Fans of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series weren’t completely satisfied with the series’ last book. Many loose ends remained, and we wondered what would happen to some of our favorite supporting characters. Well, Vampire Academy fans now have a chance to find it out with Mead’s VA spin-off, Bloodlines. Bloodlines follows alchemist, Sydney as she gets assigned to protect the Queen’s sister, Jill, at a Palm Springs boarding school. I was a bit hesitant starting up Bloodlines, I felt like it wouldn’t be as good as the Vampire Academy series (Check out my review of the VA series here.) When I started reading it, I instantly got that impression. However, once I got to end, my initial impression was wrong. Bloodlines is great start to another a VA series.
If you are unfamiliar with the Vampire Academy novels, here’s a round-up of that world. There are two different kinds of vampires. Moroi are warm-blooded, mortal vampires. They are good vampires; they’re almost like humans, except for their thirst of blood and pale skin. The Strigoi are the bad vampires; they are immortal, vicious, cold and soulless. Strigois are incredibly dangerous, seeing how they are very difficult to defeat. This is why the Moroi have dhampirs. Dhampirs are half human, half vampire. Because of their genes, they are built to be much stronger than the average human being. Therefore, they protect the Moroi from the Strigoi. There are also the Alchemists, a group of human beings that aware of the vampire existence and do their best to keep humankind from knowing about them.
Alchemists have a deep dislike for vampires. So when one of their own, Sydney decided to help them in the last book, she was put on suspension. But now they have a new duty for her, to protect Queen’s sister from another attack. Sydney moves to Palm Springs to protect Jill with dhampir Eddie, moroi vampire Adrian, and fellow alchemist Keith. Sydney decides to keep it cool and stick with her job. However, as time goes on, Sydney can’t help but become interested in all the odd things that pop up around Palm Springs and the boarding school. With the help of Adrian, Sydney starts to investigate.
Pretty much after writing those last two paragraphs, I have undoubtedly come to the conclusion that you MUST read the VA series first, before you can start Bloodlines. Mead didn’t go out of her way to re-explain the VA mythology. It’s a seamless transition if you have read the previous books. For those who haven’t, you will probably be very confused. It’s a pity because new readers won’t be able to enjoy the book as much as they could have.
Bloodlines starts off a little slow and frustrating. I was so used to Rose’s point of view. She knew about almost everything, so information came faster to the reader. With Sydney, many things aren’t revealed right away. The first third of the book is like this, but then by chapter seven everything clicks into place. Since I’m familiar with the VA mythology, I was able to spot things long before Sydney figured them out, which created a little dramatic irony.
The story is interesting. The mystery was slightly predictable but still fun to read. There are many dramatic turns, but the story and characters never take themselves too seriously. I hate when I’m reading something that’s supposed to be very dramatic and can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous the characters are acting. That doesn’t happen in these books. Also, I love the Gossip Girl vibe these books have. Adrian is like the Chuck Bass of the VA world. Fans of Adrian will love this book because it’s great to see this new side of Adrian. We always saw him through Rose’s eyes, and Sydney gives us a rather different perspective of Adrian. As for Sydney, I like her. She’s very different than Rose, but likable and kickass in her own way. Mead made a good decision choosing Sydney to be the main character for the spin-off.
It’s down to this: do I recommend Bloodlines? Yes, only if you have read the VA series. Otherwise, go pick up Vampire Academy and start reading. Trust me, you won’t want to read Bloodlines without understanding everything that has happened in the whole VA series. Anyway, after that killer cliffhanger at the end of Bloodlines, I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens next to Sydney, Adrian and the gang!
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