Bloodlines is the first book in the series of the same name by Richelle Mead, though it is part spin-off/part continuation of her earlier Vampire Academy series, so, if you haven’t, read that first. You’ll want to if you want to avoid spoilers and confusion. Overall, I really liked Bloodlines. It took secondary characters from Vampire Academy that I already knew and cared about and gave them a cool new setting and some new conflicts. It suffered from some of the plot hole and predictability problems that the earlier Vampire Academy books did, but it was extremely entertaining, if a tad slow to start, and I think it is a solid opening to what I hope will be a series I can get into as much as Vampire Academy. 4/5 Stars.
The Good Stuff
I loved the new perspective. Sydney is human, with a completely different outlook on the whole vampire society than the one we saw in Rose in Vampire Academy. Sydney’s placed in an awkward position, trying to live with vampires without becoming too friendly with them, but it becomes an impossible task as she realizes that not all of her preconceptions are necessarily correct. She builds unique relationships with each supernatural character and I love the idea of putting her and Adrian together. They’re the perfect opposites attract case study and when they do get together romantically in the next few books (we all know it’s coming) the taboo (human and vampire) nature of the whole thing will be absolutely delicious and dangerous. I’m looking forward to it.
The mystery layered into the plot was pretty great. Sydney had lots of threads to follow, and I really enjoyed the ending; it was unexpected. And–I have to be vague here, but–the last line was perfect. Thrilling in good and bad ways all at the same time.
The Not So Great Stuff
There was one mystery in the first half of the book that had me screaming in frustration. Sydney didn’t figure it out until something like page 205 when any idiot who’d cracked a VA book had it figured out before page 70. If she’d been totally ignorant of spirit magic, I’d get it, but she’s definitely not. So we’re getting all this exposition about how Sydney is so smart and so logical, pinpointing problems in plans and just generally being observant and meanwhile she is missing the most obvious thing about the girl she’s supposed to be protecting. It was ridiculous.
Speaking of Jill, I think she’s still just a tag-a-long little sister character like she was in Vampire Academy. I didn’t see her change or do much as a character at all. What I know about her I like, but she’s pretty flat overall. Plus it bothered me that Sydney and Eddie are there for the sole purpose of protecting her and then they never see her as they all go to different classes. It makes zero sense, since it’s not like the average human boarding school security is exactly high class. The plot that comes after they all arrive makes sense, but it’s sort of like they forget the reason that they’re all there.
I went into this series really excited. I knew I liked the characters and wanted to know what was going to happen to them after the end of the previous series. I wasn’t disappointed after all that self-hype, though i do think that it was the initial excitement that got me through the clumsier opening scenes so well. The ending was worth it, and–even though this book has some problems–I think it lays a solid foundation for future installments. I’ve already started book two and I’m looking forward to reading even more. Definitely pick this up if you liked Vampire Academy (especially if you’re an Adrian fan!) If you haven’t read Vampire Academy and you like action, romance and mystery with your high school drama (Think Buffy or The Vampire Diaries show not Twilight), go read it and then come back for this.