Fangs for the Fantasy's Reviews > The Golden Lily

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
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Jul 29, 12

Read in June, 2012

Sydney has been commended by the Alchemists for being so very loyal to their cause, exposing the wrong-doers and dedicating herself to keeping the threat of Moroi and Dhampires from the poor humans. The problem is, while she follows her duties to the letter, she has made very strong friendships with several Moroi and Dhampires – she is uncomfortably aware that, from the Alchemist standpoint, she is a traitor.

And it’s something that becomes ever more complex as her friendships grow and deepen and she becomes involved in the Moroi experiments to permanently immunise people against becoming Strigoi. While the Alchemists approve of them, the idea that they may involve her goes against her own beliefs and everything the Alchemists have taught

Things are not simplified by the appearance of the Vampire Hunters – humans who hunt and kill Strigoi but have nothing but contempt for the Moroi. While their methods are extreme, their philosophy is not that far from that espoused by her own Alchemists

And then she has a teacher who is pushing her to learn magic, against all of her beliefs – and against the principles of the Alchemists – though she can’t deny the utility of it. Then there’s the complications of her love life as well.

The story is much better paced than the previous book. With that as an introduction we’re thrown into the major conflicts from the first page. The actual major part of the plot picks up around 40% with considerable groundwork being laid beforehand. 40% is a little late still, but this is in part because the daily school life and foundation for the characters that was laid in the first half wasn’t overly interesting to me. The relationship dramas of Jil, Eddie, and even Sydney didn’t fascinate me, nor did the problems Angeline had with the school authorities. This did make the first 40% somewhat slow for me – but not nearly so much as the first book and I recognise this is as much an issue of taste as anything else.

Once we do hit the 40% mark it really does pick up, we have action and intrigue and mystery – we have some twists, we have real development and we have some well laid seeds of meta-plot as well. It’s an interesting read with some very well done actions scenes and some excellently written conflict

There are some great conflicts in this book. Sydney is confronted with her deep held Alchemist beliefs against her friendships with the Moroi and the Dhampires. And it’s not just that the Alchemists reserve severe and terrifying penalties for those who dare to break their rules and fraternise with the Moroi – she has her own actual terror of them. She is unnerved getting too close or touching them and utterly afraid of expressions of their magic or actual blood drinking. Even giving a blood sample for medical purposes to them frightens her. Yet at the same time she has built bonds of affection and trust with them – they are her friends and she can’t imagine being without them even as her superiors seek to reward her by moving her away from them. This conflict is thrown into even harsher relief when we compare with the Vampire Hunters – their beliefs are not alien, they are just Alchemist beliefs taken to a more extreme (or not even that extreme) level. Her vehement rejection of their brutality is not just showing her humanity but also shows just how far she has deviated from the Alchemists own morals – and leads to uncomfortable questions about blinkered loyalty and who the monsters actually are.

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