Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead - Book Review

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?

You know that great television show that keeps you on the edge of your seat every week, with awesome characters, steamy romance, and enough action to increase your heart-rate?  The one that announces its last season, and you’re devastated, until they announce that they’re coming back with more episodes, and an all new storyline?  You’re ecstatic, waiting on the edge of your seat, and when the show finally comes back with this unplanned treat of a season, you find that it…isn’t that good.  In fact, just a few episodes in, you’re ranting and raving and telling everyone how this added season completely ruined the series for you.

Enter Bloodlines, the spin-off to Vampire Academy that should never have been.  It’s not a television series, but exactly the same concept.

A little warning here for the die-hard fans; the rest of this review is not going to make you happy, so stop if you can’t bear the thought of this series being ripped into.

I was disappointed in Bloodlines, but it showed enough promise to keep me excited enough to reach for The Golden Lily.  I love Richelle Mead enough to have given her the benefit of the doubt, to assume the difficulty of shifting gears from one series’ main character to the next was what caused my lackluster feelings for Bloodlines.  Unfortunately, though, things only got worse in The Golden Lily.

Before I get into what I hated about this book, there’s something I want to get off my chest.  I don’t think Bloodlines comes from the heart.  I think it comes from the bank account.  Whether it’s the publisher’s greed or the author’s, or even the fans’, I don’t know.  But I do know that there wasn’t a single page that felt genuine and authentic in The Golden Lily.  There wasn’t a single moment where I envisioned Mead typing frantically, a lopsided, slightly crazed grin on her face as she just got so completely swept up in her world and the characters in it.  If you only know one thing about me as a reader, it should be that I need sincerity.  If I don’t think the books mean as much to the author as it does to the fans, I’m going to be able to tell.  And I’m going to be miffed.

I feel like that is exactly the case with The Golden Lily.  Pure fan-pandering drivel.

Sydney is the most boringly dull character I’ve read in a looong time.  She knows everything about everything, and is pretty anal about it, if you ask me.  She has none of Rose’s fire or ass-kicking-ness (not a word, but deal with it).  She never once becomes more than wasted ink on wasted paper for me in this novel.  Pair her with total plot-device boyfriend Brayden, who is even more dull than Sydney if it’s possible, and you have the recipe for a nap.  Add perfect-princess/useless whiny vampire Jill, tortured (and torturous) Guardian Eddie, MasonMicah (because they might as well just be the same person), shake, and voila!  Instant teeth-grinding mess of worthless characters you want to shoot in the face with a shotgun.  The only characters I could even stomach were Angeline, Trey, Terwilliger, and Adrian (who lost so much awesomeness that he’s only stomach-able by default in Bloodlines).

Aside from the sloppy mess of the characters, the writing isn’t great in this, either.  Too many tangents and rambling musings that only pile on the pages to make a book with about 200 pages of plot over twice that length.  Also, the over-descriptiveness of things that were achingly obvious to begin with felt like a blatant insult to my intelligence.

I can’t get too into the ending because, to be quite honest, by the time it came to the end of this book I was skimming and daydreaming too much to know, or care, what the heck was going on.  All I can say about it is that the last couple of pages contained some of the only readability, with a tiny spark of the Adrian I knew and loved from Vampire Academy showing himself again.

There are so many people who love this spin-off series, and I can only attribute that to such a strong love for Vampire Academy that they’re willing to overlook some major flaws to keep these characters and this world alive.  I’m genuinely glad these fans can find something worth reading in Bloodlines, but quite honestly, I can’t.  I’m going to quit this series and pretend it never happened, so I can continue to love Vampire Academy without the taint Bloodlines would put on it.
The Golden Lily - 1.5 Stars


  1. I loved The Vampire Academy, but I'm not 100% on board with this series either. I still have Golden Lily sitting unread on my Kindle...

    Thanks for the follow! Following back :)

    Christyn @ The Book Cafe

    1. I was pretty much obsessed with Vampire Academy, too. I know a lot of people love this spin-off, but if something about Bloodlines put you off I doubt you'd like The Golden Lily any better.

      No problem, and thanks so much for the follow back!

  2. hahaha I enjoyed this post even though I definitely fall into the group of fans wanting to keep Vampire Academy alive enough to overlook some flaws. But I don't claim any love for this series. Vampire Academy is so much better that it isn't even fair to compare the two. And Rose is one of my favorite female leads, nobody has come close, especially not Sydney. But I have to admit, I did find her a little amusing in The Golden Lily. I am a nerd tho so I find her nerdiness endearing. I hear Indigo Spell is better but I suppose it won't matter much :)

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert


As you may or may not know, life is eating up way too much of my spare time right now, so pretty please don't hate me if it takes me a few days to get back to your wonderful comments. I read each and every one from my phone, and they always make my day. <3