The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I hadn't even finished Bloodlines when I bought The Golden Lily. I knew I would enjoy Bloodlines and I knew I would need the sequel straight away (and there was a sale at Big W...)! Once again Richelle Mead has produced another breathtaking novel full of suspense, romance and risky behaviour. I loved The Golden Lily, even more than Bloodlines.
After the thrills and spills in Bloodlines, Dimitri Belikov and Sonya Karp are brought to Palm Springs to start a research program regarding Strigoi. Sydney's increasingly friendly behaviour to Jill, Sonya, Eddie, Angeline, Dimitri and of course, charming Adrian has her questioning her Alchemist beliefs and how unprofessional her behaviour towards this task is becoming. When a close friend, Trey, sets her up with Brayden, Sydney is delighted to be able to hang out with someone as intelligent as her, and most importantly, someone who is human and normal. When "family engagements", become more and more frequent, what new threats are Sydney and her vampire friends facing? And why is Adrian getting weirder and weirder? Surely it's the spirit crazy effects… right?
I enjoyed The Golden Lily a lot more than Bloodlines. Don't get me wrong, Bloodlines was fabulous, I just enjoyed Sydney's character a whole lot more in this sequel. The mysteries were larger and more... mysterious, for lack of a better word. Everything character and plot wise was a lot better, too. Sydney even found a social life! As usual Richelle Mead managed to captivate audiences again with a superb sequel to Bloodlines.
Sydney was a LOT better in this book. She was not as awkward and nervous as she had first been. In the beginning, her attitude towards vampires was the same due to “unfortunate circumstances”, but she once again lightened up and was friendly… until the end. Sydney was still the usual dull, polite, intelligent, oblivious Alchemist girl, just a whole lot better. Her attitude was more 21st century and she slowly - very slowly, if at all - became badass (around page 380 Sydney started going a big badass on us!). I liked the new and improved Sydney!
"I don't want anything from you," I said "Unless it's an apology to Adrian." [Sydney to Nathan]
Adrian… Oh Adrian. I could see all the hints you were dropping to Sydney, but unfortunately she didn't. Adrian full on turned his charm on and became very protective of Sydney; Beautiful, oblivious Sydney. I felt sorry for Adrian. It was clear he had fallen for the most oblivious, rule abiding, socially and romantically awkward, Alchemist girl. He could have practically any girl he wanted, yet the one he did want, grew up believing his race was unnatural. Despite all that, Adrian was his usual self; occasional-spirit-induced crazy and a drunken mess, yet adorable, protective and charming! Also, for the record, I think Adrian should have just beat Brayden up, claimed it was "brotherly love/intuition" and kidnapped Sydney and admitted his feelings and made her admit hers - because, honestly, Sydney definitely liked him back. Poor, poor Adrian.
"He still looked good, of course. He always looked good, no matter the condition of his clothing and hair.” [Sydney about Adrian]
The Golden Lily was eventful. Definitely not predictable, it was full of little unexpected twists and turns. Everything that happened made Sydney even more badass and less weak. She endured new and scary experiences. Every twist and turn left me a little bit more shocked each time. I could hardly believe the “event”!! I felt so betrayed.
THE ENDING OH MY GOSH THE ENDING!! Noooooooo, Sydney! What were you thinking!? That's right, you weren't! What is wrong with you!? Yep, everything. Gosh I cannot believe what she did. Reading her thoughts and then reading what she told Adrian was heart breaking. It was as if she was trying to convince herself. And she just cut Adrian down and left him heart broken. He is now probably going to go into a drunken stupor. This was basically the only time I really hated Sydney. I was left speechless and emotional!! My heart joined my jaw on the floor.
Apart from the horrific and horrifying ending, I loved The Golden Lily. The VA and Bloodlines books are pretty much the only books I have been reading for about a month so I am terribly sad that I have to wait until 2013 for the next book. The stories of Rose, Dimitri, Sydney, Adrian and everyone else have become a comfort and a guilty pleasure. The Golden Lily was everything I expected from the brilliant author, Richelle Mead. Amazing, once again!