This is a review of “The Golden Lily” by Richelle Mead. It is the second novel in the Bloodlines Series. It follows on from “Bloodlines“. The Bloodlines Series is a spin-off series from the very popular YA Vampire Academy Series.
As this book is a part of series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel. Do not read if you want to read this series in the future and do not want to know of any potential plot spoilers.
After solving the mystery of the strange enhancement tattoos, and after finding out who was behind the throat slitting attacks on Moroi adolescents (read “Bloodlines“), life is back to normal (well as normal as it gets) for Sydney Sage, Alchemist. She’s still posing as a student at Amberwood Prep in Palm Springs, as part of her assignment. She’s still “big sister” to vampire Jill Dragomir, and tasked with her protection. Jill is sister to the Moroi Queen Vasilia, and until an old law is revised, her life is in danger from Moroi dissenters. Along with Jill and Sydney, Eddie, Jill’s Dhampir Guardian and “brother” and Angeline another Dhampir protector and “cousin” also attend Amberwood. Adrian, another Moroi is posing as their older brother, and has to be close to Jill as she is shadow-bound to him (he brought her back to life using his vampiric abilities).
Sydney is actually enjoying her assignment and likes her fake family. However, she knows that as an Alchemist, she shouldn’t be getting so involved. It’s forbidden to be intimate and friendly with vampires, and being sent to a Re-education Facility is a very real possibility. But Sydney really likes her Moroi and Dhampir friends. The beliefs of the Alchemists seem more rigid and stiff to her than ever, but she’s finding it hard not to heed them. She enjoys attending boarding school (having been homeschooled her while life), and has even branched out, somewhat awkwardly, into the dating world. Her human boyfriend Brayden is nice, very smart and conversation with him is great, but Sydney’s not feeling any sparks. She’s left wondering if her social awkwardness extends to romantic relationships? Maybe they’re not for her? And Mrs Terwilliger (her history teacher) insists on Sydney studying texts on magic for her Research Project even though she knows Sydney has a large aversion.
Angeline is having trouble fitting in too. She’s a Dhampir from the wild Keeper community, and she’s not used to regular school life. Adrian too, is not having a great time. Being a rare Spirit user (Moroi have abilities linked to the elements) he’s been recruited into a research team, with the aim of uncovering why those who have been returned to their own selves after being Strigoi (evil, forcibly turned, undead vampires) through the use of Spirit cannot become Strigoi again (this was discovered in “Bloodlines“). They would love to discover the reason, as it would mean an immunity to becoming Strigoi could be implemented for Moroi, Dhampirs and humans alike. Adrian’s fine with the research goal, but not so much his research partner. Dimitri Belikov is a former Strigoi and kick-ass Dhampir Guardian. He’s also the current boyfriend of Rose (of Vampire Academy fame), Adrian’s ex-girlfriend. Also helping is Sonia Karp, former Strigoi and also a Moroi Spirit user. Eddie is helping out as their “baseline” Dhampir. They are examining the differences between Eddie and Dimitri. Eddie too is suffering from an unrequited crush on Jill. Awkward, as they’re posing as siblings.
Life is going on in a nice if slightly dysfunctional manner. The research is going a little slow but aside from some small issues, nothing much is out of the ordinary. Until one night when Sonia and Sydney are attacked by a group of humans. It seems Vampire Hunters do exist after all. Sydney and Adrian decide to take self defence classes and Sonia decides to stay indoors. Until one night when she leaves to talk to Sydney, and she is kidnapped. Can they find Sonia before it’s too late? And what will Sydney have to resort to, to get her back?
Can they maintain their cover? Sort out their relationships? Can Sydney break free of her Alchemist conditioning?
I liked this book. I bought it when it was first published, but did not read it until now. Partly because I had other series and books to read, but mostly because I wanted to be able to read the next book in the series immediately, which I can now do! I enjoyed seeing Sydney grow socially, and wrestle with her ingrained beliefs. Adrian was as entertaining as he always is, and Jill’s ‘little infatuation’ (cryptic I know) was quite funny. The Vampire a Hunters were interesting, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about Marcus Finch. With the way this book ended, I am pretty glad I waited to read it, as now I can get stuck in to “The Indigo Spell” right away.