REVIEW by Jena: Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead (@RichelleMead)

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California.

I had some serious apprehensions when I read the synopsis of this book (something I normally try to avoid!). I absolutely LOVED the Vampire Academy series but the Sydney Sage was not one of my favorite characters from the series. However, Adrian Ivashkov was and when I saw a blip on the net stating that he was also part of the series, I decided to try it out.
I purchased Bloodlines as an audio book because I had good luck with the VA series audio books and it was the same narrator. Unfortunately, it took me a really long time to get through this book because I found that I kept getting bored in the beginning of this book and it resulted in me pressing pause…….a lot.
The opening of this book is very slow moving. It seems like there’s a lot of unnecessary character introduction for a spin off series. I mean, I understand that there is a certain amount that is needed for things to flow naturally. However, therein lies the problem. It doesn’t feel like it’s flowing naturally. My feeling is a series is a series. Some are just not meant to and do not work well as a standalone but that’s not exactly a bad thing. Dont force it to be something it’s not. Bottom line is that Bloodlines is a spinoff. Be ok with that fact. If someone picks it up, give them just enough back story so that they know they need to get off their ass and read the original series. Simple as that.
With that being said, once I got past that initial rehashing of every character profile and every plot point that was important to those characters, Bloodlines was a fantastic book. You just have to be patient and get through the redundant information. Once you do, you’ll love Bloodlines.
When I was reading the Vampire Academy series, I was very much a huge fan of Adrian’s. Even now, that very first scene with him and Rose on the deck at the retreat is one of my favorites. There was just something about him – some sort of spark in his personality – that told me I had found a character that I could read for a very long time. He was sarcastic and witty but when the moment was really important, he shines like no one else can. In a very Adrian fashion. Usually with vodka. I heart him. I felt horrible for him at the end of the VA series and I’m really happy to see that Richelle Mead decided that he was a character worthy of being followed for a while longer.
Adrian in Bloodlines really is the same Adrian that we all know and love. He’s got issues. Issues that come from within. Issues because of his mom. Issues because of Rose Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov. Bloodlines give us a glimpse into the aftermath that he’s going through. And again, all is handled with sarcasm…….and vodka.
Sydney is still Sydney too. She’s had to face the music with the alchemists following her actions in Last Sacrifice and she’s still not 100% trusted in this series. Sydney kind of reminds me of Clint Eastwood in Gran Turino. The Vampire Academy series and Bloodlines both have present paralells to racism. Sydney is like the racist who suddenly sees the object of their hate in a new light. When Sydney and Rose met up in the Vampire Academy series, the seed was planted. Sydney was given the opportunity to see that the beliefs she was raised with (both vampires and Dhampirs are creatures created in, by and of evil) are not 100% accurate. Mixed in with the mystery of day that makes up the majority of the Bloodlines plot, Sydney is going through inner turmoil – struggling between the result of years of brainwashing and budding friends ships with Adrian, Jill, Eddie and a few other Moroi and Dhampirs.
I had already developed a bit of respect for Sydney in the VA books she appeared in for putting her ass on the line to help Rose but with Bloodlines being from Syd’s point of view, we get a much clearer picture of exactly what is at stake when she puts herself out there for the Moroi and Dhampirs. It’s really quite admirable.
As for the plot itself in Bloodlines, Richelle Mead did a fairly good job at weaving the mystery on this one. There are several mysteries running at the same time in this one. I am sorry to report that I guessed the outcome correctly on all but one of them by the time I was at the half way mark in this book. However, the very last puzzle piece I did NOT see coming at all and it’s a doozy.
Completely aside from the big mysteries of Bloodlines, my favorite part of this entire book was the very last sentence. And not because it signified the end of the book but because it was an indicator of what’s to come in The Golden Lily, the next book in the Bloodlines series. The Golden Lily is due out on June 12th and I am ticking down the minutes now.
Overall, I give Bloodlines 4 solid stars. A bit of a slow start but a great story once it got rolling. And that last sentence…… I so can not wait!!!!
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