Series: Bloodlines Series
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: YA, paranormal, vampires
Format: Hardcover, 421 pages
Publication Date: August 23, 2011
Published By: Penguin, Razorbill
Synopsis from Goodreads
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.
I am a HUGE fan of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. As such, I assumed, set in the same world, with many of the same characters, that I would LOVE Mead's newest series, Bloodlines. So far I've been proven wrong. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't terrible, it just wasn't as good as Vampire Academy. Of course this is only the first book. Hopefully it will grow and mature in future books. (Let's hope so because according to Goodreads there is to be at least 6 in the series. I can't handle the torture if they are all the same as this one was.)
To begin with, the pacing was much slower than I am used to in Richelle's books. There was all this tension of waiting for something to happen, and really nothing did until the end. I like my action to be strewn about throughout the whole length of the novel. It was more of a social, he said, she said, he's dating, she's dating, who wants to be dating who kind of story. I guess you'll enjoy it if you are into those kind of stories, but I like a little more action with my story line.
I was lucky to have read the Vampire Academy series previously. I have heard others mention that Bloodlines was a standalone novel and reading the Vampire Academy series first was not required, but I have to disagree. As much as you can understand the basis of what is going on without having read VA first, you will truly miss out on the complete depth of the story if you haven't read it. Adrian's true pain might come off as mere whining, the sections regarding mason will completely fly over your head, and the truth and meaning behind what having a spirit bond will be completely lost on you. I highly suggest that if you haven't read the VA series yet that you immediately do so, especially before reading Bloodlines. And if you happened to read Bloodlines already, still go back and read VA and then reread Bloodlines. You'll do yourself a huge injustice if you don't.
One of my main issues with this novel was Sydney. I just don't think she had the personality to be the voice for this story. There was nothing wrong with her per say, but she wasn't vibrant and alive and interesting like Rose was in VA. I read Adrian's Lost Chapter, where Richelle tried switching between characters to tell the story, and I have to say, Adrian's voice was so much more powerful. Was he right to be the voice for the whole story? Maybe not...we might have learned too much too quickly through him...but Sydney just didn't cut it either.
I do appreciate that Richelle created a strongly unique character with Sydney however. I at first expected she would come off sounding like a replication of Rose, with a different name and face, but Sydney was very definitely a character of her own. I find authors often have a hard time making their characters, especially lead characters in multiple series, not be mirror images of each other. For example, I find Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake from the Vampire series and Merry Gentry from the Fairy series so much alike it's really more like reading one really, really long series.
Overall...will I read the next book, of course. I am curious where the story is heading especially now that a few other characters from VA have made an appearance. Would I recommend it? If you are a fan of the series, then yes, if you have't read VA yet...the probably not. I just don't think it's enough to stand on by it's own. But of course that's my opinion.