The Golden Lily, sequel to Bloodlines, may take a few chapters to get past the recaps and introductions, but it won't be long before it will suck readers in. Sydney makes a great narrator—she's detail-oriented and concerned about those she believes are her responsibility, and she is very loyal to her friends. Her questions about loyalty—what it means, who deserves it, and just how far it extends—are big issues for her in this installment as she decides who she wants to stand with—the Alchemists and her training, or on her own with her kind, equally loyal, and inhuman new friends. But even as the action is compounded and her "friendship" with Adrian heats up, Sydney is cautious with her relationships and how she behaves in respect to defending herself. The mystery of the story helps expand Mead's world even more, and it is interesting to gain some perspective on the history of the Alchemists, their missions, and how they operate. A few interesting discoveries involving the spirit users and magic pepper the plot but are left open to be picked up in later volumes. In addition to action and danger Mead also fills this book with lots of relationship drama—characters get together, break up, and confess long-suppressed feelings. Action and drama notwithstanding, it's this human element that makes Mead's books so engaging and hard to put down. And the ending of The Golden Lily has one heartrending relationship cliffhanger that will leave readers desperate for more of Sydney's story. It looks like the Bloodlines series is shaping up to be another winner.
Cover Comments: I'm not a huge fan of the images of the models they're using for these covers--a little too, hm...cheesy? Obvious? I don't know how to articulate it. I much prefer the Vampire Academy covers. But it's what's inside that counts, and the story is kick ass!
ARC provided by publisher.