The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead is the second novel in the Bloodlines series. The Bloodlines series is the side series to the Vampire Academy series. This is the synopsis on the inside cover:
Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California – tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.
But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age-old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi – the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that – special, magical, powerful – that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney find herself being drawn to someone else – someone forbidden to her.
When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she’s supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she’s been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.
Should she trust the Alchemists – or her heart?
The book starts with Sydney being taken into the underground of the Alchemist headquarters. It’s not because she’s in trouble. She just needs to give her report about Palm Springs and to give her opinion about the jerk-wad, Keith. She says that he doesn’t really need any more re-education, but he’s a bad person and shouldn’t be trusted with any more Alchemist information. The Alchemists decide to send him back to the infamous re-education centers.
She goes back to Palm Springs to continue going to school. Trey is starting to act funny, but he introduces her to Brayden. Brayden seems to be her perfect match. He’s very intelligent and she hold a deep conversation with him, especially about things in ancient history. She goes on a date with him to a windmill farm. During and after the date, he is ranting about how much he dislikes wind energy and how inefficient (to him) it is. Sydney tells him he’s wrong. It’s pretty clear he’s never told that he’s wrong. She gives an intelligent and well-thought out speech about how he is wrong about wind energy. After she’s done talking, she’s sure that she’s going to need a ride back to school. Instead, he surprises her by kissing her and asking her out on another date.
Adrian is having some father trouble. He goes to see his father about getting a raise in his allowance. Sydney takes him to see his father. Lord Ivashkov, as it turns out, is an ass. He yells at Adrian and embarrasses him in front of Sydney. After Adrian takes off, Sydney tells his father off and goes to comfort Adrian. On the drive home, Adrian is in a funk. Sydney breaks her diet to get an extra sugary drink for herself and Adrian. Adrian takes it, his mood lifting. He asks her about the drink; she lies and says that it’s sugar free (they don’t come sugar free). He let the lie slide. They even have a romance blossoming. You can tell that Adrian wants to spend time with Sydney and that Sydney has some feelings for him (even though she won’t admit it).
Adrian messes up some of her dates with Brayden. One of them is the date to the school Halloween dance. They decide to go as authentic Greek citizens. Brayden goes as authentic as possible. Sydney’s dress was made by Lia, the fashion designer from the previous book. Adrian plays some mind games on Brayden. He asks about the heterae, essentially prostitutes. Brayden then starts talking about how Sydney’s dress is something like what the heterae would wear. Adrian then has to point out that Brayden just called her a prostitute. This is one of the many times that Adrian shows that he loves her.
While Sydney and Sonya are out walking (Dimitri’s talking to Rose on the phone), they are attacked by vampire hunters. They almost kill Sonya because they think she is a Strigoi (she used to be one, but she isn’t one anymore). What’s weird is that Sydney’s captor looks surprised to see that she is with Sonya, almost as if he recognizes her. I had it pegged that this was Trey about one hundred pages before Sydney did. Clarence was right about vampire hunters existing. These vampire hunters are a break away group of Alchemists; they even use the same ancient symbols of the original Alchemists. Instead of trying to keep vampires hidden, the hunters want to wipe out the vampires. They want to kill all of the Strigoi and eventually the Moroi. Most Alchemists don’t know about their existence, so it was a surprise to Sydney, especially when they tried to get her to join their side.
Some other things happen. Lia is still trying to get Jill to do another photoshoot that doesn’t require the use of a mask. Sydney is still trying to avoid her witchy (she is actually a witch) teacher. The teacher keeps making her practice magic, which scares the hell out of Sydney. Sydney and Adrian take self defense classes. Adrian also learns how to drive stick shift from Sydney, but this is only a ploy so that he can spend more time with Sydney. Sonya and Dimitri are running tests to figure out what’s going on. Angeline keeps trying to get Eddie to fall in love with her.
With permission from her superiors, she goes to their headquarters to save Sonya. She goes there and gives her speech about why Sonya is not a Strigoi. They decide that even if she is Moroi again, they’re going to kill Moroi eventually so it’s okay to kill her. They even show a brutal fight between Trey and his cousin. Trey throws the competition partly because he had suspicions that Sonya wasn’t a Strigoi. Just before his cousin kills Sonya, Dimitri and the gang break into the headquarters. (They had put a tracking device in Sydney’s purse.) Sydney was going to be taken hostage by the hunters, but gets away from them. Adrian saves her from them. After everything is done, she goes back to school; no sign of Trey.
Brayden breaks up with Sydney, which makes her day. He pretty much accused her of crap that really isn’t true, but she found it really funny. She goes to Adrian’s afterward. He then admits his feelings for her and kisses her. She kisses him back! She does love him, but she is more afraid of re-education so she runs away from him with regret. That’s where we leave off.
This book was a quick read. It was a little on the predictable side. There was more romance than anything to do with the vampire hunters. Feel free to read it if you read Bloodlines. This is not a good book to read before reading the first.
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Young Adult
Stars (out of 5): ****