Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Summary (from Goodreads):
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.
So, I absolutely love this author. At first I wasn’t sure about my love of this new series, but by the second book, I knew it would be a match made in heaven. I have come to love Sydney and her ability to learn, change, and grow over time. I love the side characters. I love the cameos of past Vampire Academy characters. I love the addition of magic to the plot. I am fascinated by the alchemists. And most of all, the romance has me swooning (every time).
The good reviews for this installment have been piling up and a lot of reviewers think this is the best book in the series so far. I really got into this book, but unfortunately it’s not my favorite in the series so far. And it took me a week or so (4 books later) to really come to my conclusion as to why this one wasn’t doing it for me.
It does have all of the good things the other books had. The romance is even more swoon-inducing then ever before. Seriously, it was sizzling. And the plot was super interesting too. Sydney spent a lot of time using her magical abilities to come up with a sort of cure to help other alchemists from being controlled by their tattoos. She hit a huge breakthrough both magically and scientifically.
And wow, the ending was intense. I don’t think I’ve read such an intense and scary cliffhanger in years. Seriously, I read this book four or so books ago, and I still can’t get the ending out of my brain –book hangover to the extreme.
So what was my problem? There’s two things I was not a fan of. Number 1: the whole classic annoying little sister story arc. And 2: the point of view shifts switching between Sydney and Adrian. I get why Sydney’s sister was there and this certainly added a whole new level of stress for all of the characters, but I’m just so tired of this storyline. And the only thing that would make this storyline somewhat more acceptable would be if the sister was at least a little bit redeemable. She was not. She was rather terrible. And I was rather bored of the story arc, even going as far as comparing this character to Dawn in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
And the one thing that took me a while to place as something I didn’t like was the Adrian point of view shifts. I liked not being in his head. I liked seeing the world as Sydney did and learning with her and this was harder to do with Adrian who just knows so much more than her in regards to the world (but not as much as her in everything else). Also, I was so disappointed to get all the romantic scenes in his head. I feel like after 3 books of suffering with Sydney and learning with Sydney that I deserved to experience the sizzling moments with Sydney too. I was kind of looking forward to the awkward moments and the realistic falling in love scenes. And yes, the scenes still happened. But they happened in the eyes of someone who’d already experienced things. This was just not what I wanted or what I was looking forward to.
Also, I think I kind of liked Adrian better when I was not in his head. He came off as being way softer, and nicer than I ever saw him. And while in some respects, I found this incredibly appealing, in other respects all of his mysterious charm is replaced with self conscious fear. And I love a flawed character. I really do. Adrian is already flawed with his drinking problems, his eye for beautiful women, his depression, and his spirit issues. Does he really have to be so self-hatey too? I kind of grew to not like him as much. I liked that he was cocky and confident in past books, and seeing inside his really depressed mind was well, really depressing.
All in the all, the story was still nail-bitingly good. The romance was insanely good. The characters are still fantastic. I just hated the whole annoying little sister story arc. And I really did not like being in Adrian’s head so much. I love nice guys and I love guys who are flawed. But guys with so much self doubt are just irritating to read about. And I know I might be the only one who feels this way about the point of view shifts, but I’m just kind of sad they happened and neglected to let Sydney be in control of any of the romance scenes. The book gets an 8/10.

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