Friday, March 1, 2013

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - Book Review

Blood doesn't lie...

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning...

When I read this for the first time a little after its release, I was still riding my VA high so the return to that world, to my favorite snarky, spoiled Moroi, seemed like a wonderful treat. I loved Bloodlines then, but with this reread, I don’t know, it’s just lost most of its magic. Sydney is, dare I say it, a boring character and a lot of Bloodlines – especially stereotypical high school bitch, Laurel – just seem like reused plotlines from Vampire Academy. (Redheaded, human version of Mia, anyone?) The ego-driven Keith Darnell seemed like too cliché of an asshole, and certain aspects of him and his past transgressions just cheapened the story, in my opinion. Jill, while I usually adore her sweet innocence and fiery determination to be strong enough to help her friends, just seemed a bit too perfect here. She had boys drooling over her, which honestly gets on my nerves in most stories, especially when the character is supposed to be shy and on the fringes of outcast society. Even my favorite character, Adrian Ivashkov, seemed to lose something in the transfer from Vampire Academy to Bloodlines; he’s become a watered-down version of the sarcastic, witty, misunderstood party boy I fell in love with in the mother series.

I love Richelle Mead, so what I’m about to say seems a bit blasphemous even to me, but honestly I’m getting the feeling that Bloodlines (and maybe even the last couple of VA installments) is a series born more out of publishers’ greed to cash in on a popular YA franchise than something the author holds near and dear to her heart still, and that really shows in the quality. I know most people adored this book, including two of my most cherished friends who were right there with me in the thick of my Vampire Academy obsession, so this may seem a bit harsh. But I honestly feel that Bloodlines is almost completely devoid of what made Vampire Academy so special; it’s a good plotline without heart, delivered in a flat, boring voice, with only a few highs amid the almost solid averageness of the book.

I did like Bloodlines, or I wouldn’t have given it 3 stars, but overall, I was pretty disappointed in my reread of it. Looking back, what I loved most about it the first time were things left over from Vampire Academy, and not things Bloodlines actually brought to the table.

Bloodlines - 3 out of 5 stars

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