Sydney doesn’t have time to worry about pimples or a date to the prom. Instead, she’s worried about the vampire princess she’s sworn to protect to avoid a civil war that would likely cost human lives.
Richelle Mead’s young adult “Bloodlines” is set in the same world of the Moroi, Strigoi and dhampirs (human-vampire hybrids) as her Vampire Academy Series, which she completed in December. It’s a spinoff narrated by Sydney, a side character in the Vampire Academy books.
Sydney is an alchemist who protects humans from the volatile world of vampires. Her father is important in the world of alchemists and has trained her since she was a child. She’s one of the best, though she recently lost her father’s trust because of a rogue operation.
Alchemists use magic, mostly in the form of powerful gold tattoos that are kept secret. The tattoos are made with a mix of vampire blood that gives them superhuman strength and speed.
Moroi Princess Jill Dragomir is being hunted by the Strigoi, a rival vampire race. To avoid civil war, Sydney takes Jill and her bodyguards to Palm Springs, Calif., to attend high school as human teenagers.
As the line between vampires and humans begins to blur, Sydney has to decide what’s more important: her family and her past or her new friends.
Readers of the Vampire Academy Series will have no trouble following “Bloodlines.” But this is more than a spinoff, and those unfamiliar with the previous series won’t be left behind.
“Bloodlines” stands out from the crowded vampire genre because it’s not centered on a human-vampire romance, which is considered quite repulsive. Sydney is very clear on the subject: “Humans and vampires can’t be together! It’s disgusting and wrong.”
Instead, “Bloodlines” is about the complications of an old culture centered on old beliefs that doesn’t necessarily translate to a new generation. While there are a few love stories throughout the book, the focus on Sydney’s internal struggle is quite refreshing.
“Bloodlines” proves there’s more to being a teenager caught in a complicated world of secrets and lies than cute boys.