Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: Bloodlines

Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: August 23rd 2011
Publisher: Penguin
Add it: Goodreads

The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy.

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.

WARNING: This does include a few vague spoilers including who the leading characters are.

I did try making my rambling shorter, but I soon gave up, as you can tell.

Bloodlines picks up one month after Last Sacrifice's ending (although for those who haven't read the VA series, you can still easily understand what's going on). Sydney is facing the repercussions of helping Rose, Adrian is carrying a broken heart and Jill's life is in grave danger. With Lissa now Queen, those within the Moroi who oppose the new direction she plans to take them in are not laying down quietly. Rather than attack the Queen herself, they're attempting to kill her last remaining member of the Dragomir bloodline, thus dethroning Lissa. After a severe attack on Jill's life, Sydney is recruited by the alchemists to help her go into hiding in the last place one would think to look for a vampire with an irritation to sunlight: Palm Springs, California.

Sydney, Adrian, Jill and Eddie are our leading characters this time around, but we're treated to a number of cameo appearances from our favourite Vampire Academy personalities. On top of that, Richelle introduces an awesome cast of new characters (not including Keith, another alchemist. Because he's an asshat) that help to weave the deliciously juicy drama that Richelle excels at. With Adrian rooming at a local Moroi's house and Sydney, Jill and Eddie enrolling at Amberwood Prep posing as siblings, Palm Springs allows us a dash of high school drama, underground shady tattoo businesses and a look into how our otherworldly fit into the mundane world, which wouldn't be complete without a few secrets and danger that help to craft yet another standout start to what is going to be an amazing series.

While I did guess a few of the mysteries early on, in no way did that detract me from the sheer enjoyment of this novel. And Richelle did have a few surprises up her sleeve for me in the end! Bloodlines is full of mysteries, secrets, betrayals and revelations. Twists, intensity and humour with brilliant plotlines set up that will carry on in the following books. There are a threads linking different characters together that give potential for the emotional drama that Richelle consistently nails. I am so excited to see these relationships expanded upon! Romance, friendships and a promise of a whole lot of angst. Can I just slip in here that Richelle never fails to deliver that last-line-AHHH-reaction. I'm biting my nails in nervousness at the angst it offers to one character, but fist-pumping for what it entails for us readers! Also, I have to say how excited I am for someone who I know is going to have a bigger role in the sequel - as soon as the arrived on the scene toward the end, I was all "YES!!". I am SO happy, because this is a character I cannot wait to see developed more.

As much as I love Rose, I felt no disappointment making the switch to Sydney's POV. Our little alchemist rocks. I love all her little quirks and while she has crazy smart knowledge on practically every other subject, she is adorably clueless when it comes to social interactions. There's a scene that totally made me laugh which really highlighted how naive she is when it comes to attention from the opposite sex. She analyses, rationalises and over thinks everything and due to her upbringing, has strict black and white views on the vamperic world. But when placed in the heart of a situation where she's surrounded by a group of both Moroi and Dhampir, it begins to chip away a little at the edges and those views blur a little. She still has a lot of growth to come, which I am so looking forward to seeing unfold. I've no doubt in my mind Richelle has awesome things planned for our lead heroine.

I have to devote some time to one of my all-time favourite characters - Adrian Ivashkov. I freaking love this guy. I absolutely adored him in VA, but he's wooed me over a hundred times more in Bloodlines! He's insanely charming, witty, funny and behind that slacker, party boy image there is a broken soul that you're just yearning to help fix. He is so real and flawed and messed up and makes stupid mistakes, all of which add to that incredibly well rounded depth Richelle has given him and help to balance out his sheer awesomeness. Every single scene he had in this book was made of WIN. Every line he speaks is genius. And the interactions between him and Sydney were brilliant. I loved their banter and I LOVED the friendship and alliance that slowly formed. Good grief, SOMEBODY GET ME BOOK TWO NOW PLEASE!

There weren't any hot and steamy romantic scenes in Bloodlines. Did I feel they were lacking? Not in the slightest. What I love so much about her stories is that she takes the time to realistically forge the bonds and attraction between characters and allows them to grow at a healthy pace. There's no insta-love and it is so, so much more enjoyable to watch as the seeds are planted and the characters grow closer.

I hate reading new books after finishing one of Richelle's, because... they're not Richelle Freaking Mead's. How does she do it? Her stories are so completely absorbing. I am always so consistently immersed in the world she has crafted, everything about it is addictive. Bloodlines is a fantastic start in what has already grounded itself as yet another of my all time favourite series. This did not feel like 'worldbuilding' book where we have to wait for the good stuff to come in the sequel. It stands on it's own as a captivating tale and yet leaves us yearning for what's to come. I think I would have rated this 5 stars on principle of being a loyal Vampire Academy fan, but Bloodlines EARNS every amount of praise I give it. VA fans will eat this book up and then buy another copy to snack on.

Rating: 5/5

20 comments:

  1. My jealousy right now knows no bounds. I want this book so much.

    Amy@adumbrations

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  2. I KNEW YOU'D DEVOUR THIS BOOK!! I wanna say I read your entire review but I'd be lying. But I don't wanna read anything that would spoil any part of VA for me!

    I read the last paragraph and gosh, I WANT TO START VA RIGHT NOW. I swear I'm going to order them and start them right after exams are done! The anxiety is unbearable :(

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  3. CANNOT FREAKING WAIT!!!

    I need to go into hibernation and only wake up once this (and LOLA) have been released. This sounds so, so good and I cannot wait to have more of Adrian. My love for him knows no bounds.

    Excellent review, Brodie!

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  4. Lol... Well Richelle isn't the only one who builds the intrigue up - SO DO YOU lol... Woman i've being on a countdown since i first pre-ordered it and your review isn't the first one i read... But heck the small spoilers you have given have got my brain working... But i have a few figured out and the cameo appearences are going to be needed, before i break my VA collection to the bindings and have to replace them all lol...
    Thanks for posting your review... =)

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  5. Awesome review! I can't wait to read it!!!

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  6. omg, i am secretly hating! cannot believe you got your hands on this book! you're soooo lucky! awesome review! love reading fan girl thoughts :)))

    Diana

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  7. UGH I AM SO JEALOUS!!! I WANT THAT BOOK SO BAD!!!

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  8. are we going to be able to buy this book in europe as well?

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  9. Such a wonderful review. I can't wait to get my copy! :)

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  10. OH MY GOD! I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS TAKES PLACE IN PALM SPRINGS! I LIVE LIKE 20 MINUTES AWAY FROM PALM SPRINGS AND HAVE BEEN THERE MANY TIMES! Haha! This is exciting! xD

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  11. You're killing me, Brodie! I WANT THIS THING NOW! *stomps foot* Would you oppose to me flying over and taking a little peek? :)

    Thanks for the review! Sounds fantastic.

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  12. could u tall em more about eddie in the bloodllines for onr does he get a love intrest and how does he get out of trouble back at court also is zoe sydneys sister in this book much

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  13. I need this book. Your review is such a tease! I want to know what happens so badly, aahhh so jealous. Why does August still seem so far away? Anyway, glad you liked it! :P.

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  14. (Steven's wife)You lucky!!! I cannot wait to read this book.I miss my Adrian. ugh August come here already!

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  15. Yay! I love the gushing review! ADRIAN-I freaking LOVE that guy. He was my favorite character in the last series, and I'm sure he'll be my favorite this time around too! I have Bloodlines and I CANNOT wait to start it!

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  16. I already commented on Goodreads... haha. But I needed to express HOW EXCITED I am for Adrian!!! I never realized just how many fangirls he had under his influence! I can't wait!!!

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  17. I loved reading your glowing thoughts on Bloodlines! I'm so excited for its release and I'm a total Team Adrian fan too!! :)

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  18. Oh my god, I'm so excited right now! Please let my dreams of an Adrian/Sydney pairing please come true! <3

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  19. I'm so happy you finally got to read this! You've been dying to for such a long time now! Unfortunately...I haven't finished the first series. But. Like I said, I'll try! :) But I have to admit - this really sounds good! Alchemist? Did not expect that!

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  20. Awesome review! I so can't wait to read this one! You're such a lucky girl! ;)

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