Bloodlines (The Bloodlines Series #1) by Richelle Mead
Sydney’s blood is special. That’s because she’s an alchemist – one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiances in question, her future is on the line.
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 unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.
The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions and forbidden romance lurk both outside – and within – the school grounds. Now that they’re in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.
The transition from being in Rose Hathaway’s head (Vampire Academy Series) to Sydney Sage’s head in Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series, can be quite jarring – but oh man do I love Sydney! Where Rose would punch first, ask questions later, Sydney over-analyzes everything and misses so many social cues it’s both embarrassing and endearing … when you’re not muttering to yourself: “for someone who is so bright, you truly are stupid sometimes”!
Following on only a few weeks after Last Sacrifice ended, we find ourselves with Sydney who has spent the Summer living in fear of the wrath of the Alchemists. Now though, she is being thrown back into the middle of the action after a mysterious attack at the Moroi Royal Court. Princess Jill Dragomir was attacked, though there are no details on what happened – all the Alchemists have to go on is that there was a threat among the Moroi to attempt to dethrone their new Queen, Lissa Dragomir. This is enough for them to agree to assist the Moroi in putting Jill under witness protection.
Rose scowled. “I should be the one staying. I should be Jill’s roommate. No offense, Sydney. We need you for the paperwork, but I’m the one who’s gotta kick anyone’s ass who gives Jill trouble.”
So Sydney is sent underground – to Palm Springs – with little information on what the situation she’s dealing with is, and under the ever watchful eye of fellow Alchemist, Keith Darnell. Whom you hate from the first time he opens his mouth (if you’re even a halfway decent human that is). It’s there that she finds herself having to role-play as family with vampires, and she fears that the Alchemists are deliberately setting her up to fail. Jill is to be her younger sister, Eddie Castile is to be Sydney’s twin, and for reasons unknown (and baffling) to the Alchemists, Adrian Ivashkov is also sent along on this mission – he and Keith are their older brothers.
“Come on, Sage. You understand how my mind works. You said I was brilliant, remember?”
Eddie glanced at me in surprise. “You did?”
“No! I never said that.” Adrian’s smile was infuriating. “Stop telling people that.”
Adrian Ivashkov, Eddie Castile, and Sydney Sage
While there is less action in Bloodlines than the Vampire Academy series, just as much happens and there is never really a dull moment. Adrian’s constant taunting of poor Sydney is hilarious, and Jill and Eddie are both amazing. I really loved watching the relationships develop between the characters, and it was awesome to read the shift in Sydney’s perspective of Moroi and Dhampirs. When Sydney met Rose in Blood Promise, and when she ended up on the run with Rose and Dimitri in Last Sacrifice, we saw her begin to grow accustomed to the Dhampirs. So after a few false starts, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see Sydney begin to warm to Eddie. Jill and Adrian though? Well, it still didn’t take too long – but those two are vampires. Ones who sustain themselves on blood. Not half-vampires like the Dhampirs who don’t drink blood. Watching her warm to them was entertaining though.
“Takes a lot of tries before you hit perfection.” He paused to reconsider that. “Well, except for my parents. They got it on the first try.”
As you’d perhaps expect, a large amount of the comedy in this book was brought to us by Adrian. Despite being a “burning man” after the way things ended for him at the conclusion of the Vampire Academy series, he was still able to throw out a snarky remark where appropriate (and sometimes inappropriate).
My favourite interactions to watch develop were between Sydney and Adrian. They were both so feisty with each other and both as stubborn as each other, yet they slowly started to realise that even though they were such polar opposites to each other, they actually had a lot in common. In this book, we got to see Adrian’s softer side when it came to Jill – he was so protective of her that if you didn’t know any better, you would have thought he really was Jill’s older brother. Also, Eddie is just the best. At everything.
“The greatest changes in history have come when people were able to shake off what others told them to do.”
There are other awesome characters that you meet for the first time in this book. From seemingly scatter-brained history teacher, Ms. Terwilliger, to tough and driven Trey Juarez, and even Micah – who reminded Eddie painfully of his best friend Mason Ashford.
I loved this book a lot, and I think that it is a great way to follow the Vampire Academy series (once you adjust to the Rose-Sydney transition)!
“I decided the Alchemists needed an entire department devoted to handling Adrian Ivashkov.”
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