As a fan of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, I was looking forward to Bloodlines, a spinoff series featuring a few of the minor characters of VA.
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, “one of a group of humans who serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires.” She’s been raised to distrust even the “good vampires,” the Moroi, and half-vampires, called dhampirs. But after she is befriended by Rose Hathaway, (protagonist of the VA books), Sydney realizes she may not wholeheartedly believe everything she’s been taught.
Bloodlines begins with Sydney’s newest assignment. Though the Alchemists are still wary of her due to her relationship with Rose, she’s been chosen to accompany Moroi princess Jill Dragomir into hiding. They’re sent to a boarding school in Palm Springs, California, where Sydney, Jill, guardian Eddie Castile, and bad-boy Adrian Ivashkov pose as siblings.
I love this book for many reasons. First, it maintains the feel of VA but is entirely different. The world of vampires is much the same. There are Moroi, Strigoi, dhampirs, and Alchemists, and they abide by the same social rules and taboos that were established in the Vampire Academy series. (Of course, the Bloodlines series can still stand alone, and so though it is helpful to have read the VA books first, it is not necessary.) Having said that, there is a new setting, and the book features entirely new conflicts and relationships.
Sydney Sage is not Rose Hathaway. She is responsible, intellectual, and cautious. She is remarkably real and relatable to the reader because she has both strengths and weaknesses. While she is adept in handling situations with a cool head, she also feels the pressure of the Alchemists and especially her father to conform to their beliefs and ideology. She lacks the social skills other teens her age have already developed (which makes for pretty hilarious dialogue and interactions), and on top of it all she is uncomfortable with her body image.
At the beginning of the book, she makes it clear the only reason she’s willing to take on this task is to protect her younger sister from the life she believes to be stifling. But the reader watches her grow over the course of the book, as her beliefs and ideas begin to change and she becomes more of her own person.
In this series, the Strigoi are much less of a threat, whereas in the VA books Rose often battled these undead creatures. The Bloodlines books give more insight into the world of the Alchemists, and introduce new groups that pose threats, like the vampire hunters.
There is action, drama, romance, moral dilemmas, and high stakes. I couldn’t put the book down because I got so caught up in the story. Richelle Mead is an incredible storyteller and I highly recommend both the Vampire Academy series and the Bloodlines books.
Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts!