Author: Richelle Mead
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Mead (when it comes in)
When alchemist, Sydney, is tasked with the undesirable assignment of watching over Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, she knows that she can make no mistakes if she wants to silence her detractors. She heads to Palm Springs where she, Jill and Jill’s guardian, Eddie, will be enrolled in an exclusive, human private school to hide Jill away from enemies in the Moroi world. Along for the ride is fellow alchemist, Keith, as well as intriguing, Moroi royal, Adrian.
Once in Palm Springs, Sydney begins to settle into a routine, attend classes, get Jill to regular feedings, banter with Adrian and contend with self-absorbed Keith. However, all is not as it seems at the school or with Sydney’s Moroi acquaintances. Some of the students have strange tattoos which are rumored to boost intelligence, mood or athletic ability. Plus, Jill’s unhealthy attachment to Adrian coupled with her problems adjusting to the student dynamic has combined to keep Sydney on her toes. Unfortunately, Sydney has a lot of unanswered questions and no one will give her any information. Whatever action she takes, she needs to do it quickly because her existence in Palm Springs is even more dangerous than she ever imagined.
Alright, I am a huge fan of the Vampire Academy (VA) series so I was excited about this spin-off. I was not a huge fan of Sydney in the VA books but I absolutely loved her in this book! Right from the beginning you are introduced to Sydney’s alchemist world, her family and her upbringing. You begin to understand the reason she is stiff and uncompromising but you also realize that she is smart and passionate about her work. She has become one of my favorite characters and I can’t wait to see how much she is going to change throughout this series. Adrian’s dynamic personality and sarcastic humor were a welcome addition to this book. I am also anticipating great things in the development of his character. A few characters from VA make cameo appearances with one big shocker addition at the end that should make the next book very interesting. Even though this is a starter book that sets up the Bloodlines series, it is still an entertaining, exciting book. I had a few plot twists figured out about midway through but there was quite a surprise near the end.
If you have never read any of the VA books, you should have no problem jumping into this series. Even though some characters carry over, Richelle Mead successfully crafts this as a stand-alone. She adequately explains the dynamics of the Moroi and Strigoi so the average reader will be able to get into this series without having read the VA books.
The Bottom Line: Bloodlines is a wonderful beginning to this VA spinoff series! Sydney is a strong, exciting main character who will carry this series well. If you were a fan of the Vampire Academy books, you should absolutely love this first book. Those who enjoy the paranormal or the paranormal romance genre should definitely give this book a try.