Recently the wonderful folks at Penguin Young Readers Canada hooked me up with a copy of The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. I may or may not have actually jumped up and down and squeed. Maybe done a little dance. I was gleeful at any rate. And immediately after reading it, I had to send it to Christine because otherwise she would have booked a plane ticket, crossed an international border, located my house, murdered me in my sleep and then taken all of my books for good measure.

As I did not want to lose my hard earned library of books, I thought mailing her the book was the least I could do. The following is our, mostly spoiler free, review. I’m almost certain we kept ourselves vague when speaking of the important plot points.

Caitlin: CHRISTINE!!!! We finally got it and read it and loved it and Adrian! And Sydney! And it was soooo good! And I laughed…a lot.

Christine: I KNOW! I can’t believe I’ve already read it. I want to read it again. And then I want the third book sent to me so I can read that one as well.

Caitlin: I can’t read it again because you have my copy. It’s a good thing we have a give and take relationship where books are concerned.

Christine: Yes. And I did thank you for sending it to me, right? If I didn’t, thank you. This book was so good. It didn’t fall into the second book purgatory that most follow-ups have done before. The Golden Lily starts almost exactly where it leaves off in Bloodlines and from the beginning, I was completely invested in Sydney, what was happening around her, the few glimpses of Dimitri we got, everything about Adrian, and have I mentioned this book was AMAZING?!

Caitlin: Okay, I know I may get tarred and feathered for this, but I think I like Adrian better than Dimitri. Because..because…he’s just so funny. Dimitri is all tall and handsome and intense, sure. But Adrian makes me laugh with almost every single thing that he says. And when he’s not making me laugh, it’s generally because he’s being cute. And I just love everything that happens between him and Sydney in this book. Everything. Single. Thing. I really, really wish I could spoil it because there are so many things I want to bring up. The car! The dress! The martial arts class!

Alas. No spoilers.

Christine: Oh, I love the car part. And the dress part. Also, it’s easy to like Adrian over Dimitri in this series because, as I said before, we’re seeing everything through Sydney this time around. We see ‘serious business’ Dimitri who doesn’t let his guard down in this book. He’s not like that with Rose, at least not at first.

Caitlin: True. But….I don’t know. Adrian is still funnier. Just saying.

Christine: Of course he’s funnier. He uses sarcasm and banter to deflect any real interactions with people. He’s rather superficial, which is why I like him when he’s around Sydney. Even though it’s only been, what, three months since Lissa became Queen and a month since he’s been around Sydney long enough to get to know her, we (through Syd) are actually learning personal things about him. He’s opening up more. He’s not so flippant. I like this Adrian more than the one we see in the Vampire Academy series. He wasn’t like this around Rose.

Anyway, all that to say, yes, I like Adrian more in this series, but for those reasons. Dimitri is still the guy I’m going to sigh over and get really girly about and high-pitched squealing might ensue whenever I see him on the page.

Caitlin: So, if this were a love triangle, WHICH IT IS NOT, we would be on different sides and could argue it out. That’d be fun.

But, anyway, I agree that we are seeing more sides of Adrian in this one. Which I love! Because it shows how much Rose was right when she said they weren’t good for one another. He never really did show her more than his flippant, sarcastic side. We get that with Sydney, I especially loved when he conned her date into saying she looked like a prostitute, but we get so much more as well.

I loved that even though the book is from Sydney’s point of view it was very easy to see Adrian’s feelings change and grow and such toward her. Sydney was oblivious to it, but it was still clear to the reader. And Sydney’s obliviousness didn’t feel contrived. I really, really liked that.

Christine: Yes to all of that. I adore Sydney, which is strange to say since she’s so against vampires and magic and basically everything to do with Adrian’s world, but I think she’s realizing blatant stereotyping of a race or group of people, like what the Alchemists do, isn’t the way to approach life. She’s finding out Adrian, Jill, Dimitri, etc, they’re nice people. Loyal. Funny. They’ve become her friends, which is a BIG no-no in the Alchemist world. Syd’s going to have some tough times ahead, I fear, because of this. She’s going to have to make some hard decisions, which will probably end up gutting us, since that’s Richelle’s style.

She’s very much going through an existential crisis in this book. She sums up her feelings throughout this book nicely when she says, “Everyone thought I was so amazing, so responsible and controlled. But if I was so amazing, then why was I always so unsure if I was doing the right thing?”

Caitlin: I love how Sydney is basically living a double life. The Alchemists think she is the model of anti-vampire behaviour. The vampires and dhampirs she works with think she is a good friend and confidant. Sydney herself doesn’t seem to know which one she actually is. I love how her assignment is becoming a family and her family is becoming this annoying thing in the background. Her alchemist family anyway, not her mom and sisters.

I’m really hoping that we are going to see the fallout from this in book three. There’s been so much build up about the re-education centers that if Sydney doesn’t get sent to one I’m going to be highly disappointed.

Christine: What about the guy Clarence keeps alluding to? I have a feeling he’s going to become a more prominent player in these books. Maybe the two things are connected. Of course, I don’t want Sydney to go to one of those places. Did you see Keith at the beginning of the book? I don’t want that to happen to Syd. I like her. Think of the fallout. How would Adrian take it? Oh. I think I just came up with a side-story for the year we have to wait for the next book. *plots*

Anywho, can we talk about the ending? I promise not to spoil anyone.

Caitlin: We can, but first I just wanted to say, that in my head Sydney gets sent to one of these places and then Adrian/Eddie break her out and this is how she is ultimately disillusioned with the alchemists and etc.

The ending…wait, which part? The part that parallels the ending of Bloodlines but…with…more…uh….stupid spoilers.

Christine: Yes! The part I read multiple times because it’s completely warranted. I need MORE of that. I’m probably going to read it again when we’re through with this review. Why do you do this to us, Richelle? Why do you make us go through such torment and suffering? *cries*

Caitlin: I read that part multiple times as well. I think I read it on my way to the post office to send you the book. I knew I was going to miss it. I love that she called him on the car thing. And his “badass lily” that was OBVIOUSLY supposed to be her. *is vague on purpose*

I also loved how willing Sydney is to compromise for the people she cares about. Magic goes against everything she was raised to think and believe in but when someone is in danger, she is more than willing to use it. I think this is really who Sydney is. A badass who uses magic to save people.

Also, she was hilarious in this book. I do not remember her being so funny in Bloodlines, was she? I don’t know. I think I laughed at her more than I laughed at Adrian in this one. Adrian has been a good influence on her sense of humour.

Christine: The book was funny. I think all of her awkward interactions with a boy really helped boost the hilarity. Those two kids were the most awkward of all awkward social situations ever. It was like watching Sheldon Cooper date. Clearly, he was not the right boy for Sydney.

I just… I want someone to have a happy ending already. No one in this book is happy about their relationship status, except for Dimitri and Sonya, but those were already established before this series. I know it’s only the second book and there are four more to go, but SOMEONE should be happy. Why can’t it be Adrian? Doesn’t he deserve happiness by now? :sigh: Poor Adrian.

Caitlin: I’m actually enjoy all the angst. Though I really hope Eddie’s relationship drama ends the way I want it to and not the way it’s going as of the ending of this book.

But I figure all the angst now means an even happier ending later on. Richelle hasn’t let us down yet.

So, the Golden Lily comes out on June 12th and you all need to go get it as soon as possible so we can talk about things properly.

After much internal debate, I decided to give away my copy The Golden Lily. I wouldn’t be getting it back from Christine until after it was published anyway. Sigh. I can live that long without Sydney and Adrian. Really. I can. But why should you have to?

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