The Golden Lily - Richelle Mead
Published by Razorbill on 12 June 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
The Golden Lily unfolds with Sydney thinking more and more about what the alchemists are really all about, and she starts to realize that all is not black or white. As she discovers more about what happens to alchemists that have not behaved to their supervisors' liking, she also needs to reconsider her own role - both with the alchemists and with being a body-guard to a Moroi princess.
The Golden Lily actually surprised me in a very good way! I was a little cautious before I started it, because I had heard rumors of a love triangle, and I hate love triangles in my books. I wish I hadn’t listened to those rumors, because I would have read this long before I actually did.
Sydney continues to be herself in this story, and at the same time, she lets herself grow as well, even when what she wants to do seems to be against her Alchemist beliefs. She takes a stand, and decides that she needs to be able to protect herself if she is to protect others as well.
She has a boyfriend, Breyden (or was it Brandon? Hayden?) for part of the book, and while they get along extremely well intellectually, Sydney is not having any feelings of fireworks or big love when she’s with him. And she really has trouble understanding this, because on paper, he’s the perfect guy for her!
She has to deal with the aftermath of Keith’s betrayal at the beginning, and what she learns from that follows her throughout the book. Getting along too well with Moroi or Damphirs is not good for an Alchemist, it very well might be seen as taking up with the enemy. This makes her have very conflicted emotions about her relationships with Jill, Eddie, Angeline and Arian, she has to keep herself in line, lest she be the next Alchemist to be sent to a rehabilitation center.
There is a lot of action in The Golden Lily as well, and it turns out to be very interesting with the history of Alchemists, the split of the group they had been in the middle ages, as well as a kind of wake-up call for Sydney when she realizes that she is only important to the Alchemists when she follows the rules almost blindly, and that her superiors have no qualms about keeping her out of the loop if it is ‘for the greater good’. I think this will make for some very compelling stories in future books, because Sydney will have to decide where she stands in this organization, and what is important for her personally might not always be what is important for the Alchemist organization.
Adrian is swoon-worthy in The Golden Lily! He really gets a grip on himself, and has to deal with both his father’s long-standing disapproval, and with his own feelings and what to do about them. His bond with Jill makes for some very funny situations, that are made even funnier because Sydney doesn’t realize it is the bond speaking, and not Jill.
Sydney is a very strong female heroine! She can take care of herself, she is loyal, she is very smart and she knows how to say no and make others respect her. Of course she is just as socially awkward as usual, but that is partly why she is so endearing to me. I like that she is not too cocky, and she is learning how to interact with people her own age.
Very enjoyable book, fast-paced, action, Dimitri sightings (yes!), intrigues and a growing friendship between Sydney and her charges. I look forward to The Indigo Spell
, the next book in this series, and I will not read any rumors about that one before it comes out.