**spoiler alert** I see that a lot of people didn't like this book. I'll have to politely disagree.
... Because I thought that it was awesome.
I origina...more**spoiler alert** I see that a lot of people didn't like this book. I'll have to politely disagree.
... Because I thought that it was awesome.
I originally picked up this in a Dymocks bookstore, and after seeing the word 'alchemist', my interest perked (mainly because of a heavy 'Fullmetal Alchemist' influence). After reading VA and finishing 'Bloodlines', I'll have to honestly say that I loved and enjoyed it.
So, Sydney. To me, Sydney was a much more relatable character than Rose. Though Rose is fantastic and kick-ass, I found Sydney connectable because she was, well, NOT kick-ass and her strength lay in her brain. Her reactions were so NORMAL, and it was a lot like how I would react in such situations (though I'm not as smart as her). Some people call her a mothering hen. I say, 'Why not?' Someone in the group has to be the boss, and since Eddie is too quiet, Jill too juvenile and Adrian too... well, just too Adrian, the responsibility falls onto Sydney. Plus, I think, with her strict upbringing, it was a little natural.
But the thing that made Sydney HUMAN (I'm not talking about race) in my eyes was her apparent weight problem. Again, people have complained that it's sending the wrong message to girls, but I kinda thought otherwise. That flaw in Sydney's character was just so normal and so teen-like that I felt myself instantly connected to her, because there have been times in my life where I have felt inadequete about my size as well. To me, it felt as if Mead was trying to tell us that Sydney is also just a girl, like the majority of the readers, and that her life isn't perfect either. She has burdens and expectations. It's not all candy and flowers.
Next, Adrian. Who doesn't love Adrian? Okay, he's selfish and silly, and likes to waste people's time, but I was glad to see that he wasn't mopey and angsty and lamenting how depressing his life was 24/7. He DID do all those things, but it wasn't as if he did it every time we saw him. He was a welcome relief in the book, a nice way to lighten up the atmosphere with some nice witty comments or just blatant air-headedness (pine-cleaner...).
As for Jill, I found her annoying at times. She was immature and I don't think she really understood the importance of her position. She was snappish and moody, and at times I just wanted to slap her. But then, she was alright in other parts of the book, so I don't really mind her.
I commend Mead for the plot twist at the end with Lee, and the small subplot with the tattooes. I also congratulate her for making me dislike Keith Darnell to such a degree that I wished him dead every time he appeared.
I'm also eager to see if the mentioned vampire hunters would be expanded. Clarence said that vampire hunters worshiped the sun. Oh, lookie here! Trey happens to have a sun tattoo on his back. Does that mean anything? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps I'm reading too far into it ^^;
I was also fine with this book having no romance. I'm not particuarly a fan of books which jump straight into a love story. I like the pace that Mead has set, and I'm sure, as the next book arrives, we'll be seeing a lot more.
Oh, another thing. People claim that Sydney is racist. I argue against this. She's afraid of creatures who live off other humans. Her whole life she's been taught that these 'creatures' were bad. I've watched the documentary 'A State of Mind', and I'm aware of how easy it is for people's minds to be set on one kind of thing because of repeated messages over and over. "They're dangerous. They're dangerous. Don't go near them. They're dangerous." You may think that it's easy to shake off, but trust me, it's not.
Plus, Jacob Black from 'Twilight' (forgive me for mentioning this horrible series) hates vampires. He calls them bloodsuckers and leeches. I don't see people calling HIM racist (or maybe they do and I haven't seen it), and this is in the same context. Noooo. All I hear is, "Team Jacob! Team Jacob! He's so hawt!!!"
Lucas from the 'Evernight' series (again, another terrible set of books) destests vampires as well. No one calls him racist either. So what makes Sydney different? Why is she 'racist'?
To finish my review, a little nod to the Sydney x Adrian moments that appear, mainly at the end of the book. I was initially against this pairing, but then I thought about for a second, then decided that I would fully support it. My mind jumps around like that.
I wait eagerly for 'The Golden Lily' to hit the bookstores. Less than a month to go!(less)
I would give a nice, long review about how awesome this book was, but there are other much better reviewers out there who can do that for me as well a...moreI would give a nice, long review about how awesome this book was, but there are other much better reviewers out there who can do that for me as well as give a thorough analysis of the story.
I will just say that it was certainly a lot funnier than I imagined. I was laughing out loud throughout. And the romance! (My Sydrian feels...) I'm glad Marcus did not turn out to be another point in the love triangle, I like the Eddie-Jill Angeline-Trey pairing, and yeah... It was all good.
And it looks so beautiful on my bookshelf. Now waiting for THE FIERY HEART!
2013... COME TO MAMA!
-27 June 2012- OMG IT HAS A COVER! But the dude on the far left looks a little... ew. Combined with the colouring, he kind of makes the book look like one of those old romance novels, what with his weird hair and chin. It's okay, though. I can always ignore him; the cover looks amazing anyway. I'm soooo glad they kept the usual Sydney and Adrian models, 'cause I like them. But where's Sydney's Alchemist tattoo? A lot of people are saying Marcus Finch is the guy on the left, but I don't think so. He's supposed to have an indigo tattoo that covers his Alchemist tattoo, which is on the left cheek. Since he's showing us his left cheek here and there's nothing on it, it eliminates Marcus.
-28 June 2012- Okay, so Mead told us that the cover was not final yet and that the tattoo(s?) were still being added. So, I take that back. The dude might be Marcus Finch. Aw, but there were so many theories running around about how Sydney might have left the Alchemists or something, hence why her tattoo is gone (though I don't know how you can actually get rid of a tattoo barring laser treatment). But I really, really want to know who the model for Adrian is! He's actually quite hot... (I know I'm a teenager, but now I sound hormonal as well ==;)
-3 July 2012- I've been staring at the cover for a while (because that's so not creepy) and is it just me or are Adrian's eyes green here? I swear they are. Perhaps they put contacts in or something, because model-Adrian's eyes were blue on the cover of Bloodlines.
-13 July 2012- Ooooh! The finalised cover! I swear they've done something to her eyes, though. They're... lighter? Or something? And I wasn't expecting the indigo tatto to look like that. Well, I wasn't sure what it looked like anyway.
-23 July 2012- THE BLURB! THE BLURB IS OUT! Wait a sec... Excuse me, but did I just read the word 'alluring' in the same sentence as 'Marcus Finch'? *Pauses* No... NO! NO, NO, NO! Meeeeadddd! You can't be serious! Not another love triangle! NOOOOOOOO! Now I'm so excited, but also really worried for what The Indigo Spell will bring for Sydney and Adrian.(less)
**spoiler alert** I think I just died with happiness. Regardless of the fact that I had a Maths exam to be studying for, I sat down and read for five...more**spoiler alert** I think I just died with happiness. Regardless of the fact that I had a Maths exam to be studying for, I sat down and read for five hours straight.
It was beautiful.
I was so excited when I went to Dymocks to get the book that even the counter lady commented on how happy I was. But I really was. I was grinning and bouncing and I started reading on the bus-ride home.
So, now to my actual review.
I was slightly surprised to see that Jill was not featured as prominantly in this book as in Bloodlines. She popped in and out, but I was pleased to see the focus on Sydney and the way her attitude as changed. Sydney was much more relaxed around the crew, and what made that better was the way she kept questioning herself, wondering whether such-and-such was 'business' or 'friendship'. It just made Sydney's position that much more believable. The magic thing sometimes made me think, 'Sydney, just calm down. It's not going to kill you', but I like knowing that she will not be useless in future battles.
Adrian was as per usual ;) He was still witty and sarcastic, but his remarks and behaviour was tinged with gentle love. His attempts at getting closer to Sydney was adorable, and his hesitance in touching her was disappointing, and yet that just made the spark between them more... romance-y? I liked the scene with Adrian and his father; Sydney was excellent as well. It gave her another thing to connect with Adrian, but overall, I just wanted to hit Nathan Ivashkov as hard as I could... Or I'll just let Sydney do it ;D
The self-defence lessons were intriguing and I very much like Wolfe. When he first appeared and Sydney described him with an eyepatch, do you know what I thought of? I thought of pirates, which in turn made me think of this: "Yeah? Can you draw a skeleton riding a motorcycle with flames coming out of it? And I want a pirate hat on the skeleton. And a parrot on his shoulder. A skeleton parrot. Or maybe a ninja skeleton parrot? No, that would be overkill. But it'd be cool if the biker skeleton could be shooting some ninja throwing stars. That are on fire."
I must admit that I was very surprised to see Eddie x Angeline there. People have said that they wanted that couple, but I never thought Mead would actually go for it. I feel sorry for Jill, but at this point in time, I am at a neutral standing at this triangle. I personally don't mind whether Eddie goes with Jill or Angeline.
Angeline made me laugh a few times, but for some reason, I just can't quite picture her. Whenever I do, I always think of Rose, but I'm pretty sure Angeline has blonde hair. Perhaps it's Angeline's personality that just makes me think of Rose every time she appears.
Back to Jill: I liked her a lot more here than in Bloodlines. She was much more mature, especially about her relationship with Micah, and I respected her for it. I was impresed by her growth, and hope to see more.
Dimitri was Dimitri. Though I was glad to see him, I never felt any particular connection to him here, which is a huge difference compared to my love for Sydney, Adrian, Jill, Eddie, Angeline, even freaking Trey and Mrs Terwilliger. Why? Because I'm reading this series for the characters stated above, not for 'Dimka'. As hot as Dimitri is, I'd rather Adrian over him any day. (Why do I feel as if I'm melting due to the furious glares of Dimitri fangirls?) A lot of people have continued reading because of Dimitri. I continued reading because I love the Bloodlines series. Nothing more, nothing less.
As for Brody. Sorry, Bray. No, I think it was Brendan? Wait, I'm pretty sure it was Hayden. Hahaha, my apologies. I just laughed every time someone got his name wrong. Anyway, as for Brayden, I'm reluctant to admit I quite liked him at first. He was nice and really did seem to be the match for Sydney (though I was all for Sydrian throughout). The key words being 'at first'. Brayden's strange personality and his simple skill at making me think 'Oh my God, you DID NOT just say that' resulted in me... not really resent, not really irritate, but just made me want to roll my eyes and wish he would disappear whenever he DID appear. It's not that he was a bad character, I just didn't like him. Sydney's cluelessness is funny. Brayden's cluelessness is not. He insulted Sydney's dress at the Halloween party, and I was secretly hoping that Adrian would put him down then and there at the carpark. I was annoyed that he was Sydney's first kiss (IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ADRIAN!) but I was relieved to find that Sydney did not think it was anything special. Buuuut, I was laughing every time Adrian and Brayden met because their encounters were always hilarious.
Right, now for the reason why I took off one star for this book: The Golden Lily was sadly predictable. When Sydney and Sonya got attacked in that alley, I knew it was the vampire hunters. When Sydney became suspicious of Trey's bruises, I knew that he was a vampire hunter as well (or Warriors, as they're called). I figured out what would happen before Sydney did, so the suspense fell flat.
However, all this 'putting the puzzle pieces together' on my end was partly due to the fact that many people have mentioned that "Trey has a sun tattoo on his back, so he's likely a hunter" and that Mead mentioned that the vampire hunters would probably make an appearance, so you'll understand why the plot was so easy to predict. Trey was already on my radar, and the rest just went on from there. Another thing that I'll praise Mead on is her clear difference between the Warriors (that name sounds so goddamn corny!) and the Alchemists, mainly due to how the Warriors were like gladiators and the Alchemists were very up-to-date, modern, and technological. That line between them was nice and helped me picture everything in context.
What I didn't expect was for the romance between Sydney and Adrian to show itself so soon. When Jill started babbling about Sydney's awesomeness, I knew that Adrian had fallen head-over-heels for her. There were a few times in the book where I couldn't breathe because I was too busy gaping at the book due to some of the cutest moments happening between those two. And when Adrian kissed Sydney, I felt as if my mouth was going to stay in a permanant grin and that I would never stop squealing. And then Sydney pushed Adrian away... but I was expecting that as well. Because it's Sydney, you know? Sydney, the one with the strict upbringing and swaddled in Alchemist rules. And her aversion to a relationship with Adrian will make the story much more interesting than if she had accepted him completely.
I had so many favourite scenes within this book, but the one I keep on remembering is when Adrian 'broke' into a house, and he and Sydney sat together at the pool. What struck me was that he allowed himself to get sunburned (he actually didn't seem to notice) just to see her happy. I thought that was the sweetest thing.
Alright, review done. I look forward to the next book, and when it comes out, I'll be in the bookshop jumping for joy.
"It doesn't matter. Take Eddie's blood. Take Belikov's blood. Take your own for all I care. But if she doesn't want to give hers, then that's all there is to it. She said no. This conversation is done."
I. Was. Freaking. Dying. I loved how Adrian stood up for her. It was so... so... Gah! I don't know! But it was just so (gallant seems too dramatic, but nice seems too weak) awesome of him.
Okay, just one last thing: Captain McTropicalShorts. I laughed so much.(less)
Wowee. This book was pretty amazing. It was filled with really nice writing and lots of things to chew on. I loved the portrayal of dragons here; it w...moreWowee. This book was pretty amazing. It was filled with really nice writing and lots of things to chew on. I loved the portrayal of dragons here; it was intriguing and I've never read them like this before. Seraphina was a wonderful narrator, and I will definitely be looking out for the next book.(less)
I'll admit that for the first third of the book, Yukiko was annoying and irritating and strangle-worthy. However, as needed, Yukiko grew over the cour...moreI'll admit that for the first third of the book, Yukiko was annoying and irritating and strangle-worthy. However, as needed, Yukiko grew over the course of the book. She was a great character, but I think my favourite was Buruu.
Buruu was fucking hilarious. I love him!
Something I had an issue with was the random Japanese words scattered throughout. I understood... most of them. Being a fan of anime and manga and Japanese culture in general, I had a firm understanding beneath my reading, but... well, what if the reader knows nothing about Japan, open this book, and are hit with stuff like 'oni' and 'shogun' and stuff? Also, the incorrect usage of a lot of words. You want to use the language? Then, Kristoff, I suggest you KNOW it first before incorporating it into your story.
Kristoff borrowed A LOT of mythology from traditional Japanese legends. And it got... ugh. I was getting dizzy from all the gods and goddesses and it started becoming really heavy, though I did enjoy certain curses, such as 'Izanagi's balls' and stuff.
There were times when Kristoff's writing become really slodgy and hard to understand. Certain scenes took me a while to get, like when Yukiko freed Buruu from his cage, several paragraphs passed before I figured out that she had gotten onto his back and they were falling to the ground. I also didn't realise that Kin's armour thingy had caught on fire when he fell into that pit, and I was wondering why he was screaming.
'Aiya' is a Cantonese phrase. I use it all the time. And their bows sound like something a kung-fu student would do to his master. O___o Weird. I thought this was Japanese-only, not a mixture of other Asian stuff.
That's all I really wanted to say. I enjoyed the book. I was a little skeptical of it at first; a Japanese-themed book by a western author? Normally they screw it up pretty well. Though there were some issues in here, I managed to ignore them and just... went with the flow. However, Kristoff needs to get his facts on Asian cultures straight. We're not all the same, you know. Don't mash us together.(less)