Blood doesn't lie...
Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning...
For those of you who don't know, Bloodlines is the first book in the spin-off series to Vampire Academy. You can read my ramble about the Vampire Academy series here.
This review has no spoilers for Bloodlines, but it has some details from the Vampire Academy series that you might want to avoid if you haven't read it yet!
For the most part, I really enjoyed reading Bloodlines. It was definitely strange reading a Richelle Mead book about someone other than Rose Hathaway (aka one of the best characters of all time). Sydney, the protagonist in Bloodlines, is nothing at all like Rose. On the one hand, this is awesome because how much would it have sucked to read about another character who was super similar to Rose? But on the other hand...I love Rose! And it was hard to read Bloodlines without thinking about how much I missed her.
It took awhile for me to get used to Sydney as a narrator. Sydney's perspective of the world in VA/Bloodlines is completely different from Rose's, so it was strange to see the story through her eyes. Her views on Moroi/Strigio/Dhampirs/Humans/Alchemists/etc. were weird to me at first, but eventually, I found myself growing accustomed to Sydney's personality and opinions, and I ended up really liking her as a main character. Like Rose, she is strong and intelligent, but her strength and intelligence show in very different ways.
The biggest issue I had with this book is that it was very slow at parts. The entire beginning seemed to drag on and on. In Vampire Academy, I was annoyed that the beginning of the book had very little world-building and explanation as to what the heck was going on, but Bloodlines had the opposite problem. There was so much world-building and explanation that nothing exciting happened. It wasn't bad enough to make me stop reading the book, but I was definitely put off by the super slow start. I wish there had been a healthy middle for both series to begin with, instead of not enough world-building and then too much world-building.
As for the rest of the book, it was still pretty slow. Unlike the Vampire Academy books, where something crazy/intense/exciting/action-packed seems to happen on every page, Bloodlines had more of a slow build-up to an actual plot. While I think it's interesting to read two different series set in the same world but structured in totally different ways, I found Bloodlines a bit boring at times, in comparison to Vampire Academy.
I loved getting to read about my favorite characters from Vampire Academy in Bloodlines. And when I say "my favorite characters," I mean Eddie. Seriously, you guys, Eddie is my favorite. I adore him, and I think he's such a complex and fascinating character. I always wanted more Eddie in the VA series, so I was overjoyed to find that he played a major role in Bloodlines.
I was not as overjoyed about Adrian's role in this story. Adrian is an interesting character for me. When he was first introduced in VA, I disliked him. It took quite awhile for me to trust him, let alone like him, so when I finally got to a point towards the end of the series when I liked him, I was amazed at the journey he had been on since he'd first entered the story. I was happy that he was finally in a place where I could like him and appreciate him as a character. But in Bloodlines, Adrian seemed to take a gazillion steps backward, and he returned to the Adrian I had a hard time liking. I understand that he's been through a bunch of messed-up stuff that made him return to his old self, but it was still really frustrating to read about him in Bloodlines. I kept wondering where the Adrian I knew and loved had gone. However, I believe Adrian's character development is really well-done and interesting, so I trust that Richelle Mead will do fabulous things with his character as the series continues.
I could say a lot more about this book, but I should probably shut up now. So, long story short: I enjoyed Bloodlines, but didn't love it as much as the Vampire Academy series, which I'm totally fine with. I had some issues with this book, but I definitely plan on continuing the series, especially with that ending! (The last sentence of Bloodlines made me SQUEAL with excitement. :D)