Review: Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead

Collage by the fabulous Olga Daniels
As I told you recently, I broke my Young Adult boycott by reading the entire Vampire Academy series in just a few weeks. There was enough left up in the air, and I enjoyed the world so much that I moved right on to the Bloodlines series, a spin-off of VA featuring characters that we had already met.

Having been spoiled, badly, for major VA plot points I was diligent about avoiding anything that might give me clues about the Bloodlines events. I knew which characters were moving into the next series, but that was about it--I didn't even know who the main pairing was going to be--and I was happy to be clueless. Richelle Mead did such a good job with VA, crafting a well fleshed-out world with interesting stories and wonderful touches, like a unique take on a typical UF plot line, that I was confident enough to go into Bloodlines blindly.

So after devouring all four available books, I absolutely loved this series, and I'm going to try and keep spoilery information to a minimum as I tell you exactly why I loved it. This is one of those series that I am going to encourage everyone to read, that I'm going to be talking about for a long time to come, that I'm going to download the next installment at midnight on release day and devour as fast as I can.

Click through and I'll tell you exactly why this amazing series is a must read for Saucy Wenches and our followers!




Bloodlines

A solid first-in-a-series book. At this point I didn't love Sydney as much as I did Rose, but I could certainly see her potential. I enjoyed seeing this world from a fresh perspective. There was something slightly unsatisfying about this book, but I couldn't put my finger on it exactly. Probably just that everyone seemed SO YOUNG, and the Sydney of this book was rather cold and standoffish. Plus I missed Rose's snarkiness in Sydney's narration. I love my heroines to be as sarcastic as I am, and Sydney doesn't have the luxury of sarcasm. I could totally see her potential to be fierce and independent, but mostly I just felt badly for her, her awkward position between the world in which she was raised and realizing that not all vampires and dhampirs are evil creatures of the night. I could see her rebellion brewing as unanswered questions kept popping up, and I was excited to follow her journey. She still held herself apart from her charges as much as possible, but  living and working with them day after day showed her that they weren't so different from humans after all.

The Golden Lily

The second installment in the series is where I started falling for Sydney. I could see her control cracking as she realized that her carefully constructed world wasn't all she had been told her entire life. As the questions started piling up, with difficult answers causing her to question her entire world, I watched Sydney struggle to maintain the professional distance that was required of her, but her charges became her friends and her friends became family. And it's damned near impossible to believe that one's family are evil creatures of the night. But toward the end of this book I fell head-over-heels in love with Adrian. One speech was all it took. Okay, that's not entirely true. I glimpsed what a special character Adrian was way back in the early middle of the VA series, and he just kept getting dreamier and dreamier. But one speech catapulted me from really liking Adrian to absolutely loving him. I would follow this series just about anywhere to see where Adrian's heart takes us.

The Indigo Spell

Loved it! Absolutely, over-the-moon loved it. Adrian has become one of my favorite heroes ever, throwing out the smooth, swoon-worthy, and arrogant lines with the best of them. And Sydney has become the heroine I hoped she was capable of being. I can't even express how much I love her growth, her ability to open her eyes and think beyond what she was indoctrinated with her entire life. It's hard to believe she is the same person we met through Rose's eyes in Russia! Simply a wonderful installment.

The Fiery Heart

This is where Bloodlines went from, "what a great series" to "holy shit this series is amazing everyone I know has GOT to read these"! There is so much awesome in this book, it's hard to organize it all without devolving into shrill fangirl babbling. But we shall try.

First of all, the book opens with a chapter from Adrian's point-of-view. And we get Adrian's POV every other chapter throughout the book. And we've been assured that the remaining books will be from both Adrian's and Sydney's POVs! I love this because we don't get the hero's perspective very often and I really enjoy seeing the heroine through her partner's eyes, something that is so beautiful in this case. I also love this because we see Adrian's struggle with the ups and downs of Spirit first-hand, leaving me continually amazed by Richelle Mead's talent in illustrating a character's struggle with mental illness. That is something that sets Richelle Mead apart from most other UF/PNR authors for me, which I loved in VA, but seeing the effects of Spirit through Adrian's own eyes just takes it to a whole other level of awesomeness. Literally. I am still awed.

Next, Sydney's character growth is absolutely staggering. It is so hard to believe that the girl we met through Rose's eyes in Russia is the same girl in this book. Not only has she fought to overcome deeply ingrained prejudice, she's also fought her greatest fear to seek answers and make choices that are truly the right thing to do. After a lifetime of indoctrination it's incredibly difficult to begin thinking for oneself, and watching Sydney do that is incredible. It's also wonderful to see Sydney's relationships evolve from professional distance to truly, deeply caring about the people in her everyday life. I am certain that the people who have become her family over the course of this series will fight for her as she continues her struggles, and I can't wait to see that!

I've told you before that I love love. Give me a story with great love and I'll follow you just about anywhere. And this series has epic love. The kind of love that one partner embraces while the other denies, until they can deny no more. The kind of love where they make each other better, stronger, whole. The kind of love where you can't wait for them to be on page together because it will be beautiful or sexy or silly but whatever it will be their love will shine. The kind of love that makes you cry tears of joy for their happiness and tears of sadness when the bumps in their path come along. But you know in the end it will be okay, because their love is, indeed, epic. The Fiery Heart ended with a rather huge bump in the road, but I'm certain I'll be crying tears of joy for our couple before it's all said and done.

Available July 29, 2014

Bottom Line

This review barely scratches the surface of why this series is spectacular. It has every single thing I want in books that I love, from character growth to love to hilarity to suspense to unexpected twists to an unknowable something that touches you on a soul-deep level. It's been days since I finished the latest book in this series, and I can't stop thinking about it, can't move on. I'm starting it over so that I can savor every step of Sydney's journey, every moment of her growth, all over again. And I'll be waiting impatiently until the next one shows up on my e-reader at midnight on release day.


Wench Rating:
Seriously. Read it ASAP. You'll thank me.

 

Have you read Bloodlines, Saucy Reader? Do you love it as much as I do? Have I convinced you to give it a try? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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