Taking place two months after the events of Bloodlines, our protagonist, Sydney Sage sees in person the consequences all Alchemists face if they are suspected of being friendly with vampires; not just the malevolent Strigoi but the Moroi and Dhampirs the Alchemists unwillingly ally themselves with. At the end of Bloodlines it was discovered that an associated alchemist, Keith, had been using Moroi blood to make enhanced tattoos and were selling it to the local teens for profit. Unfortunately for Keith his black market business was translated as him having friendly feelings towards Moroi and because of this he was sent to The Re-Education Centre. In Sydney’s mind The Re-Education Centre is like the stories parents tell their children to make them behave, except it’s a real place. Almost, no one knows what goes on there but you know it’s the last place you want to be and after seeing the effects the place has on Keith someone she knows has no benevolent thoughts towards vampires and is only suspected by the Alchemists as such, Sydney definitely has cause to be worried about her own actions towards her vampire charges since she does consider them her friends.
From my experience with reading the Vampire Academy series and Bloodlines, this first scene in The Golden Lily is obviously some heavy handed foreshadowing of things to come and will not be the last we hear of The Re-Education centre in the series. Lucky for Sydney though it’s the last she has any sort of connection with it for the rest of the book because after her visit with the Alchemists she heads back to Palm Springs. Not only to where Jill, Eddie, and Adrian are but also Jill’s new guardian Angeline and Spirit researchers Sonya Karp and Dimitri, Adrian’s former romantic rival.
There wasn’t a lot of action in The Golden Lily, just like there wasn’t a lot of action in Bloodlines which at first I thought I was going to have a problem with because if there isn’t much action how interesting could the story possibly be? Very, this may not be an action or plot oriented novel but the characters definitely keep it interesting. Just like Sydney developed as a character in Bloodlines she continues to do so here and not only her but Adrian our rich, witty, laidback playboy. While Sydney learns to shed her rigid upbringing, Adrian, who may still resorts to his old vices, also continues to show growth and maturity while still dishing out hilarious one liners.
The witch storyline that was introduced near the end of Bloodline continues strong in this second instalment of the series, and not only that but the initially dismissed notion of their being vampire hunters is also disproved. Many members of the group could be in danger but they are distracted by their own agendas. Jill may be a Moroi princess in hiding but she is still a teenager distracted by boys and her own low self-esteem, Eddie is a guardian but he still can’t ignore his feelings for Jill, Angeline is a dhampir with raw talent but her own upbringing is causing the group problems at school, and Sonya and Dimitri are determined to find a way to use Spirit to put an end to strigoi but their determination constantly puts Sydney in an awkward position.
The Golden Lily was a completely predictable read, which is why I could not give it five stars but the characters and the romance almost make up for it. I am not much for romance in books but it was definitely my favourite part of this novel, it was subtle and the build-up is gradual and very realistic and because of it, the last chapter of this book was definitely my favourite part. I have re-read it about four times already and think it’s perfect. I definitely need to get my hands on The Indigo Spell.
Subtle and realistic romance
Fun and loveable characters
Previously published on my blog: http://fictionfervor.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/review-the-golden-lily-by-richelle-mead/
I love Richelle Mead. Her Vampire Academy series is my second-favorite fantasy series (only Harry Potter beats it), and I own every one of her young adult novels. (That currently amounts to eight.)
So I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that I loved The Golden Lily.
Mind you, I didn’t love it as much as her other books. There was something lacking in The Golden Lily that I always looked forward to in her other YA novels: the element of surprise. Richelle Mead had always managed to catch me off guard countless times in her Vampire Academy series and a few times in Bloodlines. But I never felt that jolt of surprise when reading The Golden Lily.
I might be giving away a spoiler right now, but honestly I don’t think it matters too much if I do. But the thing is, The Golden Lily involves vampire hunters. Cool, huh? I loved how Richelle Mead managed to address another of those “vampire myths” in this book, so I was pretty happy with the plotline. But, unlike the characters in the novel, I knew vampire hunters was real in the world of Moroi, Strigoi, and dhampirs. With Clarence’s warnings about how he was being hunted by vampire hunters in the past, I could tell. Because coincidences don’t happen in books.
The plotline would have been perfect if only it included that Richelle Mead-esque element of surprise.
On the other hand, I adored the characters. Sydney’s view of vampires has really changed, to the point that she actually likes them. In the Vampire Academy series, we never had that as a problem because Rose was half-vampire herself, but it’s interesting to see Sydney change. She’s still that know-it-all Alchemist, but she’s becoming a tolerant-of-vampires know-it-all Alchemist.
And Adrian. Oh, sigh. Poor, poor Adrian.
The romance in this novel definitely made up for the lack in Bloodlines. Sydney’s caught in a bit of a love triangle, though she doesn’t know it herself. Brayden or Adrian? Of course, she has to be with Adrian (I love them together!), but they still have that pesky issue of human vs. vampire. Sigh. And of course, I wasn’t a big fan of Brayden. He’s annoyingly smart. (Never thought I’d call someone that, hmm.)
The romance was also upped in the supporting characters. Jill is dating Micah, while Angeline (newly recruited former Keeper) tries to get Eddie’s attention. But Eddie longs for Jill. Quite a big circle here, hmm?
That ending made me want to cry. Because it is a cliffhanger for two of the romances in this novel. Urghh.
The Golden Lily was absolutely enchanting and did not lack in action or romance. A masterpiece–but it did fall short of my expectations, because, after all, it’s a Richelle Mead book. And Richelle Mead books simply must be perfect.