister since the entire vampire community isn’t exactly thrilled that Lissa is Queen. Attempts have been made on Lissa and Jill’s life so until things get settled down Jill must be housed somewhere away for safe keeping. Enter Amberwood Prep, where our gang of misfit characters are to hide away: Sydney our book smart, sassy, racist Alchemist; Jill, the young princess in training; Eddie, a dhampir who is Jill’s guardian; Keith, the dirtbag Alchemist who is in charge of everyone; Lee, a Moroi who is the son of Clarence, the old dude’s house the vamps will use to get their feedings, and of course, the oh-so-loveable Adrian Ivanhkov, the rich, playboy vampire with magical spirit powers (who was used disgustingly by Rose in the VA Series).

I did enjoy the fact that the book was told from Sydney’s perspective. She is smart, analytical, strong (even though everyone underestimates her) and has a good heart. But she also happens to be a racist but then again, she was groomed to be. You see, Alchemists are trained not to like vampires, not to be caring or sympathetic toward them in any regard. They are trained to believe vampires are unnatural and abominations so I could understand why Sydney kept having this internal struggle with herself over wanting to befriend the vampires she was assigned to protect and wanting to run the hell away from them. I’m not saying I like racists or am I encouraging racism in any way, shape or form, but I can understand WHY she thinks the way she does, especially after meeting her father and the other Alchemists. Sydney likes following rules and likes to keep things in order because that’s the only way her father ever shows any ounce of affection toward her so when she broke the pact of the Alchemists and helped Rose and Dimitri she was shunned and wants so desperately to have her father’s approval again. Alchemy is the only thing she’s ever known, the only world she’s ever lived in so I can sympathize with her. Sydney is slowing breaking out of that world as she grows to develop a tentative friendship with Jill, Eddie, and Adrian. She’s still terrified but she’s open minded and I give her props for that.

Jill, on the other hand, was an entirely waste of protection and page space. She spent the entire book whinnying, complaining, feeling sorry for herself and throwing tantrums. I couldn’t see the point of her character. I would have just let Jill get killed if I was Eddie. If she’s ever to become Queen she would definitely be assassinated.

Keith is a douchbag extraordinaire and he played his part to a T. Lee was sweet and a cute, awkward nerd. I liked the twist with his character closer to the end. Eddie was an okay character. He is neither there nor here since his character didn’t really shine. I mean he had the kickass-strong-as-hell-fierce-gaze thing every dhampir has down and he was kind but his character wasn’t developed enough to really make a big splash.

Then there’s Adrian. The only character I liked from the VA Series. He’s still witty and infuriatingly charming as ever. He still drinks too much and parties too hard. But this time around, Adrian is more broken, much darker thanks to his fallout with Rose (why he is still hung up on her I don’t understand). I liked seeing Adrian’s sensitive side and his brotherly love for Jill but the best parts where when he would banter with Sydney. Sydney doesn’t exactly warm up to Adrian and they slowly build a love/hate friendship with each other.

For fans who expect an action packed book you will be disappointed. There are small moments of action throughout the book but the main action comes closer toward the ending, about when eighty percent of the book is done. Bloodlines gives a lot of backstory of Sydney’s connection to the Alchemists, Rose and Dimitri, her dark past with Keith and discovering who is creating the tattoos that mimic Alchemist power and being sold to students at Amberwood. The book is heavy with details and with Sydney’s thoughts which I didn’t always mind since I liked learning about the Alchemist and why she hated Keith so much, that revelation was sick and I was totally on Sydney’s side. But there was a good amount of repetition and the pacing is slow and steady. There are some really good moments of suspense but the story has many moments of dragging on because it’s weighed down by boring moments with Jill and Sydney’s judgments. The ending was pretty okay. I saw it coming and am not entirely happy about who’s come onto the scene but I liked Sydney and Adrian so I will give the second book a try.

Fans of the Vampire Academy Series will most likely not love Bloodlines as much because the action is sub-par and Sydney is nothing like Rose (which I am incredibly grateful for). But for fans who have escaped the stupidity of that series and who enjoy a good paranormal tale, should give this book a try.

Despite the fact that Bloodlines is heavy worded with descriptions, thoughts, prejudice and at times useless scenes, it has potential to be something good.

Let’s hope Richelle Mead manages to pick up the action and doesn’t ruin Sydney by turning her into a clone of Rose.

About the Author: Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

Where to Find the Author

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