Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Book Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

2 Nov 2012

The Golden Lily 
by Richelle Mead 
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Release Date: June 12th 2012
Format: Paperback

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?

The Golden Lily is possible one of the most, if not the most anticipated title of the year; and I, like 95% of the book-loving population waited eagerly for its release. While The Golden Lily did not disappoint, unfortunately it did not impress either. I don't know if it's because I'm subconsciously comparing Sydney to Rose as a result of me comparing Bloodlines to The Vampire Academy, but I feel that The Golden Lily ( and even Bloodlines for that matter) lacks...this spark. Thats the only way I can describe it. While I did enjoy it (quite a lot actually while I was reading it at least) it failed to leave a memorable impact on me upon finishing.

Adrian *swoon* No book is complete without Adrian'a presence. I cannot believe I never appreciated his role/appearances in VA, (probably because I was too obsessed with Dimitri) but I can say, I absolutely LOVE Adrian now!So, Adrian and Sydney are perfect together!Adrian himself, even admits some very interesting things about him and Sydney- I won't spoil them for you but they're definitely swoon-worthy! I'm sure many people DIED after reading that ending- it was like...all our anticipation for the climax; our prays were finally answered, and we had several seconds or minutes of squealing and laughing and joyous moments and then BAM. That last sentence killed us. I for one, am considering hibernating until early next year, and re-enter the world when The Indigo Spell releases! 

And now...onto a few things I wasn't entirely content with; firstly, no matter how much I absolutely adore Richelle Mead's books, I wasn't happy with the plot line of The Golden Lily. In fact, there seemed to be a lack of plot; basically we follow Sydney's mundane life as a high school student, while simultaneously protecting Jill. Every now and then, something close to exciting may happen- but overall, I really have no idea where the series is heading. Since this will be a 6 book series, I hope a solid storyline will begin to unravel, one that will take up a span of 6 books. 

Secondly, I love some thrilling action. Unfortunately, The Golden Lily lacked action- I understand that action probably wouldn't suit the story since Sydney's an alchemist, and she uses her knowledge rather than physical exertion, but still...a little action involving some badass guardians and strigoi would be welcome :) And last, not a huge issue, but I'm sick of Jill. She's never been a favourite character of mine, but the fact that Eddie, who is one of my favourite characters lusts after her when I clearly cannot understand why, has dampened my tolerance of her character even further.(Don't kill me Jill fans!) I'm hoping something will happen between Eddie and Angeline :) But...that's just me :D

The Golden Lily will no doubt be a 2012 favourite for most people, and clearly it was a well-written sequel, but I suppose I just have high expectations. Nevertheless, I'm anticipating The Indigo Spell...and maybe we'll have more Adrian/Sydney romance? Pretty pleaseeeee Richelle Mead! Us Sydrian fans are dying here!!


  1. Fab review, Shirley! I think the reason why there was a lack of a plot in THIS book was because Mead wants to build up for future books and slowly open up Sydney's world to us . . . so I hope the third book is much more enjoyable for you. But damn . . . I have so many Sydrian feels after reading this book. NEED book 3 NOW!

    By the way don't worry about not liking Jill all so much. Quite frankly I can't stand her most of the time. :/

  2. I think that was my main problem with Bloodlines - I was constantly comparing it to the Vampire Academy books, even when I tried hard not to. It didn't have that spark for me either and now I've been a little reluctant to read Golden Lily. Anyway, it's interesting to hear your thoughts! Brilliant review, Shirley. :)

  3. "No book is complete without Adrian'a presence. I cannot believe I never appreciated his role/appearances in VA, (probably because I was too obsessed with Dimitri) but I can say, I absolutely LOVE Adrian now!"

    I didn't appreciate Adrian in VA either Shirley, I had complete Dimitri tunnel-vision, so I'm glad Adrian has a much bigger role in these books. I still need to start this series, I'm so far behind! Too bad on the lack of plot, that seems to happen a lot in middle books in a series, but hopefully the next one will be a bit more action packed:)

  4. Oh sorry this one didn't work out for you as you'd hoped Shirley, I hate the feeling of highly anticipating a book for ages and it ends up being a bit of a disappointment! I hope The Indigo Spell lives up to more of your expectations! A lovely review Shirley! :)

  5. Shirley! my dear :)
    Like you, this book didn't impress me either =(
    actually, this is my least favorite book of Richelle Mead ever! (and Im only missing the last book of the Dark Swan series to have read all of her books) So yeah, for me it was quiet a deceived. The only thing I really really enjoyed was the presence of ym Dimitri Belikov =9 yummy! he made the book so much freaking better! I just cant connect to Sydney =( unfortunately, for me she is a very boring character. sigh...
    I still don't know if Im going to read The Indigo Spell. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE!! >_< I guess Im going to wait and read many reviews before picking it up.
    great review my dear. I totally understand your points (specially the action part) Sydney is not the badass Rose is, she is the more of a geek ( I have nothing against geek, actually love them) but for this series, it's turning it into something a bit boring =( anyways, just my opinion @_@

    Happy reading my dear! <3

  6. Vivian the Spirit says: OHMYGOSH! I still have to get through the VA series >_< but this Adrian guy definitely sounds out of this world swoon-worthy! I've heard that this new series is a tad better than the original though o_o It's too bad that it was a bit lacking in the action/plot department.. Anyhow, Lovely review, as always, Shirley!!! <3333 POOF!

  7. Sorry you didn't end up liking this as much as you hoped. Jill is not a favorite character of mine either. I hope Eddie moves onto Angeline as well. Oh, but Sydrian!! I think we've only had a glimpse of what will happen next. Great review Shirley. :)

  8. Dang it! I am so ticked that I haven't gotten to this! Christmas break for sure! I personally like Sydney even though most people miss Rose. I agree about Jill and I adore Eddie and I keep hoping for him to play a stronger role. I love this series!

  9. While I fangirl SCREAMED over this, I CAN understand your reasons for not rating this higher. If I look past my crazy happy Sydrian high whenever I think back on The Golden Lily, the non-Sydrian plot line did feel a bit weak. And Jill still needs to put a bit of effort into winning me over aswell, but.... I still couldn't rate it less than 5 stars BECAUSE I'M SUCH A SYDRIAN ADDICT. ADRIAN. *DIES*

    I need AA meetings. Adrian Anonymous.... ADRIAN *DISSOLVES INTO GIGGLES*

    Sorry you weren't as impressed as you were hoping, Shirley, m'dear! I hope The Indigo Spell knocks your head off! Fab review!

  10. I don't know if it's because I'm subconsciously comparing Sydney to Rose as a result of me comparing Bloodlines to The Vampire Academy... - Yes! This! It took me a while to get into Bloodlines and I think that was because of Sydney. I liked her a reasonable amount in VA but nothing compared to my love for Rose. Once I separated the two and gave Sydney a chance, I became to really like her. Rose is in a whole other league compared to Sydney. She's badass, fiery, smart, brave and so much more and while Sydney varies a great deal, she does have some great qualities.

    Same! I love Adrian but didn't take much notice of him in VA due to my swooning over Dimitri but now? Oh boy, I'm making up for lost time ;D

    I absolutely can't wait to get my grabby hands on The Indigo Spell! And that ending?! O__O

    I can totally see where your coming from and I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this as much as you had hoped. Let's hope that when TIS returns it blows you off your feet! Awesome review :D

  11. Aww sorry to hear that this book lacks of something, but still glad you enjoyed it atleast. I actually read the few pages of the first book but I put it down and dont know why I never continued(must have been so busy) anyway I might read it when Im good and see how I go. Great review Shirley! x

  12. Oh, Adrian... *drools* I'm glad you were a fan of this one, Shirley :) Personally, I couldn't get through Bloodlines but I LOVED the orignal VA series. And I can hardly wait for Richelle Mead's new urban fantasy novel that's going to be published in 2013. Gameboard of the Gods, I believe it's called? Anyhow, I'm really excited for that one. Brilliant review, mate. :)

  13. You hit it, girl! I used to love Jill in the VA series but now she just annoys me. Like, all the time. Eddie is one of my dear favorite characters and I, too, cannot understand how he fell for Jill. Angeline is AWESOME. I root for her and Eddie all the way. Aside from Romitri and Sydrian, the other couple I ship so hard is Eddie and Angeline.

  14. You hit it, girl! I used to love Jill in the VA series but now she just annoys me. Like, all the time. Eddie is one of my dear favorite characters and I, too, cannot understand how he fell for Jill. Angeline is AWESOME. I root for her and Eddie all the way. Aside from Romitri and Sydrian, the other couple I ship so hard is Eddie and Angeline.

  15. I liked jill... Back when she wasn't such a huge character. She was just on the sidelines, you know?
    I hate how instead of it being based around Sydney, everything was about Jill.
    Jill liked Lee and he was a backstabber! Oh dear.
    Jill likes Micah but hes a human! Oh no.
    Eddie loves Jill but he doesn't wanna hurt Micah because Micah loves Jill! ._.
    Bloody hell, we don't give a shit about Jill. Richelle, I love you. Very much. But we wanna know about Adrian and Sydney! :D
    If we don't have any big Sydrian thing in The Indigo Spell, I'll die.
    I cried for weeks after The Golden Lily. For Adrian <3<3<3
    If Sydney doesn't make it up to him, I will kill her myself.
    I've always been an Adrian fan since I first read about him in 2009 :') <333


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