Kathy Davie's Reviews > The Golden Lily

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
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's review
Jan 15, 2012

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Read in September, 2012

Second in the Bloodlines urban fantasy series for young adults and revolving around Sydney Sage, a young Alchemist we first met in the Vampire Academy series. Based in Palm Springs, California.

My Take
There are aspects of the storyline that I enjoy. Particularly Adrian and Dimitri Belikov and I'm always hoping to hear more about the gang from the Vampire Academy. The problem is that I have to suffer through Sydney Sage. Incredibly book smart and incredibly inept socially. She's swallowed the party line from the Alchemists hook, line, and sinker, which makes her a drone. A whiny one.

This particular story takes a stab at drama---the kidnapping was the highest(?) point for this. For the most part, it wanders along as a-day-in-the-life. I can't decide if this was a bridge novel working the threads created in Bloodlines and loosening Sydney up or if it's a bridge that also establishes new ground with the magic and Adrian.

Let me put it this way. I'm pretty clueless a lot of the time and nothing was a surprise in this story.

Sydney does take her assignment seriously: chauffeuring, protecting, guiding, and guarding Jill along with Eddie and Angeline. It's difficult for her to maintain a wall between herself and these vampires and dhampirs. They're all evil. And they use magic! Gasp. Oh, brother… What can I say, she's young, she's been sheltered, and she's been fed the party line.

Sydney has never learned how to socialize and that's the main theme of this installment. She's becoming comfortable, more comfortable with the enemy than with her own. They are a friendly, supportive group who like to have fun and Sydney has never experienced anything like this. It's not surprising that she's melting! She dates!! And listening to her worries and angst---and her plans to find books about how to date, how to kiss, and what to do with her hands is just too funny. All the kids in this are anxious about relationships to some extent or another. Some with the opposite sex and others with parents.

No, Angeline's turnaround is too easy. As for Sydney's qualms, I say again, oh brother. Her concerns are reasonable and she is very strong in holding to them; it just feels so contrived. Some sections feel like they're there simply to pad the story out. I do like that she is intelligent and speaks her mind. Especially after the windmill tour! I did like how Mead handled Sydney and Brayden's relationship at the end. Very sweet.

That's certainly a different way of looking at dancing, turning it into math.

Obvious, it was so obvious what Mead was setting us up for with Sydney's concerns about being a cold fish. Puh-lease, I should think Mead would have more respect for the intelligence of teens than she's exhibiting.

The Story
Oooh, ick, Sydney flies back to Virginia to report, but it's really to give her recommendations about Keith, the vampire sympathizer, rapist, and drug dealer.

It's mostly business as usual for the cohort: school, classes, the Halloween dance. Sydney dating!?! Forced to learn about magic. Naturally, it can't last, for Sonya and Sydney are almost killed in an alley. And their attackers know about Moroi and Strigoi!

A secret organization that the Alchemists refuse to acknowledge is threatening Sonya although the Warriors do desire a rapprochement with the Alchemists. It's when Sonya is taken that Sydney decides to bite the bullet.

What she learns is horrifying and will be very deadly.

The Characters
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, a member of an organization that is dedicated to keeping mankind from learning about the Moroi or the Strigoi. Her current assignment is to keep Jill from being assassinated which would result in her sister Vasilisa Dragomir being dethroned.

Jill Mastrano is hiding out at Amberwood Prep, a private boarding school, with the help of the Alchemists and the Queen.

Adrian Ivashkov, a spirit user, is enrolled in art courses at the local college; his presence is necessary since he has formed a bond with Jill when he brought her back. His mother is imprisoned for criminal acts and his father, Nathan Ivashkov, is a first-class jerk.

Eddie Castile is a dhampir attending classes undercover while protecting Jill. He's also in love with her but feels unworthy. Angeline Dawes is a Keeper recently recruited to be Jill's roommate and additional security. She's also attracted to Eddie and hasn't a clue about proper behavior.

Sonya Karp, alias Agent Scarlet, and Dimitri Belikov, alias Agent Boring Borscht, are former Strigoi saved by spirit magic. They're in Palm Springs to work with Adrian in finding a cure, a vaccination against becoming Strigoi. Okay, okay, Sonya and Dimitri are there to work. Sonya, a Moroi, is engaged to Mikhail Tanner, a dhampir while Dimitri is still involved with Rose. Clarence Donahue is an old Moroi who lives in Palm Springs; he has offered up his housekeeper to feed the Moroi.

Trey Juarez is a fellow senior, a football star, brainy, and friends with Sydney. He's also got one big secret he's hiding. Chris Juarez is his jerk of a cousin. Micah is a human classmate and is dating Jill which creates all sorts of problems. Kristin Sawyer and Julia Cavendish are also fellow students and friends with Sydney. Brayden is an extremely intelligent student (not at Amberwood) who asks Sydney out! They're perfect for each other...except that one little thing.

Ms. Terwilliger is Sydney's history teacher and she snookered Sydney into taking an independent studies class from her. Turns out to be a magic class and Sydney is furious! Because, oooooh, magic is so evil! Mrs. Desiree Weathers is the dorm matron for the girls. Lia DiStefano is a fashion designer who is harassing Jill to come model for her. Not the best idea for a teen in hiding from assassins. Wolfe is the self-defense instructor Sydney and Adrian visit.

Tom Darnell is Keith's father and he's begging Sydney's help. It's the first speed bump Sydney hits in this story that makes her begin to question the Alchemists as Darnell's responses are just not father-like nor are the examiners humane. Liam is the second bump. Marcus Finch becomes another. Donna Stanton is Sydney's immediate supervisor and extremely close-mouthed.

The Warriors of Light are a group that split from the Alchemists back in the Renaissance and their agenda is destruction. They include Jeff Eubanks, Master Jameson, Master Angeletti, Master Ortega, and Chris.

The Moroi are the good vampires, living their lives and working hard to avoid the Strigoi, the bad vampires. The Keepers are a secret group of Moroi and dhampirs who live in hiding in the backwoods---with all the stereotypes that entails! They do not adhere to the regular Moroi strictures about no fraternization.

The Cover
The cover reflects the title---it's golden with a pair of golden-haired Sydneys hiding their lily tattoos. Hmmm, is this meant to reflect the trend of her thoughts by the end of the story??

The title is the tattoo, the emblem of the Alchemists, The Golden Lily.
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