Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

21 September, 2011 Reviews 3 comments

Review: Bloodlines by Richelle MeadBloodlines by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #1
Published by Razorbill Books on August 23rd 2011
Pages: 421
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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three-stars

Blood doesn't lie...

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still 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 roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning...

Up until around page 320 I was resigned with giving this book 2 stars, but thanks to a well placed plot twist, Bloodlines gets and upgrade to 3 stars.

I think it’s important to point out I am a fan of Richelle Mead’s work. I really enjoyed the Vampire Academy series (even with the second half less than stellar) and equally enjoyed the Succubus series. I enjoy Mead’s witty writing style. It’s both entertaining and down right hilarious at times.

However, with the exception of Last Sacrifice, I usually do not see where the plot is heading until it is revealed. Unfortunately, Bloodlines will sit right up there with Last Sacrifice on my shelf of predictability.

Plot

I won’t retell the book here, but the gist is that Sydney, along with Eddie and Adrian, travel to a prep school in Palm Springs, California to keep Jill safe while she is in hiding. While they are expecting clear skies and smooth sailing, we all knew it wouldn’t be that easy. A new problem arises for our gang which includes a threat no one expects…vampire hunters.

I think one of the biggest problems with this book lies with the fact that most readers have already read the Vampire Academy series. As such, we already understand the world Mead is describing through Sydney’s eyes. This often led to me guessing at the plot’s outcome before Sydney even realized something was off in the beginning. I think this book could have scored more points with me had I never known the back story of Adrian, Rose, Jill, Eddie, and Lissa. As a result, Sydney is left to look incredibly slow on the uptake, which is kind of ironic because she is supposed to be depicted as a very intelligent person.

What saved this book, as I mentioned before, is the plot twist that seems to be setting the tone of the series as a whole. I’m actually looking forward to the next books in the series for this reason. One thing I have noticed from reading Mead’s works is that she does very well plot wise mid-series. I’ll be very interested to see where she goes with this new concept.

Characters

While I was looking forward to read Bloodlines simply due to is being a VA spin-off, I was not looking forward to being in Sydney’s head. When we first met her in Blood Promise she seemed dry, boring, and stuck up. I’m happy to say, I didn’t get any of those vibes while reading this book.  Now, Sydney’s head is not as fun to be in as Rose. Not by a long shot, but it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought it would be. Sydney is analytical in every sense of the word (except when she couldn’t put the pieces to the mystery together, that is. -_-), thus approaching every scenario she encounters with a scientific explanation. It was so bad, she couldn’t tell when a boy was trying to ask her out. Basic human, social interactions went right over her little blond head. Hey, there’s another piece of irony for you…While Sydney was busy thinking of the vamps as unnatural sins against nature, they seemed to have a better understanding social norms and she remained in the dark.
Now, I know other reviewers regarded Sydney as discriminatory and racist against the vamps, but I’m going to slightly disagree with that. This is not another ethnicity or race Sydney was dealing with. It’s another species that feeds off of humans.

Let’s say you are a human and you meet a vampire. Would you:

Bring him back to your place of dwelling and cuddle him, swapping secrets?
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Frolic around in the forest on his back while he adoringly refers to you as “Spider Monkey?”
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Daydream of him biting you, turning you into his undead lover?
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Oh you would, huh? Well, perhaps the Alchemists need to send your crazy self to a re-education center.

If you are sane, then perhaps your reaction would be similar to mine:

I’d spare no haste in hightailing my butt right outta there.
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But, the one thing I will say about Sydney is that her reaction to Vampire magic makes no sense when she has their blood tattooed on her skin. Call it a necessary evil all you want Sydney, but I’ll call it BS.

Lissa—–wait, scratch that—-Jill seemed to almost be a carbon copy of a previous character. I just can’t seem to put my finger on it. Oh, that’s right! Lissa.
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I’m really hoping that this is just my first impression of Jill on our first date. Maybe when we get to know each other better, I’ll feel differently.  I also found her to be a bit whiny and many times her and Sydney’s relationship resembled a mother daughter relationship.

I was really happy to see Eddie again. It’s weird, even though he was there, I don’t feel his character was remotely explored enough. I’m hoping this will change too.

Adrian, Adrian, Adrian. He still remains my favorite character. Damn you Rose for breaking him!! He is rather depressed in Bloodlines, but he still maintains that cocky little grin we have all come to know and love.

The Writing

As usual, Mead’s dialog never disappoints me. There were plenty of times I chuckled at the banter between Adrian and Sydney.

——–
Now, let’s talk about some things I didn’t really like. First and foremost is Sydney and her OCD tendencies about her weight. I didn’t like how she constantly strived to be paper thin like Jill. There is a part in the book where she is upset that her uniform is a size 4 instead of size 2 (which is Jill’s size, thus further infuriating her). Add this to the fact that she is described as just moving her food around on her plate or not eating much at all and it becomes quite disturbing.  It’s just not healthy. I just feel it’s going to send the wrong message to young girls.

Second, it seems we are going to dive further into the machinations of Spirit users and what they can do. That’s great and all, but I noticed a little hole in that I can’t tell you without giving away major spoilers!  But if you really want to know, click the spoiler in my Goodreads review here.

And lastly, some parts of the book were a little dry. It wasn’t to the point that I would stop reading, but it was there nonetheless.

Overall, it was an “ok” read, which will probably be a hit or miss for fans of the original series.

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker and fangirl, YA Books Central editor and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.
Steph Sinclair
Alonso the Drunken Unicorn: Rebound Books https://t.co/izYIwrf4lP #CuddlebuggeryArchive - 12 hours ago

3 Responses to “Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead”

  1. Veronica

    I like your review. i didn't realise that Jill was a carbon copy of Lissa, which I absolutely agree with.
    An enlightening read. 🙂

    • cuddlebuggery

      Thank you, Veronica. I hope that as the series goes on she'll feel like her own character, but that's the first impression I received.

  2. Brigid

    Yes. I agree Steph, when I read this book I could definitely tell that Jill was just another parallel to Lissa. I actually like Sydney. She thinks a lot more about her actions than Rose did. I like heroines are a little geeky.
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