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.
So I liked the Vampire Academy books all right, but I’m REALLY starting to get into the Bloodlines series, and I think the reasons I like it so much more are:
a. I can identify with Sydney much more easily than with Rose.
b. I’m not a huge fan of fight scenes, and the Bloodlines books have less than VA.
c. I LOVE Adrian.
Seriously, I think I could just read bantering dialogue between Sydney and Adrian for 400 pages, without any plot, and I’d enjoy it! I especially loved the part where they snuck into the backyard…it was so sweet! I also thought the contrast between Adrian and Sydney’s other love interest, Brayden, was great (I couldn’t stand Brayden, but I think that was intentional), and I enjoyed the running joke of everyone forgetting Brayden’s name. The other characters were great as well—I’ve noticed a lot of reviewers seem to be annoyed with Jill, but I find her sweet, and I love watching the relationship between her and Eddie develop.
As far as the plot goes, though, I did have a bit more trouble. One of the reasons I often get tired of series is that they seem to drag out every little event for drama, rather than getting to the really important plot points in a more direct manner. This makes sense, since the authors need enough content to fill several books, but it does frustrate me a bit and I did notice it in both Bloodlines and The Golden Lily. Once we got into the action-oriented aspect of the book in the last hundred pages, I also felt a bit disappointed by the direction Mead took, though I think this is more a personal preference than anything else. I’m just so tired of hearing about the Hunger Games and similar books (I like HG—just tired of hearing about it!) that any storyline that references Roman gladiators and involves a large crowd eagerly witnessing violence seems a bit too familiar to me right now.
Mead’s real strengths in this novel are the witty dialogue, Sydney’s strong voice, the humor and character development, and all of those make The Golden Lily well worth the read!