Written By: Richelle Mead.
Synopsis: 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. Formorly 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 her 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 Braydon, 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.
Should she trust the Alchemists – or her heart?
My Thoughts: My first big question when I picked up this book was, who the hell is on the cover? Okay well Sydney obviously, but who is that other girl? It isn’t Jill because Jill is a curly haired brunette, It isn’t Angeline because Angeline is a redhead, for a minute I thought it could be Zoe, but then I remembered that Zoe is also a brunette and she wasn’t even in this book… Oh well, I guess I will never know.
I feel like this story has no real plot. Like, yes, everyone is in Palm Springs to protect Jill, but what else? It’s like no one else has any other mission in life, period, which is very boring. It was great to see Sonya and Dimitri, I miss having all of the Moroi and dhampir around, it was like going home. I also liked seeing Adrian’s interactions with Dimitri, even if he is starting to be a huge pain in the ass. I am so used to seeing Dimitri one way, you know the super sexy dhampir war lord and the object of Rose’s affection. It is fun to see how other people view him and it makes him that much more likeable. I always knew that Dimitri was amazing, (Rose wouldn’t shut up about it) but it was great to see how he was view by someone who wasn’t madly in love with him.
I really really love Sydney. It doesn’t nearly match my love for Rose but she is a great character. I love getting to know her and all of the little details about who she is. She is obviously more than just a stiff Alchemist, she is curious, strong and brilliant and seeing life through her eyes is very interesting, even if it isn’t always exciting. Even though she still feels this unhealthy allegiance to the Alchemist, she is starting to become her own person and have her own views on life and what is right and wrong. It is fun watching her experiment and explore this person she is becoming (the person she is meant to be), and it takes a lot of guts especially since the Alchemist are all that she knows. By making all of these decisions she is putting herself in a dangerous situation because the Alchemist are nutty.
So far, I am loving the whole Sydney/Adrian dynamic. They have so much chemistry and they go so well together. From the outside, they seem very opposite, but deep down they have so much in common. The only thing I don’t really care for about their relationship is the fact Sydney keeps complaining about how everyone just writes off everything Adrian does as “oh, that’s just Adrian!” or that they do not hold him accountable for his actions. Okay, yes, this is true and Adrian should be held accountable for the things he does, but not everyone likes to play mommy, Sydney. Adrian is a grown ass man, sorry that Rose, Lissa and Christian were too busy dealing with the fact that spirit was driving two of them mad and Christian was still being shunned because his parents turned Strigoi. It seems like this whole story is just a countdown until Sydney and Adrian live happily ever after which isn’t a completely bad thing, but it is kind of annoying that there isn’t a greater plot than that, just a bunch of subplots based around Sydney and Adrian’s love story.
Angeline gets an honorable mention because she is hilarious! This story needs more of her to spice things up a bit. It’s like nothing interesting happens until the last 20 pages of the book and I am not here for that. At least Angeline provides us with entertainment with all of her high jinks and shenanigans.
I was very disappointed in the Warrior’s storyline… Like, what was that? Usually vampire hunters are genius badasses with a huge body count, but these guys were just pathetic. They literally knew NOTHING about what was going on in the Moroi/dhampir/Strigoi world. Guys, this is your JOB, you should know what the hell is happening so you can do your job efficiently. Most of them had never seen a Strigoi in real life before, and very few of them had ever killed one. They walk around all high and mighty like they know what they are doing and they don’t know squat. I am surprised that Richelle would include a group so… bootleg in any of her stories. Everything she does is usually well thought out and very detailed. It was like this was just thrown together last minute. The worst part is the whole battle lasted like 3 minutes….
Anyway, I am not feeling great about moving forward with this series, but I bought all of the books. I am just holding on to the hope that we will see Rose, Lissa and Christian sometime soon to add some spark into this joke. I give this book 3 Stars and only because I love Sydney and Angeline and Dimitri is hot. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐