Monday, June 6, 2011
Bloodlines - Richelle Mead
I never finished the Vampire Academy books. Hell, I'm not even sure if I finished the first one, to be perfectly honest. I picked it up during the beginning of the vampire craze, and got so bored with vampires so fast I don't think I ever picked it back up. That being said, there is a big chance that I've both missed a lot of the nuances in this book that referenced the other series and spoiled the VA series for myself entirely. But after finishing Bloodlines, I can honestly say I'm okay with that.
Bloodlines is about Sydney, a girl who is part of the organization, alchemists, that is dedicated to protecting humans from vampires. Or at least keeping the peace between the two races, anyway. She was trained for her job in the organization since she was young, being the only alchemist picked out of her three sisters for the job. However, after helping Rose she was shamed and a new mission is the only way she can redeem herself and keep her little sister from having to take up the mantle of alchemist instead. She'll have to live with Jill, a living vampire, and her halfvampire guard in order to keep Jill safe and the current queen of the vampires on her throne. The only problem? In order to keep Jill safe, Sydney needs to go undercover at a high school boarding school in Palm Springs, a situation that suits neither of the two girls involved.
Before I started Bloodlines, my ideas on what to expect were mixed. On one hand, I vaguely remember trying to read VA and not finishing it. On the other, the line for this book was HUGE and ZenitaDee, a fellow blogger and friend of Lost Train of Thoughts, has been gushing over Richelle Mead for years. Plus, you know, I'm a sucker for some gorgeous cover art.
Having now finished Bloodlines, though, I'm really happy I gave it a chance! Despite not reading Vampire Academy, I didn't feel as though I was missing any important details, although ZenitaDee has informed me that I've probably got a tainted view of Rose, since Adrian is your main source of information about her in this particular book. I loved Sydney's character, loved how she struggled to fight against everything when it seemed like everyone and everything in her life was against her. I'm particularly fond of her ideology, although I'd sad to say I was reading this during a slow shift at work, and I don't have the exact quote. If I recall right, it was to the effect of "everyone has a choice. there are no victims here." I love how much of a hardass she comes off as.
One of the random aspects about the book that I particularly enjoyed was the idea of metal bound tattoos. Alchemists are given the same golden tattoo on their faces that gives them slight immunities and strengths while insuring they can't talk about alchemist matters to anybody outside of their circle of knowledge. There are several other tattoos that show up in the book as Sydney finds out about a special tattoo parlor that gives silver and copper tattoos that act as drugs or strength enhancers for a temporary amount of time. The whole system just sounds kind of awesome to me.
I liked Bloodlines a lot, and now that I've finished one of Mead's books and found out how good of a writer she is, I'll definitely see about picking up Vampire Academy and the following books in the series and trying to read it again. As far as Bloodlines goes, though, let's just say I've found out the biggest flaw in reading and reviewing ARCs: there's a much longer wait time until the next book in the series comes out. That being said, I'd recommend Bloodlines to anyone in the supernatural YA fansection, including those who haven't read Vampire Academy. Despite being in the same world, Bloodlines is the start of a spin-off series, and from what I've seen, VA isn't a requirement for enjoyment. If you like vampires, hardass female leads, or plotlines with twists to keep you on your game, pick up Bloodlines in your local bookstore when it comes out August 2011.