Summary: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. Alchemists protect vampire secrets - and human lives.
When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she is being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roomate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.
The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside - and within - the school grounds. Now that they're in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.
Date Published: August 23, 2011
Published By: Razorbill
Number of Pages: 421
I wasn't sure what to expect with this spin-off series. I always did like Sydney as a character in the Vampire Academy series. She's the complete opposite of Rose Hathaway. Where Rose is impulsive and headstrong, Sydney is reserved and deferential. But that doesn't mean she's boring. I love how she relies on her intellect and logic to solve problems. She doesn't need to kick butt to be badass.
I loved seeing the expanded world of the Alchemists. Mead once again created a fascinating belief system and social structure, just like she did for the vampire world of Moroi, Strigoi, and dhampirs. It's compelling to see how Sydney's rigid worldview clashes with her compassion and empathy for her vampire friends.
Adrian Ivashkov is a great character and I'm glad to see he's the main love interest for Sydney in this series. It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops over time. Towards the end of the book, Adrian just started to see Sydney in a new light. Sydney definitely feels something too even if she doesn't know what it is yet. I don't really sense of a lot of chemistry between them but I think Mead is purposefully making their relationship a slow-burning one for a couple of reasons: one, to contrast their relationship with Rose and Dimitri's hot-and-heavy one and two, because it just makes sense for the story. It would be completely out of character for Sydney to go crazy with lust for Adrian and throw away her Alchemist beliefs in the very first book.
It was great to see so many familiar characters from Vampire Academy, as well as be introduced to some new ones. I highly recommend Bloodlines to paranormal fans, particularly if they enjoyed Vampire Academy.