Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
3 out of 5 stars
This is the first in a spin-off series of Vampire Academy and I just finished it last week, so I thought I'd go ahead and do a whole VA week lol. This series will focus on Alchemist, Sydney Sage, and I thought I would enjoy her story more but it just fell flat to me. I liked Sydney quite a bit in VA, she was bright and spunky, but it didn't come across in Bloodlines. I'm sure I'll probably still get the second book though, so hopefully she gets fleshed out more as the series progresses. Also a note: I wouldn't recommend reading this series as a stand-alone or before the VA because there are plenty of spoilers and characters from the first series that you will need to know about. I will be assuming you have read VA, so there will be spoilers in this review for it!
The Alchemists are a group of humans set up to protect other humans against vampires: mostly Strigoi but Moroi also. They are incredibly biased against all vamps, to the point of racism. It left me with a strong icky taste in my mouth, if you know what I mean. They were so completely and utterly blinded to anything good in any of the vamps, even the elite Moroi that they are forced to protect at times. The racism was just shoved down your throat. Ugh. Alchemists stand out by having a golden lily tattoo on their cheek, which is infused with, you guessed it, some of that Moroi magic they are all terrified of. Couldn't they have picked a little less conspicuous place for a tattoo though??
Sydney is pulled out of bed in the middle of the night by her dad for an Alchemist emergency. Seems that Jill, Lissa's younger sister, has been threatened by some Moroi because they can't directly attack Queen Lissa. The Alchemists agree to hide Jill away for a while, but they need someone youngish to stay with her and keep her out of trouble. Enter Sydney. Or actually, Sydney's younger sister, but Sydney doesn't want her involved in Alchemist business yet, so she insists on taking the job. Especially when she realizes the head guy on the "job" is a skeezy suck-up named Keith, whom she has a (not good) history with.
So Sydney heads out to sunny California (yep, vampires in Cali) and gets a pretty big shock when she finds out who Jill's chaperone's/escorts/Guardians are: Eddie and Adrian. Woot Adrian! He's pretty much the only thing that gave this book the 3 stars. Even though he was pretty dang mopey for most of the book lol. Stupid Rose, picking the wrong guy. Anyway! Jill, Eddie, and Sydney are enrolled in the local prep school, which excites Sydney, because she's a big old nerd. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) They have to pose as siblings, along with Adrian, which is pretty amusing, seeing as none of them look anything alike.
Jill is fifteen years old, but man is she boring and predictable. She's also apparently a guy magnet, because every guy not "related" to her is totally in love with her, and even the ones "related" are totally smitten. I don't get it. Is she using Compulsion? Does she have love magic along with water? I don't know, but it's weird and totally out of character for half the guys. I'm so glad the story didn't focus on her much, because I don't think I could have finished it. :(
There are a lot of unexplained things going on in this book: too many if you ask me. Are there actually Vampire Hunters? What's up with the teacher? How does she know stuff?? Who's trying to kill Jill? Why is everyone falling for her? Why is Sydney's dad such a controlling monster? (Because, really, I have no doubt that her eating habits, OCD tendencies, urge to follow the rules no matter what, and racism are thanks to him.) And finally...why, why, why, why on the last page!??!?!! That's all I'm going to say. :)