Alchemist Sydney Sage has her hands full.
She has to keep the whereabouts of the Moroi princess Jill a secret, and ensure that the humans don’t suspect there are vampires in their school. This little group that Sydney is responsible for, has become a tight knit family, but they tend to have their mishaps and politics, and Sydney is the one who has to clean up the fallout each time. Then there’s the radical warrior group who wants to destroy the Moroi, and the liberal off-shoot Tempest group that wants Sydney to forsake her Alchemist roots. To add to the mix, Sydney’s teacher is a witch who insists on teaching her to harness her innate magical ability, regardless of Sydney’s abhorrence of magic. There’s also a crazy witch on the loose, which Sydney has to stop before she sucks the life out of more innocent girls.
To top it all off, there’s Adrian, the Moroi spirit user who has scandalously declared his love for Sydney, who makes her question everything she’s been taught by the Alchemists and whom she can’t quite get off her mind…
Sydney Sage is unlike any character I’ve ever met. Fiercely independent, logical, intelligent and beautiful, she captures your heart in a way the typical damsel in distress just can’t. Adrian truly understands the importance of her independence, and while protective and romantic, doesn’t crowd her. He respects and admires her autonomy, but he’s always there for her. I love the witty banter and sexy interaction between Sydney and Adrian.
The magic in this novel has been taken up to another level. I particularly enjoyed the fantasy elements and spells as Sydney hones her magical talent. There’s a whole lot of storylines unravelling in this novel, but Sydney juggles them expertly. Can’t wait to unfold the next chapter!
As an Alchemist, Sydney Sage has grown up believing that that the Moroi vampires, while tolerated in the course of business, are to be avoided as much as possible. Afterall, they are less than human. But Sydney doesn’t have much choice. She’s been assigned to protect and monitor a Moroi princess, who has been placed in hiding along with her group of half vampire guards. The more time Sydney spends with her charges, the more she begins to question what she has been taught about the Moroi. She finds herself enjoying the company of her new ‘family’, especially the brash, spoilt magic-wielder Adrian…
I think I enjoyed this second installment even more than the first. The characters of Sydney and Adrian are so unlike your typical heroes. Sydney is a perfectionist. She’s intelligent and weighs the consequences of each action carefully. Even something as emotive as a first date has her researching options and possible outcomes. Adrian is her polar opposite. He’s brash, spontaneous, and emotionally driven. Motivated by art and pleasure, Adrian wields the most powerful of Moroi magic, Spirit – something Sydney has been taught to fear – something that does not belong in the human world. The interaction between these two totally opposite characters is humorous and charming to witness. Unlikely as it seems, they really ‘get’ and bring out the softer, stronger sides of one another.
I love that Sydney doesn’t just give in to her burgeoning attraction to Adrian, even though readers are aching for the two of them to get together. This makes her character that much stronger and more believable, as does Adrian’s pride that often gets in the way. I’m dying to find out what happens next!
After the drama with Rose Hathaway, Sydney knows she’s skating on thin ice. Her fellow Alchemists have accused her of being a ‘vampire lover’ and she’s living under the very real threat of being sent away to a ‘re-education centre’. Worse yet, her actions may cause her sister to be dragged into the unsafe work of alchemy.
So when Sydney is apprised of a new assignment, she fights tooth and nail to be the one sent in place of her young and inexperienced sister, even though it means she’ll have to live with one of the ‘unnatural monsters’ she’s trying to protect the human world from. Secretly, Sydney knows that the gap between the Moroi and humans is smaller than she’s been led to believe. Living with Jill, the royal Moroi she’s been assigned to hide won’t be as bad as she thinks. It might even be fun, going to school and making friends. And nothing really happens in Palm Springs anyway…
After the Vampire Academy series, I think I expected Sydney to be similar in character to Rose, but I was pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, Rose is one of my favorite young adult characters, but a new series needs to have something fresh and exciting. Sydney is all that. She’s not your expected heroine. She doesn’t fight, she wears suits and she’s altogether quite lady-like. Some would say, she’s a ‘good-girl’, perhaps even a ‘walk-over’…Yet there is a hidden strength in her blood. Sydney is the girl who can get her own back without breaking a nail or lowering herself to her opponents level. She’s all business on the outside. On the opposite end of the scale is Adrian: bad boy and party animal. United by their concern for their young charge, the two opposites team up, to make a surprisingly great team. The character development on the part of both characters is definite and heart-warming. It’s probably my highlight in this novel.
I enjoyed this story, and would like to find out what happens next, but I have to admit that it didn’t enthrall me the way the Vampire Academy series did. Perhaps it was the lack of chemistry (excuse the pun!), the slower pace or the cliched feel of some of the interactions. Still a great read!