Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)
by Richelle Mead
Summary: The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy.
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.
This book is the first in a series, but it is set in the same world as Vampire Academy and apparently includes some of the same characters. I’ve never read Vampire Academy, but judging by the synopsis and the fact that this book is a new series and the first book in it, I didn’t think I had to read Vampire Academy to enjoy this book. Maybe I was wrong.
The book begins with Sydney, an Alchemist, being given a new mission of protecting Jill who is a vampire princess. Apparently, Sydney’s last mission didn’t go so well, so there was some conflict from the beginning.
The way that the beginning (and practically the whole book) was written made me feel like it was book 2 in a series and I was missing something. While this isn’t the only book I’ve read in which previous events are discussed (isn’t that almost every book, since everyone has a past?) it reads like a sequel, like I’m already supposed to know the characters, know the events, and understand them. It is difficult for me to explain. It’s just the way that it was written… I actually looked this book up about 3 times to make sure it was, in fact, the first book in the series and I wasn’t missing anything. Of course, the events that happened in the previous mission were later explained, but it seriously felt like I was already supposed to know. I don’t know if perhaps the author is so used to writing a series that she writes in that manner. I have no idea, but it was aggravating to me. In fact, the entire book felt odd, like I’m supposed to be used to these people. From what I gather, despite the fact that this is a spin off of Vampire Academy and includes former characters, it’s a new storyline with new characters, so I feel like everything should have been described and executed better.
While the plot was interesting, I didn’t find myself really enjoying the story. I thought a lot of parts were mundane and unimportant, while others (especially piecing together clues) were obvious. I didn’t really love any of the characters, but a few them interested me and I thought there were plenty of chances to sort of stroll down certain avenues with the characters and instead, it was back to mundane stuff, like Sydney grabbing coffee for her teacher. Towards the end, certain parts started coming together and more individual aspects I found to be unimportant actually went somewhere, but I just thought it could have been done better. The characters all had tons of interesting aspects, but I felt too many of them were left unexplored.
I’m still planning on reading Vampire Academy, but I just didn’t enjoy this book. I hope that because it was a spin off, the original Vampire Academy will be much better developed and this was just an accident. I also think that perhaps if I’d read the series, I may have enjoyed this book more because I’d be more familiar, but I am also glad I didn’t because I was able to pick up on the author’s lack of world building and I think she should have done a better job, even if this is a spin off. This book is still the first in it’s series, despite having a separate origin, and should be able to stand alone and it just doesn’t seem that way to me.