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. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.
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 finds 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?
It’s not often that I like a sequel. They tend to be cursed and The Golden Lily by Richell Mead is book two of the second series set in the Vampire Academy world. Luckily Mead knew what she was doing and wrote an amazing novel. Not only does it make a great continuation of the series story, but it has a plotline that stands on its own two feet. In fact the style in which Richell Mead gives us the recap of book one is devilishly ingenious. She writes a wonderfully creepy opening scene that both explains what had happened in the first book and gets the reader hungry for whatever could be the next mysterious adventure.
She’s no slouch in the character development either. In the first book Sidney pretends to be older sister to Jill and Eddie while working her Alchemist butt off to protect them and Adrian from being found out. With the newest book, not only does the charade continue, but they’re also beginning to feel like a family. This of course creates a great moral dilemma for Sydney’s Alchemist beliefs. We also get two new characters, Angeline and Brayden. For those who followed the Vampire Academy series till its end, you may remember Angeline from when Rose and Dimitri were on the run. Angeline adds a fish out of water comedic relief at the beginning, no doubt from being plucked from her caveman type of living, but by the end she’d as rough and tough as Eddie is. Brayden is welcomed as well. He’s a brainy human that seems to be the only one who can keep up with Sydney. The two hit it off quiet well and he becomes her first ever love interest.
If there is a flaw to the novel, it’s the time it takes for me to get into the new story. I only say this because I’m more of a plot type of reader. In general the plot of a novel should be seen within the first 25 to 50 pages. With The Golden Lily, I was well into 100 pages before I even had an inkling of what it could be. It’s not a huge issue, but it could deter a new reader to the series from picking it up.
Even with this subjective blemish, the novel was excellent and I am so looking forward to the third book. I have my hopes about what comes next for Sidney and her vampire family. How about you?
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars