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. They 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. Formerly 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 the 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 Brayden, 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.
Four stars: A solid sequel with tremendous character growth.
Sydney and the gang are still hiding out in Palm Springs attending prep school. Things have settled down since the blow up with Keith and the magical tattoos. Adrian and Eddie are diligently working with Sonia and Dimitri to learn more about Spirit and how it can restore those returned Strigoi. Sydney is acclimating to her new life, making some friends and actually learning to be social. The most surprising thing is that the more time she spends with the Moroi and Dhampirs, the more her long held Alchemist views begin to come into question. Suddenly, there is a new threat to the gang and it is up to Sydney to once again come to the rescue. Can Sydney learn to see things in a different light?
What I Liked:
I am continuing to adore Sydney Sage. I know that many readers aren't as enamored with her after Rose, but I think she is awesome. The thing I like the most about her is that she is so different from your typical YA heroine. Sydney is smart, responsible, polished, and practically perfect. She is the epitome of a top student. She has spent her whole life indoctrinated in the Alchemists belief system. Sydney is uncomfortable around the Moroi and Dhampirs, but the more time she spends amongst them, the more she begins to question her beliefs. I am loving watching her grow and transform as she begins to see things differently and establish her own belief system. She has come along way, but she still has a ways to go. I am looking forward to seeing how she will continue to mature.
The romance is still not established. This time around, Sydney begins to date a young man, Brayden, who appears to be her perfect match. I found myself chuckling at their dates because their conversation was so nerdy. It was hilarious. Even though I found myself enjoying the relationship, I never fully believed in it. Still it was fun. The real romance is still trying to take root, and this book takes its time establishing the groundwork for an upcoming relationship. Although the feelings are pretty much one sided, and one of the players remains oblivious for most of the book, all the signs are there and I cannot wait to see this one flourish.
Adrian is growing and changing as well. He has buckled down and he is actually applying himself in school. He isn't quite as reckless nor as flippant and sarcastic. I did miss a bit of his antics, but on the other hand, I am liking this more mature, responsible Adrian. He and Sydney are good for each other, though one of them fails to see it. I still have my fingers crossed that a relationship is in the works for them.
I was glad to see that the plot of this book didn't focus on the Strigoi. Finally, there is a new threat introduced that was a bit surprising, especially when I learned who was involved. I will be interested to see if this group resurfaces.
I was pleased to see that Eddie had a stronger role in this one, and I am looking forward to seeing if he will finally get his heart's desire.
- Jill is growing and I liked the maturity she showed regarding her relationship with Micah. She is becoming strong and smart and I am liking the new direction her character is taking.
And The Not So Much:
I was beyond ecstatic to see that Dimitri was returning, but I was disappointed that his role was rather diminished. He is relegated to secondary character in this book. Of course, he does have a couple of impressive kick butt scenes, but nothing like I am used to. I also struggled with the abduction situation. I don't believe that Dimitri would have let that Moroi out his sight once he learned there was a threat.
Even though I am liking the more mature and responsible Adrian, I really missed his comedic antics. He didn't make me laugh like he usually does.
I listened to this on audiobook and I really struggled with the narrator at first. Emily Shaffer does a decent job, but I never liked her rendition of Adrian. I almost gave up on the audio because I had a hard time connecting with the narrator, thankfully, by the end it got better. I recommend being patient with the audio.
- The ending was a heartbreaker.... I won't go into details but it was a bit disappointing, still I think it will all work out.
The Golden Lily is solid sequel. It continues to develop characters and relationships as it explores new story lines. I am loving seeing this core group of characters work together and change. While the romance is still struggling to take root, I have high hopes that it will flourish soon and once it does, I am sure it will be worth the wait.
I borrowed an audio copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.