After spending six hundred years on Earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world’s riches, but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to take the bodies of other humans by jumping from one vessel to the next, ending the human’s life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she’s done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.
Then sixteen-year-old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body while trying to save her. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she’s inhabiting-and falling for the human boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she’s his again, and every moment she stays, she’s putting herself and the people she’s grown to care for in great danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that’s eluded her for centuries: true love?
Seraphina Ames has walked the streets for over 600 years. At a young age she was turned into an Incarnate, a person who can stay young and live forever due to alchemy, at the hands of her master, Cyrus. For years, Seraphina has watched Cyrus corrupt the lives of innocent individuals, creating an Incarnate family for them to cherish forever. The catch? In order to become an Incarnate one has to switch bodies every so many years, instantly turning their previous host into ashes. Seraphina bears the heartache and guilt of many innocent lives, all of whom would have survived if not for her selfishness of wanting to stay alive. After years of the heart-wrenching guilt, Seraphina has decided that she wants freedom from Cryus. It is her one true wish to never kill another human being. In order to do this she must escape from Cryus, making herself and his precious alchemy recipe disappear forever. Seraphina Ames is ready to die.
While trying to escape from Cyrus and the rest of the Incarnates, Seraphina witnesses the death of a young girl, Kailey Morgan. In an attempt to save Kailey’s life, Seraphina accidentally inhabits her body, turning her previous body into ashes. Accepting her fate, Seraphina makes an effort to portray herself as the real Kailey, taking over her life completely to comfort her friends and family. Seraphina soon finds out, though, that this is not as easy as it sounds. She is faced with personal struggles and heartache, all the while trying to fit into a family that was never hers to begin with.
One thing I enjoyed about The Alchemy of Forever was how bold and unique the characters were. Everyone seemed to have their own individual personality, creating a realistic atmosphere. While reading the novel, I felt as if the characters were right in front of my face. I could picture them in my mind as if everything were really happening. When Seraphina was nervous or scared, I was jumping with nerves right along with her. When Cyrus was angry, I could see his face get red with fury and feel the tension rolling off of his shoulders. And when Nicole spat with envy at Seraphina, I witnessed the jealousy and hatred burning in her eyes. It was an intense experience witnessing the realistic qualities of the story, which made for an overall pleasant read.
My main problem with The Alchemy of Forever is how fast it moves. Chapters speed by every two or three pages, changing scenes almost immediately. While I did enjoy the overall plot, I found that it was rather frustrating having to move throughout the story so quickly. It was nice to have so many stopping places throughout the novel, but I felt that it took away from the story itself. Another thing I disliked was how quick Seraphina was to act like an actual teenager. As a woman who has survived for over 600 years, there should have been adult qualities already imbedded in her mind. Instead, she was quick to act like an actual sixteen-year-old girl. One might argue that she was simply pretending so no suspicion of her true identity would surface. However, her child-like qualities seemed to appear even when she was alone. I wish that Williams would have made it a little more difficult for Seraphina to adapt into a sixteen-year-old body, as it would have appeared more realistic.
While I appreciated the read of The Alchemy of Forever, I probably wouldn’t read it again. If you want to be able to put a book down at night, this would make a great read. If one wanted to be sucked into the pages for hour after hour, though, this wouldn’t be the book for them. The Alchemy of Forever was a cute, light read. Overall, though, it is a book that one would tend to forget about.
Publication Date: January, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Challenge: Debut Author
Teaser Quote: “-“Magic?” I whisper. “Science,” he replies. I am astounded, and delighted. “I don’t care what you call it,” I say. “It’s still magic to me.”
“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.”
When the stunning conclusion to the Vampire Academy series was released late last year fans of the series were then hit with the realization that that. was. it. No more VA! Nooo! How? What about Adrian?
But wait! There was more to come. The spin-off series, Bloodlines was announced and fans let out a collective sigh of relief – even though it wouldn’t be from Rose’s perspective we wouldn’t be completely leaving the world of Moroi and dhampirs behind.
The series centres on the alchemist, Sydney, who was a relatively minor character in the VA series but steps into the forefront in Bloodlines. Along with Adrian, Jill and Eddie they’re faced with a whole new challenge – someone wants Jill dead. With her out of the way, Lissa would lose her crown and be ineligible for the throne. In order to keep her safe the guardians relocate her to Amberwood prep, a boarding school in California, with Sydney posing as her sister and Eddie as guardian. And Adrian? As always he has his own agenda.
Those who may not have read the Vampire Academy series could probably still read the series and find it enjoyable but would miss out on why certain issues are such a problem – such as who is Lissa? And why do we like her so much to want her to stay as Queen? That type of background knowledge can only be found through reading the VA series.
As expected, Richelle Mead’s writing completely sucks you into the story. The storyline in Bloodlines is definitely interesting, detailed and complex with so many twists and turns, it’s obvious how completely well thought out everything is. I was disappointed however to find some plot points a bit predictable, or rather, I figured it out before it all happened. A few things resolved themselves quite quickly but I have a feeling we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to complications for this series.
While reading it it’s obvious that Sydney is definitely not Rose. Though I still liked her, Sydney’s composure and logical thinking is a complete contrast to Rose which makes her a little less….fun to read. There’s definitely a spark in her though and her compassion and cleverness made her incredibly likeable. Finding out more about her back story was also great since you then understood her reasoning for her actions so much better.
Then there’s Jill – she’s young, she’s struggling to adjust to her new lifestyle and still coming to terms with having Lissa as a sister, who hasn’t been completely excited by having a new sibling. I didn’t really like Jill much but she might grow on me…maybe.
Adrian, ah Adrian! He was as always his charming self but it’s obvious he’s still hung up on Rose which at times was frustrating to see, plus he clearly has a bit of growing up to do. As a whole he completely added to the story so well (how could he not, it’s ADRIAN), his snark helped to lift the scenes that might’ve otherwise come across as a bit uneventful.
Eddie remained more in the background in this particular book but I’m really hoping to see more of him in the next one.
For those wondering, yes, Rose, Lissa and Dimitri do make cameo appearances – it was SO good to see them on the page again.
There wasn’t much in the way of a love plot in this book, though there was a lot of talk before it’s release that seemed to be pointing at something romantic for Adrian, but it doesn’t come up in the book.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Richelle Mead book without a completely huge OH EM GEE moment right at the very end which left me completely surprised and dyyyyying for the next installment.
I didn’t love it as much as Vampire Academy, but that doesn’t mean the series won’t improve or that this series isn’t worth starting – it definitely is.
Richelle Mead, make no mistake, I love you like a fat kid loves cake……but I’m giving this one a…a…….4!
Publication Date: August 2011
Teaser Quote: “They’re waiting for you. Go on in.” Adrian leaned close to Keith’s ear and spoke in an ominous voice. “If.You.Dare.” He poked Keith’s shoulder and gave a “Muhahaha” kind of monster laugh.”
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden deep in the forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger…and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever…
Rose and Lissa are best friends; the kind that knows each other’s every thought. Well, Rose does. For she is linked to Lissa. They share a bond closer than that of two normal friends. It’s this bond that might have kept them alive for the last two years. That, and Lissa possess magical powers, even if she isn’t very good with them. But all that is about to change, on that one night when the guardians from St. Vladimir’s Academy are about to catch up with them. Lead by Russian guardian Dimitri Belikov, Rose has no chance, yet that doesn’t mean she gives up without a fight. Rose never gives up without a fight. Before they left the Academy, Rose was well known for her sarcastic tongue and tough personality. It had gotten her into trouble many times before.
Yet on her return to St. Vladimir’s, Rose finds that her quick temper is only one of the things she needs to watch. She’s placed on probation, meaning no social outings outside of normal class duties. She has extra training sessions with one Dimitri Belikov. Her freedom is gone, and she hast to start over, something that everyone will take a while to get used to.
But with these extra practice sessions that she originally dreaded, comes something Rose wasn’t expecting. For Dimitri Belikov isn’t what anyone suspects. Rumours frequently state that Dimitri is a god. A sexy badass Russian god who is more than likely the best guardian on campus. As Rose soon finds out, that reputation isn’t without reason. For Dimitri is relentless, constantly challenging Rose beyond her comfort zone, challenging her to find something more than herself. Yet Rose has something else she is struggling with. Against all her better judgment, she finds herself falling for her mentor. Something strictly forbidden in the Dhampir world.
First, Rose is a student, Dimitri her teacher. Second, that teacher is seven years older than her. But most importantly, everyone knows Dhampir’s don’t have relationships with other Dhampir’s. It would distract them from their job – protecting the Moroi at all costs. Lissa’s life could depend on Rose’s concentration. What Rose doesn’t know, is how soon her concentration is going to be tested.
Vampire Academy is the first novel in the series of the same name by author Richelle Mead. As her first foray into the world of Young Adult fiction, Mead has done so spectacularly. Her world is fresh and new. Vampires with routes in firmly established mythology, set in a contemporary society with characters that you wish you were friends with. You won’t find any sparkling vampires here. These vampires are living and real. They drink blood for survival from willing human donators. They enjoy a connection with the elements, each one giving of a different strand of magic that is infused in the spirit of each Moroi. Then there are the Dhampir’s – something not seen before yet equally thought up and developed. The social structure is defined, the places and locations real. There is a quality here that lends itself to every action having a reason and a thought behind it.
Add into that unreal characters. Rose is everything you could want in a female protagonist. Strong, independent and willing to fight for what she believes in, a streak which can sometimes get her into trouble. She is sarcastic, feisty and loyal, laying her life on the line for her best friend time and time again. Dimitri is another example. Strong and fearless, sexy and beautiful. He is the force that makes Roes realize just how serious her training needs to be. He is the one that finally gets through to Rose. Christian was a pleasant surprise to me. I liked his character and the way he cared for Lissa. He is someone that I hope to see more of in future novels. Finally, Lissa. This is the one I wasn’t completely sure about. She is Rose’s best friend, and for that, she keeps Rose sane. Yet, there were times where I saw a selfish streak from Lissa, the need for her to be taken care off. Lissa doesn’t really stand up for herself, though perhaps this is to do with partly how she was raised.
In all, a fantastic first book. This series I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys and is a fan of good urban adventure. A great read, and sure to get you hooked on the rest of the series!
Publication date: 2008
Teaser quote: “Wow.” I hadn’t thought Dimitri could be any cooler, but I was wrong. “ You beat up your dad? I mean, that’s really horrible…what happened? But, wow. You really are a god.”
He blinked. “What?”