The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #2 (2/6)
Published by Razorbill on June 20, 2012
Genres: [Young Adult] Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
3.5 Stars, Completed March 25, 2015
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Do you usually write reviews on books right after you’ve finished reading them or do you take a couple of days to process your thoughts? Well, it’s obviously the latter for me. It took me 2 weeks to make this review because I needed to gather and finalize my thoughts (and honestly, I’ve been swamped with school work and final midterms).
I was much more satisfied with this installment in comparison to Bloodlines. The Golden Lily begins with Sydney in Virginia, where she is called by higher ranking Alchemists to see Keith Darnell in confinement and judge his mental state. From Bloodlines, readers would know that Keith illegally worked with vampires to run a celestial tattoo business. It was bad of him to use these supernatural tattoos, but, in the Alchemists’ eyes, even worse to be in cohorts with vampires, since they view all types of vampires as evil creatures of the night. During this visit Sydney was also able to meet a delirious human man obsessed with becoming strigoi, the most evil vampire race. Once she sees him she’s reminded as to why Alchemists have to keep the divide between humans and vampires.
This introduction is crucial to the overall story of this installment because from here Sydney begins to wonder if she’s any worse than Keith. In Vampire Academy, vampires disturbed her and made her uneasy, but in Bloodlines she becomes accustomed and even attached to the vampires she’s with daily. After seeing Angeline and other vampires that live amongst humans, Sydney also wonders whether humans like that deranged man is a fluke and just an extreme case the Alchemists put on display. Battling this internal struggle, she begins to question all the Alchemist rules and morals she’s always believed in. And along with the usual problems (living with vampires, making sure there’s a divide between Alchemist work and social time with vampires, and protecting Jill from harm), Sydney learns that one of her Palm Springs human friends, Trey, is actually a part of a vampire hunter group called “The Warriors of Light.” She also discovers these warriors were originally a part of the Alchemists. With this discovery she also learns of the existence of an ex-Alchemist named Marcus. When she asks the Alchemists about him, they deny knowing him, making her more wary and mistrustful of the Alchemists.
So I put aside my disappointment with Bloodlines to keep from ruining my enjoyment of this book. I found some parts dry in The Golden Lily, but the entire plot was much more interesting than the first book. What I really love about Richelle Mead is her capability of incorporating interesting mythology into her books. She obviously does her research and manages to make her ya vampire series more unique in comparison to others. My biggest complaint for Bloodlines was that it was missing Mead’s originality and creativity. I thought the tattoo business to be extraneous and served little purpose other than to kick Keith out of the storyline. Also Lee’s role was too much of a Natalie parallel from VA. And even though Bloodlines served as a good VA recap and filler, it was too long of one. I think it’d be fine if they had a couple of chapters of VA summary and then jumped right into the plot of this book though. I really liked the idea of the vampire hunters and how that unfolds. Even though, I was already suspicious of Trey since he often skipped school and bore a sun tattoo, I never would have guessed he was in such a group. I also really liked Angeline’s role as well, just because I was curious of how she was doing after VA. And even Dimitri and Sonya make appearances, which was interesting. Another thing I enjoyed about this book was how there was and wasn’t a love triangle. With the absence of Keith, Sydney became the main Alchemist stationed in Palm Springs. And she begins to venture out of her comfort zone by dating, which is pretty comical for readers that know her since she’s dense when it pertains to romance and guys. Ironically she meets a male version of herself that seems just as inexperienced. So this sideline “romance” was hilarious for me. There were also more sweet moments between her and Adrian, and their romance is convincing enough for me to add Sydrian to my list of sailing ships.
So the original plot and Mead’s signature romance elements were achieved in The Golden Lily for me. However, I think the main reason why this doesn’t deserve a solid 4 stars is because I found a lot of parts to be boring, like the Sonya/Dimitri/Adrian spirit studies. The idea was good, but some parts dragged for too long. And a part of me knows that Mead can do even better. But I was really happy with The Indigo Spell, so I can’t wait to review that one soon. So stay tuned for that review!