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Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

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Bloodlines by Richelle MeadBloodlines (Bloodlines #1)
Richelle Mead
Published: Aug. 23, 2011 (Penguin Teen)
Purchase at: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Bloodlines may be a separate series from Richelle Mead’s remarkable Vampire Academy, but it’s set in the same world with some of the same characters. It also takes place following the end of Last Sacrifice, the final VA book. If you read Bloodlines before finishing Last Sacrifice you’ll know some big things — who Rose ends up with, Moroi political stuff, a big Dragomir family secret, etc. If you’ve never read Vampire Academy, you can still completely enjoy Bloodlines. All that said, if you don’t want Last Sacrifice spoiled for you, skip this review.

Having met Sydney Sage in the Vampire Academy series, I wasn’t too sure if I’d want to spend an entire book with her. As an alchemist, her job is to keep the vampire world from interfering on humans. They are big on science and rules and firmly believe all vampires — both Moroi (living, good) and Strigoi (dead, evil) — are unnatural and wrong. The fact they can do magic creeps Sydney out. But we’d always seen Sydney through others’ eyes in Vampire Academy, and I have to say I loved her in Bloodlines.

Sydney is in a precarious situation. She’s spent more time with the vampires than most of her kind, and she’s started to see they aren’t all bad. She kind of, sort of likes a few. She chose to help them in Vampire Academy, and now is living the fallout. No one trusts her. There’s talk of sending her to a “re-education” camp, which no one every comes back from. But as she’s the most familiar with their kind, she’s tasked with protecting Jill, Queen Lissa’s little sister. Everyone is out to kill Jill because if Lissa doesn’t have a sibling, she can’t be queen. (Politics at play.) So, they’ve decided to hide Jill out at a human boarding school in Palm Springs. Along with her come Eddie, her guardian,  and Adrian. He has a protective, brotherly outlook on Jill, whom he still calls “jailbait.”

In Bloodlines, Sydney must play along with the vampires, pretend to be sisters with one and is still supposed to hate them. The more time she spends with Jill, Adrian and Eddie, the more she understands them and sees their humanity. And she has to make sure no one else recognizes that she’s starting to care for the vampires, because if anyone knows the punishment would be severe. The shock of realizing the truths you’ve been raised with aren’t fact is hard enough, but to have to adjust to that while fearing the realization could end your life? Terrifying.

Adrian plays a big role in the book, and it’s rather beautiful. Sydney is one of the few who really sees Adrian as more than a walking mess. He’s still in agony over Rose breaking his heart. Thoughts of her pain him, and he’s actually trying not to be self-destructive for Jill’s sake. We get much more insight on the Moroi party boy. I think everyone’s always known Adrian had depth, but this is a new level, and I have a lot of hope for him in the course of the series.

There are glimmers of hints at future romance in Bloodlines, but this is really a story about people trying to figure out who they are and questioning what they expect from others — humans and vampires alike.

In addition to the big-time character development, there’s a bit of a murder mystery and a very sketchy, jerk of an Alchemist watching over Sydney’s shoulder. Bloodlines offers a smart heroine, redemption for a beloved Vampire Academy character and the kind of twisty plot one expects from Richelle Mead. Fun and engaging, Bloodlines is certainly a Vampire Book Club recommended read.

On a side note: There’s some set-up to have Sydney deal with body image issues. It feels logical being around size 0 Moroi girls. But I hated hearing her lament being a size 2. Really wish Mead had upped that a smidgen. I’m sure once we delve into it deeper, it’ll make sense that she’s focused on size 0 being perfection, but still hard to read.

Sexual content: References to sex

10 Responses to “Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead”

  1. Alice says:

    Bloodlines was… amazing. Definitely worth the wait! I didn’t get her body image issues, though. A size 4 is what in AUstralian sizes? Like a 10? That’s not fat or anything! I was just confused.

    Also, Richelle mentioned a Rose and Dimitri cameo. I was so excited cos I thought there’d be a bit on both of them and not just a page! 🙁 Have to wait till the next book to see more of Dimitri.

  2. Naj says:

    I can’t wait to read this. My copy is taking awhile to arrive though -.-

  3. cibele says:

    I for one don’t want Dimitri and Rose making appearances here and there. It’s a new series, time for a fresh start. They got their own book, got their HEA and to me it’s done. If they have to appear, I wish it’s brief and only because they are extremely necessary to the story.

    About the body issues, Adrian said she was too pretty, but too skinny. Bless him.

    • I think you need Rose and Dimitri making appearances as their actions are influencing some of what’s happening (the forces back at Court, etc.), and Dimitri, especially, is a catalyst for Adrian. However, they are really just in the book for a page or two. (Book 2, I think, will have much more Dimitri, however.)

  4. Sandy says:

    I finished this book this morning and I really enjoyed it. Sydney is certainly a very different heroine then Rose but she’s still a great leading lady :). And Adrian in this book was just great I love the Nevermore scene.

  5. Shaunna says:

    I finished this yesterday and posted a review today. I really enjoyed the majority of it, although I too wasn’t sure about having Sydney as a narrator until I got into the book.

    I have to agree with the comment above about loving the Nevermore tattoo scene with Adrian. There were many points when reading the novel that I laughed out loud. Such a good character.

    I kind of disagree with not having Rose and Dimitri, though. Obviously they shouldn’t be in it constantly, but they will need to be in it for many parts of the plot to work. Also, I can’t really complain about having a little more Dimitri in my life! Haha.

    Great review, thanks for posting! 🙂

    Shaunna
    Scarlet Letters

  6. dreamworld says:

    for some reason (nobody cringe) im just not getting into the book i’m about half way threw and i just feel like its drawn out….*sigh* im very disappointed ive never seen a writing style like this from R.mead be4 🙁 i was so excited for this but…i really dont even wanna finish usually im so excited to read her books and read them as much as i can this one not so much it seems like the same this going on just reworded…(thought the adrian parts are pretty cool)

  7. dreamworld says:

    for some reason (nobody cringe) im just not getting into the book i’m about half way threw and i just feel like its drawn out….*sigh* im very disappointed ive never seen a writing style like this from R.mead be4 🙁 i was so excited for this but…i really dont even wanna finish usually im so excited to read her books and read them as much as i can this one not so much it seems like the same this going on just reworded…(thought the adrian parts are pretty cool)

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