by Richelle Mead
Published on June 12, 2012 by Penguin Group
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
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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. Formorly 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 her 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 Braydon, 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?
If this book has proven anything to me, it’s that having faith in an established author can pay off. Sure, Bloodlines wasn’t my favorite Mead book but thankfully The Golden Lily reminded me why I love her books so much. This book took a step back from the standard action and adventure to focus more on the lives of Sydney and her little group of friends. Lots of character development = WIN. I saw definite change in the characters, most of which for the good, and a few wrong decisions that had me mentally punching them in the face. But overall, I believe Lily does exactly what a sequel should do by making the reader want to read the next book.
Now here’s where I need to stop and say that this wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read or even close. This series is still growing on me. But I did enjoy it more than Bloodlines. Sydney’s character isn’t as annoying, nor is Jill’s (though I’m still not a Jill fan). What made this book for me is Adrian. Figures he’s also the major tie to the Vampire Academy series. His character, and especially his flaws, made me love him with each page. There were times I questioned whether I was on Team Dimitri or Team Adrian — and I loved Dimitri in VA. Perhaps it’s the tortured soul bit he has going, maybe the pity I felt toward his situation, but Adrian is just… lovable. He’s just not the same as he was in VA.
As for the remaining cast, Sydney isn’t such an uptight prick but still oblivious to anything non-logical (a shame Adrian falls into that category). I’m liking her character more but the blatant ignorance of Adrian’s feelings made me want to slap her and point, yelling “He likes you!” Sadly that wasn’t possible. Her charge, Jill matured a bit from Bloodlines enough that I don’t hate her anymore, and actually rooted for her own love life successes (go Eddie!). Lily definitely improved on the first book.
But what about the story itself?
Here is why I gave this book 3 stars. Out of everything I recalled upon completing the book, the story wasn’t really part of it. I remembered the characters, and how they changed. And I remembered the ending — the reason why I will most definitely be reading The Indigo Spell. The event I’d been waiting for the entire book finally came to pass, and Sydney screws up. I won’t say more and spoil it but…why, Sydney, why???
“Should I read The Golden Lily?” Yes, because I believe bigger things are on the horizon. I don’t think this series will hold the same place in my heart like the Vampire Academy series did, but it’s slowly worming its way in. And if nothing else, if you love Adrian you should have already bought the book. Once more, not a bad read . Hoping for better with book 3, The Indigo Spell.