The Golden Lily – Richelle Mead

Summary:
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. Alchemists 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 match her 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 telling her.
Should she trust the Alchemists-or her heart?

Review:
Richelle Mead has done it again. She’s sucked me in and spit me out leaving me wanting so much more. Good thing I have The Indigo Spell waiting for me to start once I’m done with this review. What to say about this book. I loved everything about it, just like all her other books. Her characters are phenomenal. She’s the perfect amount of descriptive. And she knows just how to pull my strings and make me fall more and more in love with this book with the flip of each page.
Lets start with Sydney. I think I mentioned this in my review of the first in this series, Bloodlines. Sydney has no faith in herself. I mean, she knows that she’s good at everything and that she’s never going to fail. But she doesn’t actually believe in herself which really bothers me because I have so much faith in her. And she’s not even real. This and the fact that she’s dreadfully naive when it comes to dating, but that should be expected with the upbringing she’s had, are the only two things that even slightly bother me about Sydney. What I love the most is that she’s fiercely loyal to her new vampire family even though she’s supposed to barely tolerate being around them. The perfect example of this is when she seeks out one of her teachers that’s going to help her go against everything she believes in to help one of her vampire friends. She even risks her life in this endeavor. She’s the most selfless person I’ve ever known. And she’s finally starting to realize that the Alchemist ways may not be the only way to think. Her character is just developed so well as the books go on.
Now we get to the good part. This is a slight spoiler, but it’s mentioned in the description of the book, so I’m talking about it anyway. In The Golden Lily, Sydney finds a boyfriend. His name is Brayden and he’s basically a male version of herself. He’s super smart and likes all the same things she likes. At first, I loved seeing the two together. I just thought they were so damn cute. Although, I wasn’t a fan of Brayden from the start, there’s just something I didn’t like about him. They were so adorable as a couple. This was partially because they were both so freaking awkward around each other and partially because this was Sydney’s first boyfriend. They were cute while they lasted, but in the end I’m glad they broke up.
Adrian and the rest of the crew also play a key part in sucking me into this book. With Angeline throwing herself at Eddie any chance she gets, Adrian being well, Adrian, and Jill trying to her best to make life at school better I couldn’t help but feel as if I had become part of this group of friends.
Adrian never thinks very highly of himself. He sees himself as this big screw up that’s just going to forever be a disappointment to everyone. This is something that Sydney definitely helps him with. She inspires him to get his shit together and prove everyone that thinks so little of him wrong. Toward the end of the book you can tell that she’s helped him.
Eddie spends a decent chunk of the book having his own personal pity party because he loves Jill but doesn’t think he’s worthy so he lets his roommate Micah date the girl of his dreams. As the book progresses he gets better, and eventually he gets over himself and asks another girl out.
Then there’s Angeline. She doesn’t seem to understand the importance of everything that’s going on, until she almost screws it all up. Sydney does as she usually does and gives some inspiring words of wisdom and Angeline starts acting much more appropriately and taking everything more seriously. I really enjoyed watching Angeline grow as a person in this book. Considering that she’s so young and coming from a completely different set of rules, this new school is kind of a culture shock for her. And I think she handles it relatively well, with some exceptions.
Last, but certainly not least there’s Jill. I feel like Jill’s character could have gotten more in depth with her development. But she still does pretty well. She never lets her feelings for her human boyfriend get in the way of what she knows as fact. In the end she does the right thing and shows that she understands the severity of the situation. What I liked most about Jill was that she always seemed to stay pretty level headed through out the book. She didn’t let her wants and needs get in the way of anything else.
This book is a must read. Well, after you read the first of course. It will chew you up and spit you out as soon as you read the first page.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.

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