Genres: Young adult, paranormal – vampires, romance.
Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. 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 Dragomir – 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 last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty – a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning…
Spoiler note: This review does not contain spoilers.
Bloodlines is a spin-off series to the successful Vampire Academy series, which is a guilty pleasure of mine; it’s a thoroughly entertaining read, although it faltered a little from the fourth book onwards. The main characters in this series are Sydney Sage, Jill Dragomir, Eddie Castile, and Adrian Ivashkov.
Vampire Academy is narrated by the awesome Rose Hathaway but she only appears briefly in Bloodlines, which is instead narrated by Sydney. I was instantly happy with our new narrator even though she’s vastly different from Rose. I always slightly identified with and admired Sydney. I’ve been reading some criticism of her as a character for being bland and boring, but I wouldn’t use either of those words to describe her. She’s educated and has a love for knowledge and learning – why should that be frowned upon? She may be polite and have a constant need to follow the rules, but she’s not “vanilla”. She’s honest but in a way that’s not rude, and helpful but definitely not a pushover. The other characters are also exactly as we knew them in Vampire Academy: Adrian, is well, Adrian. Jill is still a little unknown to us (and a little childish) but we get to see some of her personality shine through. Eddie’s still a conscientious guardian, and I hope he gets more of a focus in the sequels.
As for the storyline itself, I would have preferred the pace to be more balanced as the action scenes and mystery unveiling take place right at the end of the book, which means that it feels very rushed. I also found Bloodlines to be very dialogue-driven compared to Vampire Academy. We discover a lot of details not because the plot slowly unravels and we figure out for ourselves what’s going on, but because Sydney has various realisations and thoughts on the events. I believe this is what other people mean when they say an author should ‘show, not tell’. It often seemed like it was an easy way out of making the plot detailed.
Nonetheless, I found Bloodlines to be entertaining. I enjoyed the plot and sub-plots as well as the brewing romance between certain characters. I won’t go into detail about the plot but I did guess who one of culprits were in advance (go me!). It has a very dramatic ending and one that leads nicely onto the sequel, The Golden Lily, to be released June 2012.
Thank you Penguin Books for sending me this book to review!
My Rating: ★★★★