Complete series with 6 novels
Genres: urban fantasy, young adult
Main series: Vampire Academy
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, and she hates moroi. But after she got in trouble for helping a dhampir out in Russia, she has a new assignment. Watch after some moroi and dhampir to make certain they fraternize with the humans. She is going to be watched herself, because she got too close to that dhampir before. But are the moroi really the evil monsters she has been told they are?
While this is a spinoff, you do not have to read Vampire Academy before to read this. While the background to this series, as well as the characters, are all in the original series, this is an entirely separate story. Moreover, Bloodlines actually introduces everything so a new reader would not be confused. If you want to read this but not Vampire Academy, you definitely can, though you will get spoilers for Vampire Academy.
Sydney grew on me. She is bookish and an overachiever. She is what she is trained to be. She is an Alchemist, trained from a young age to both be very smart and hate moroi and strigoi alike, and the dhampir aren’t any better. You could even call it brainwashed. So of course she is going to be alone with a group moroi and dhampir. And the Alchemists are going to be watching to make certain she doesn’t make friends with any of them, or it is reeducation for her!
It isn’t just Sydney who is cut off, all of them are. Adrian is basically cut off from everyone, because he can’t even go to school with everyone. Sydney is the least cut off, as she actually has some Alchemists around she can talk to, even if it means he has to lie to them. Jill is in a new place, with new people, without her family, all to protect her.
The thing about the worldbuilding is I have no idea how the humans could possibly have no idea vampires exist. Plus there are at least three secret societies I know of between this series and the previous. That is all I can think of while reading this series, is how much the world doesn’t make sense.
The plots of the individual books are only okay. The series plot is better. Each book consists of Sydney running around being a mother to everyone and putting out a lot of fires. The problems of the books are almost like afterthoughts. The bigger problem that is persistent throughout the series is the internal drama within Sydney between the facts she has to face being around moroi all the time, and her training. Doesn’t help that she is falling in love with a moroi. She is breaking away from the Alchemists.
Because The Alchemists are crazy. They absolutely hate vampires over everything. They have all these excuses on how they’re better than everyone and everything but nope, they just hate vampires. It is actually frustrating and stressful dealing with the alchemists, and I’m not even the one that has to deal with them!
A large part of the series is also about the cute as hell relationship between Sydney and Adrian. It causes as much, if not more, strife than the rest of the problems put together, but I love it dearly. Later books even have perspectives from both Sydney and Adrian. Go Adrian! I love you, Adrian. It was such an improvement on the series.
This wasn’t all a kind, happy series like Vampire academy. Before, everyone was safe and if not happy, then they weren’t exactly completely unhappy. Complete opposite this time. This is full of heartbreak and despair, torture and captivity. Bad things happen. I love this new darker turn. The world always had the potential, but it always shied away from it. It only went so far into the dark before returning to the light. Now, it has gone much further than before.
And the ending was great, too. I’ll admit that everything lines up a bit too easy for everyone and it is a bit heavy on the coincidence. Yet, everything feels wrapped up at the end. I didn’t get that feeling at the end of Vampire Academy. This was a long series, it had its ups and downs. Yet in the end, it carried through with what it promised in the beginning. I enjoyed this so much more than the original series this is based off of it is no contest. I am definitely happy I finally read this.