This was definitely the coolest ARC I picked up at the RT Booklovers Convention! It comes out June 12th, so there isn’t too long a wait for this one. I just absolutely love Richelle Mead. And apparently a ton of other people do too because she was one of the few authors requiring wristbands and numbers at the convention. One of the other wristband required authors was Anne Rice.
I bought another copy of Vampire Academy to get her autograph. And she was so nice! I love meeting authors who are so nice because then I feel even more justified in my extra book purchases…Any way, to the book. It’s a sequel to Bloodlines, which itself is a spinoff of the Vampire Academy books. If you haven’t read these books, by all means, go do so. They are in my opinion, the best YA vampire books out there. And I would know because I have read a crazy amount of vampire books.
It starts shortly after the first one finished. Sydney gets called out of town for alchemist business that ends up being all about Keith, the jerk face from book 1 that finally seemed to be punished for his wrongdoings. Apparently, Sydney’s opinion of Keith needs to be taken into light before sending the kid back to a re-education center. And while Sydney hates the boy, she tries to prevent him from being further re-educated because she sees how messed up he is now. So, re-education = brainwashing torture, it seems. Too bad for Keith, her opinion isn’t enough. And a very important lesson is learned. If there is any possible hint that an alchemist has gotten too close to vampires, re-education is necessary.
This becomes more and more of a problem for Sydney, who continues to grow closer with Jill, Adrian, Eddy, Sonya, and Dimitri. The Strigoi blood research is so interesting! There’s a lot of blood experiments. There’s also a lot of dating experiments in this one. Jill has a boyfriend. And Sydney starts dating someone as well. There’s modeling, school dances, gorgeous Halloween costumes, first dates, self defense classes, new characters, and old characters, and even a little bit about witches and their magic (something not in the other series at all)!
Sydney and Sonya get attacked by vampire hunters, who refuse to see that Sonya is not a Stigoi any more. There’s fighting arenas, rescue scenes, awesome cars, magic spells, and oh so much romantic tension with Adrian! I love Sydney’s and Adrian’s friendship. And I loved seeing Adrian fall further and further for her. And while a part of me was on the edge of my seat just waiting for something to happen, another part of me was dreading it because I know what Sydney has grown up believing about vampires. And I know what she would be giving up if she were to do anything with Adrian. Does anything happen with them? You’ll have to read the book to see! I refuse to spoil this.
Can you tell that I loved this one? The only thing I really felt that Bloodlines was missing was romance. And this one was definitely not missing it. There’s plenty of high school romance drama, and that’s on top of all the other action! Also, Sydney has gotten so much tougher and stronger, and I love her so much more! She’s learning to fight iself-defense classes. She’s beginning to trust her instinct and own sense of morality and justice over what everyone tells her should be her sense of morality/justice. And she is just so intelligent!
I love how socially awkward she continues to be. I kept making slight comparisons between her and Brennan in the show Bones –both insanely bright women lacking in social skills. A few new possible storylines were brought to light involving Sydney’s blood. And I hope this gets addressed further in the next one! And then of course there was the humongous cliffhanger at the very end of the book, one that follows a very juicy romance scene!
I don’t really have anything negative to say except that it ended too soon. I could have kept reading this story for a few more hundred pages. I’m hoping to maybe reunite with some more old friends in book 3. I give this one a 10/10. And look forward to any future books by this author!