First Lines: I woke to darkness. This was nothing new, as I’d been waking to darkness for the last…well, I didn’t know how many days.
I love love love Richelle Mead. She’s one of my favorite authors and I’ve read well over a dozen of her books. But I just fall off the bandwagon a little when I forget about the newest book. When I went to a bigger library in my county, I made sure I looked for this.
*Definite Series Spoilers Ahead*
Sydney Sage is used to walking the line between Alchemists and Moroi. But when she makes a heartbreaking decision, she’s forced to face the consequences of picking a side. Trapped and surrounded by her enemies, Sydney struggles to survive day to day and stay strong in the process. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to the knowledge that Sydney is out there somewhere and he will find her, even when everyone else tells him it’s a lost cause. But it won’t be easy for Adrian either, especially once his old demons reemerge…
I think this was easily the darkest book of the series so far. (And that’s kind of a trend with series. The farther into the series you get, the darker they are.) And there was a lot that I liked about it, and some I didn’t.
First of all, there is just something about Sydney and Adrian’s relationship that works, even though it doesn’t seem like it should. Sydney is this straight-laced, knowledgeable Alchemist who acts like everyone’s big sister. Adrian is artistic and given to flights of fancy. But Sydney can be funny and imaginative right back at Adrian, and Adrian can think himself out of a problem just as well as Sydney can. They’re different, but complementary. I never would have expected this out of them, based on what I knew of them from Vampire Academy. For that alone, I’m glad they got their own series.
There was a lot of action in this book, fight-action and intrigue/suspense-action. I liked that. It kept things exciting and interesting.
At the same time, there were a couple of things I didn’t like so much about this book. One was Adrian in the first third/half of the book. I completely understand why Adrian ended up doing what he did. I get it. But it didn’t make it easy to read. It was almost painful watching his old demons pop back up. I got frustrated because almost nothing happened in these chapters either, at least not compared to Sydney’s. I got to the point where I wanted to start skipping parts of the chapter just to get back to Sydney and the action.
The second reason was that the ending lacked some oomph for me. It definitely had action and suspense, and it was interesting, but the cliffhanger just wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. I guess I kind of saw it coming, so it didn’t surprise me too much. I think at this point, it’s all just building toward the finale at the end of the next book, so there wasn’t much resolution or something here.
Still, it was worth the read. Mead brings all of her signature elements back for this story: humor, awkward situations that turn out to be funny, and a beautiful love story.