Although author Richelle Mead's popular Vampire Academy series has ended, the author has not yet left the world behind, and continues the story with her new Bloodlines series. Book two, The Golden Lily, focuses on alchemist Sydney as she fights to keep the Strigori at bay. For those who may have missed the Vampire Academy books, or simply need a refresher on Jill, Eddie, Sydney, Adrian and their paranormal adventures, Richelle Mead gives us a crash course on the story so far.

Even though I technically finished the Vampire Academy series, I never intended to leave that world and its characters. The Bloodlines series is simply a continuation. When Rose’s love story reached its happy conclusion in Last Sacrifice, we still had a number of characters whose stories were far from any resolution and certainly not one as happy as hers. Adrian—the roguish and moody Moroi we all secretly love a little—was left heartbroken after Rose chose Dimitri. With Rose’s help, Jill found out she was actually a princess, which then turned her into a pawn in a political game. Eddie, who’d once had a golden guardian record, found himself on thin ice after helping Rose. And Sydney, our one human character, was also in a lot of trouble with the Alchemists for helping Rose.

Really, when you look at it, Rose has a tendency to get a lot of people in trouble.

Bloodlines shifts the focus of this supernatural world to Adrian, Jill, Eddie, and Sydney as they now take a turn at figuring out their lives. Sydney is our narrator, and when the first Bloodlines book opens, we find she’s still in a fair amount of trouble with the Alchemists—especially her own father. Sydney’s chance at redemption comes when she accepts a rather unusual assignment. Normally, Alchemists are just stationed in cities to keep an eye on vampire activity. Sydney’s situation is a little more complex. Back at the Moroi Royal Court, Jill has become the target for assassins who want to use her to remove Lissa from the throne. The Alchemists and the Moroi have hatched a plan to hide Jill out in a very un-vampire place: Palm Springs. Sydney’s job is to help conceal Jill and assist in her assimilation at a private human school—where Sydney is also forced to enroll, despite having already graduated from high school.

Sydney and Jill aren’t alone in Palm Springs. Eddie’s also enrolled at Amberwood Prep, ostensibly as Jill’s brother but in reality serving as her guardian, just in case any of Lissa’s enemies find out about the plan. They’re also joined by Adrian, who’s hanging around for a few different reasons. Part of is that he’s still heartbroken and has nothing better to do. But the main reason he’s there is because of a dark secret known only to a few. Jill was dead briefly, after a particularly vicious attack. Adrian used his spirit magic to bring her back, thus forming a psychic bond between them.

Hiding Jill in the desert seems foolproof—but nothing ever is. Brainy, socially awkward Sydney has to learn to adapt to high school life and finds herself looking after troublesome Adrian as much as she does Jill. Jill’s used to being a student, but her unusual looks and disastrous P.E. performances in the sun soon draw unwanted attention. Fortunately, the group has support from Clarence—a recluse Moroi—and his handsome son, Lee. When Lee starts showing interest in Jill, she thinks her problems are over—but Sydney’s have just begun. Keith, another Alchemist in Palm Springs, is selling vampire blood to create performance enhancing tattoos. Collaboration with vampires is strictly forbidden among the Alchemists, but Sydney needs the evidence to prove what he’s doing. Meanwhile, Sydney’s having her own trouble with collaboration when she soon begins regarding the other Moroi as friends.

Things reach a breaking point when the gang learns that Lee is secretly trying to become a Strigori. He’s convinced that drinking Sydney’s blood will do it and calls in other Strigori for help. She and Adrian work together to defeat them, bringing out a surprisingly focused and brave side to Adrian. Sydney then finds the proof she needs to bust Keith. He’s carted off to Re-education, a mysterious and dreaded Alchemist punishment for those who get too close to vampires.

With that, Sydney and the others are able to relax and hope for an easier time. Unfortunately, things are rarely easy with this group. Adrian, feeling empowered, has resolved to take charge of his life. But he’s also found more than focus. He’s starting to realize that Sydney isn’t the cold, all-business girl he’d thought she was. Of course, she is still an Alchemist, and while vampire-human friendships are frowned upon, vampire-human romances are absolutely unimaginable.

But those kinds of odds have never stopped Adrian before.

- Richelle Mead

You can pick up a copy of The Golden Lily available in stores now. For more fantastic YA reads, visit our Everything Young Adult Page.

Tags: Young Adult
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