Strongly Character Driven | Review of ‘The Golden Lily’

By: Cynthia Ayala

The Golden Lily amazes readers with intrigue and shows off Mead’s incredible talent with characterization and character dynamics, making them come alive as she gives fans of the vampire genre a new spin on her new mythos.


Author: Richelle Mead

Published:  June 12, 2012

Publisher: Razorbill

Series: Bloodlines

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal

Synday Sage was always taught to fear vampires, to humans as they protect the vampires and their secrets. She is an alchemist, an order of humans who dabble in magic to bridge the worlds. A former disgrace, Sydney is in Palm Springs protecting Jill Dragomir, a Moroi Princess from assassins who want a vampiric civil war. But the longer she continues to protect, the closer she becomes. And for Sydney, this is a deadly thing as it challenges her world and all her beliefs, especially when confronted from enemies of the Alchemist past who mean her and her friends harm.

The Golden Lily is the second novel in the Bloodlines series, the spin-off series of Richelle Mead’s best-selling series The Vampire Academy. Published by Razorbill in 2012 on June 12th, the novel, much like her previous novels, delves into the paranormal and gives the young adult genre something new in the realm of vampire fiction.

The aspect of this novel that really makes it stand out is the characterization. Mead has a knack for making the characters sound very unique, but also very down to earth which makes them relatable. The more notable characters would be the main protagonist, Sydney, and the Moroi Vampire Adrian. Each them is incredible, brilliantly written and constructed so well that they not only fit together, but they also fit in the context of the novel and the other characters. The character dynamics are simply amazing in this novel and the richness of the dialogue and the narrative reflects the inside plot of the character Sydney and all the tension she feels the more torn she becomes. The novel is not just about her protecting some vampires at a posh private school but also about her challenging her old beliefs as she continues to grow as a character. Mead shows her mastery in character development with Sydney versus the character development in the Vampire Academy series. That’s not to say her previous novels weren’t progressive, but this series offers something else entirely, a stronger reason for her character to grow.

Another appealing aspect of this novel is the fact that the outside plot centers around the inside plot while also expanding its horizon. It was a masterful construction to highlight the tension the main character feels. Again, the character development and the richness of their individual personalities is the selling point here because it allows the reader to focus on the characters, to empathize and sympathize with them as they struggle to find themselves in this mad world they find themselves in. Of course, Adrian’s humor, his nonchalant attitude and acts of bravery are sure to incite laughs from the readers. The lines, his lines, they are unexpectedly witty and full of humor leaving no room for argument as to why he is a fan favorite character. Where he is concerned, the dialogue is incredibly fresh, whether he’s in comical mode or serious mode, and that really brings out a lot in the Sydney character. Their dynamic, their struggle for each other and their inner struggles to continue to live in their separate worlds is brilliantly constructed. Their dynamic, or at least Adrian’s characterization, will hook any reader if the plot and story doesn’t. ★★★☆ (A)

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