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?
Don’t fear, it’s finally here! After months hanging on to find out how this story continues, The Golden Lily has finally arrived. We pick up where we were left at the end of Bloodlines, Dimitri and Sonya are now in town doing some research with Adrian, trying to figure out why former Strigoi can’t be awaken again. They believe they have a chance on finding some sort of cure for it, something that will prevent people from becoming Strigoi.
Sydney keeps having a hard time keeping everyone in their toes. Angeline is now Jill’s roommate, and the girl couldn’t get herself in more trouble. Jill is dating Micah and dying to go back modelling for Lia. Adrian is now attending art school, and he seems to be enjoying it–of course, he is not enjoying having Dimitri around, Rose’s ghost still haunts him. Things are going as normal as they can be until Trey, one of Sydney’s classmates, plays as her cupid and sets her up with one of his co-workers, Brayden. The boy is as smart as Sydney, and although at first she wasn’t really sure she should date–it’s not like she doesn’t have enough on her plate right now, right?–, she ends up having a good time with him.
Things get really bad when Sonya and Sydney are attacked by a group of men in the middle of a street. They manage to escape, but they soon find out there are people going after them, and they seem to be human. Meanwhile, Sydney is forced to face more spells and deal with her magic, while she struggles to keep her mind clear about what is right or not in her relationship with the Moroi and Dhampirs.
The Golden Lily is an amazing roller coaster. Richelle Mead keeps up with an intriguing narrative that gets to you and you just can’t put it down. Sydney has grown on me, even though she couldn’t see what was screaming right on her face for the second half of the book. Even Adrian got my sympathy after all that happens to him–Mead, that was extremely mean of you! What can I say? I’m hooked and just can’t wait for the next book!
My favorite quotes on this book are bellow.
Everything was built on reasonable facts and logic. I could deal with that. It was the rest of my job I had a problem with.
Amazing. I had just proclaimed Keith to be a horrible human being in every way possible. But none of that mattered to his father, so long as I didn’t accuse Keith of being in league with vampires. I could’ve called Keith a murdered, and Tom would have probably still been grateful if it meant Keith wasn’t chummy with the enemy.
That’s how he was, a lost remnant of chivalry in the modern world, ever-ready to help others.
That was only one of the many striking things about Dimitri. His looks alone were certainly enough to make many halt in their tracks. He had dark brown hair pulled back into a short ponytail, with matching brown eyes that seemed mysterious and alluring. He was tall, too—about 6’7″—rivaling some Moroi. Dhampirs were indistinguishable from humans to me, so even I could admit that he scored pretty high on the attractiveness scale.
There was also an energy around him that you couldn’t help but be affected by. He was always on alert, always ready for the unexpected. I’d never seen his guard down. He was constantly ready to strike. He was dangerous, no question, and I was comforted that he was on our side. I always felt safe around him—and a little wary.
“You worry as much as me,” teased Dimitri. “I didn’t think that was possible.”
“It’s my job to worry. I always have to make sure everyone’s okay.”
“Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to make sure you’re okay too. You might find it actually helps others.”
“I’m sorry ma’am,” I said. Really, I had no idea what else to say. I’d spent the weekend caught up in the epic battle to save humanity, and now… jean shorts?
But if I was so amazing, then why was I always so unsure if I was doing the right thing?
Besides, when not hard at work with this research, I’m actually conducting a side experiment on how cigarettes and gin increase charisma. As you might guess, the results are looking promising.
I was actually impressed that Adrian had an opinion.
Strigoi don’t have casual acquaintances with humans. They have them for dinner.
“You know Latin?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said. “Who doesn’t?”
Trey rolled his eyes. “Only the rest of the world,” he muttered.
“Antony and Cleopatra… is that romantic?”
“Kind of,” I said. “For a while. Then everyone dies in the end.”
Jill’s horrified expression told me that I wasn’t really improving matters.
I noticed that Brayden had come with me to the passenger side. For half a second, I thought he expected me to drive. Maybe because I liked cars so much? But then, he opened the door and I realized he was waiting for me to get in. I did, trying to remember the last time a guy had opened a car door for me. My conclusion: never.
How was it that Adrian Ivashkov, who never seemed to take anything seriously, was the only one among these “responsible” people who had paid attention to such small details? How was he the only one to really understand the magnitude of what I was feeling?”
“How can you memorize entire books but miss something like that?” asked Angeline.
“Because Sydney’s brain only records ‘useful’ information,” Eddie said with a smile. I didn’t deny it.
But even I smiled at their antics. At least, I did until I caught sight of Eddie’s face. He wasn’t giving away much, to be fair. Maybe hanging around Dimitri had provided some tips on the guardian poker face. But Eddie wasn’t Dimitri yet, and I could see the faintest signs of pain and longing.
Honestly, a secret part of me was a little disappointed. That was it? That’s what the big deal was? It hadn’t been terrible, but it hadn’t sent me soaring to new heights either. It had been exactly what it seemed like, lips on lips.
“I need your help.”
Trey’s eyebrows rose. “Words I never thought I’d hear from you.”
That made two of us.
I looked down at our hands and tried to figure out how I felt. He had nice hands. Smooth, warm. I could get used to holding those hands. And of course, he smelled like coffee. Was that enough to build love on?
Just looking out for you, sis. Don’t want you ending up with some deadbeat. Believe me, I’m an expert on that kind of thing.
“But what are loyal and caring really worth?”
“To me? Everything.”
He always looked good, no matter the condition of his clothing and hair. It was one of the more annoying things about him.
I’d seen him fight before, but it never got old. He was captivating. He never stopped moving. Every action was graceful and lethal. He was a dancer of death.
“You’ve got a lot to say for a drunk guy.”
“Oh, Sage. I’ve got a lot to say, drunk or sober.”
“I can think of a lot of words to describe what she did. ‘Hot’ isn’t one of them.”
He shrugged and moved toward the door. “Hey, you’ve got your turns-on, I’ve got mine. Windmills for you, braling for me.”
Never thought I’d see the day when you’d throw your arms around a vam—someone like me.
“That’s the third time I’ve heard ‘your boyfriend.’ What’s going on with that? Why won’t anyone say Brayden’s name?”
Neither of them answered right away. Finally, Jill said sheepishly, “Because none of us can remember it.”
“You’re drunker than I thought,” I said. “And I thought you were pretty drunk.”
“We live in a desert, and you keep an umbrella in your car?”
“Of course I do. Why wouldn’t I?”
All we can go on is what we think, how we see the world. If you can’t trust your own mind, what can you trust? What other people tell you?
He almost smiled. “There you go again. Why? Why do you keep helping me?”
There were a million answers on my lips, everything from It’s the right thing to do to I don’t know. Instead, I said, “Because I want to.”
This time, I got a true smile from him, but there was something dark and introspective about it. He shifted closer to me again. “Because you feel bad for this crazy guy?”
No one can look at you in this dress, in all that fire and gold, and start talking about anachronisms. If I were him, I would have said, ‘You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen walking this earth.’
Some things are true, drunk or sober. You should know that. You deal in facts all the time.
“It’s like letting a toddler loose in a room full of china,” I muttered. “What was he thinking?”
If I could do those things, then I’d truly be a good Alchemist.
And, I realized, I’d also be terribly, awfully lonely.
“Did you just use juxtaposition in a sentence?”
“Yes, Sage,” he said patiently. “We use it all the time with art, when we’re mixing different components. That, and I know how to use a dictionary.”
“Your family has an awful lot of emergencies.”
You have no idea, I thought.
“I don’t know,” I said softly. “I just thought of something crazy.”
“Welcome to my world.”
“Is she for real?” He paused and reconsidered. “Are you for real? Spells? Magic? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I drink blood and control people’s minds. But I’ve never heard of anything like this.”
“You need me? You yell. You want to leave? We go. I’ll get you out of here, no matter what.”
Something clenched in my chest, and for a moment, the whole world narrowed down to the green of his eyes. “Thank you.”
“Ever had that happen? Once you can’t have something, you want it that much more.”
“Yes,” he said bitterly. “It happens all the time.”
Did Adrian believe I was those things? The thought made me feel warm all over. Elated… and confused.
I thought epic love was kind of a stretch for someone her age but didn’t say so.
For the last month or so, everyone in my life had gone on and on about how responsible I was, how diligent, how exemplary. I’d been called a lot of things. But never, ever, had I been called irresponsible.
And I kind of liked it.
“You’re in an awfully good mood,” he observed. “Was there a sale at Khakis-R-Us?”
“So this is some kind of intervention.”
“This is the truth,” he said simply. “From someone who cares and wants your body to be as healthy and amazing as your mind.”
But perhaps the best part of all was that I, Sydney Katherine Sage, guilty of constantly analyzing the world around me, well, I stopped thinking.
And it was glorious.
At least, it was until I started thinking again.
For once, you’re going to hear something that doesn’t fit into your neat, compartmentalized world of order and logic and reason. Because this isn’t reasonable. If you’re terrified, believe me—this scares the hell out of me, too.
You inspire me in every act, every word, every glance. I look at you, and you’re like… like light made into flesh.
You have no clue how beautiful you are or how brightly you shine.
“None of us are meant to be or do anything,” he said. “We decide what we’re going to be. You told me once that there are no victims here, that we all have the power to choose what we want.”