Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
As soon as I was about 100 pages from the end of Last Sacrifice, I made sure to get Bloodlines, the first book in the Vampire Academy spin-off series. I didn't exactly love Sydney in VA, but I love Richelle Mead's writing and VA so much, I'd read anything about it! Bloodlines certainly did not disappoint! It wasn't as action packed or as humorous as the VA series, but it was still enjoyable. Bloodlines was everything I expected it to be, and I loved every minute, so much so I finished the book in a day.
Sydney is an Alchemist; a special human trained to protect humans from vampires, and vampire secrets. Even though their job is all about working with vampires, most Alchemists are terrified of vampires and dhampirs (half human, half vampire). After helping and somehow befriending a dhampir and some Moroi (good vamps), Sydney is in big trouble with the Alchemists. So when she is awoken and pulled out of bed in the middle of the night, Sydney is sure she is going to be finally punished for her behaviour by being taken to a Re-education centre. The last thing she expects to hear is that she is going to pose as a roommate and sister to Moroi princess, Jill Dragomir, the illegitimate daughter of Eric Dragomir (Queen Lissa Dragomir's father, making Jill Lissa’s half-sister). Although Sydney has had several indiscretions regarding Alchemist laws, she is perfectly qualified for the job. With the little time she has spent around vampires, Sydney is almost-but-not-quite comfortable with vampires, so she accepts the job. But as Sydney grows closer and closer to the vampires, her lack of professionalism is the least of her worries.
Bloodlines was good! I was a bit hesitant in reading from Sydney's POV because she is a bit dull and, obviously, not as awesome as Rose. But the constant academic, intelligent, OCD and thoughtful brain was refreshing. While Bloodlines was not as intense or as frightening as any of the VA books, it still had its own exciting twists and turns. The Alchemist side was also very interesting. I loved how there were several different "plots" going on, and they all mingled together nicely at the end. The betrayals and lies were nicely woven in at the end, too. In fact, everything about this book was expertly done. Even though it was expertly done in the VA books, it was differently done through a totally different narrator.
Sydney was… alright, I suppose. I didn't expect her to be like Rose, so let's stop the comparisons. After the time Sydney spent with Rose and other vampires and dhampirs, I would have expected her to be more open to living and interacting with vampires. It was understandable that when speaking to her Alchemist superiors she was hesitant, opposed, neutral and professional with the idea, but in her head I expected her to be… okay with it. The fact that she wasn’t, annoyed me quite a bit, because Sydney knew the vampires and dhampirs she would be associating with we're harmless. That pissed me off. Sydney was too... pure, too perfect. She expected too much for herself and had a lot resting on her young shoulders, so I guess I kind of felt sorry for her more than anything. The good thing? The further along in the book, the better Sydney got. She loosened and lightened up a lot more and wasn't as afraid around vampires. She was still awkward, but that was just a social problem. I grew to like the new and improved, more vampire-confident Sydney.
I loved Adrian in the VA books; I just didn't like him with Rose. Rose and Dimitri were perfect for each other, sorry Adrian. I was happy Adrian managed to get his own story (and hopefully a happy ending!). Even though the Adrian through Sydney's eyes was different to the Adrian through Rose's eyes, he was still just as amusing. Adrian seemed to take Sydney by surprise. She knew him and knew of him, but was still shocked by his personality. But still, it was the Adrian we, the fans of VA, know and love. He was just as charming, hilarious, and slightly crazy.
"Adrian accepted his [glass] from Dorothy. “Somehow, I'm thinking that's not Sage's concern. I thought Alchemists avoided alcohol the same way they do primary colours." [Adrian to Keith]
"Keith was just bringing the glass to his lips when Adrian said. "Mmm. O positive, my favourite." Keith sprayed out the wine he'd just drunk and promptly started coughing." [Adrian to Keith]
Bloodlines - all comparisons aside - was really good. It had its own, different and interesting complications and problems. Most of all, I found Sydney's narration and mind new and refreshing. I really liked Bloodlines and will definitely continue to read this series!