Bloodlines is a six book series by Richelle Mead, which began as a spin-off of the Vampire Academy series. While it can be read as a stand-alone, I strongly recommend reading VA first, as there are character crossovers and references to previous events.
If you are into the paranormal romance genre, you’ll probably love these books. They take your typical PR and push it a bit further, giving the human her own kind of special powers, first as an Alchemist and then adding in witchy powers too. And even the paranormal people have limitations and special characteristics. I loved the way Mead gave vampires different abilities, and even added different types of vampires, the good Moroi and the bad Strigoi, as well as the guardian Dhampirs (super strong humans who protect Moroi from Strigoi.)
In Bloodlines, the story focuses on Sydney, an Alchemist (known for cleaning up vampire kills and keeping vampires a secret), and Adrian, a spirit-using, Moroi vampire. From the beginning, these two have chemistry. But, Sydney has been brought up distrusting all vampires. She is a super smart, somewhat anal, heroine. She has been placed with Jill, the Moroi queen’s sister, while she attends school in Florida. While building friendships with the Moroi and dhampirs at school, Sydney learns a lot about herself. She also learns witchcraft with one of her teachers.
Mead does an excellent job at pulling the reader into the story. She created this world using vampire myth and culture, then added to it with witchcraft culture too. Her character development is amazing. At the beginning of the series, you see Sydney being very biased against vampires, focused solely on her job. Then, you watch her grow with each book, realizing that not everything is black and white. Adrian also grows a lot. In the beginning, he’s a cynical romantic, self-pitying and a bit self-absorbed. But, underneath all these defense mechanisms is a big hearted softy looking for a perfect fit. Mead has you rooting for these two from the beginning. Even the secondary characters are brilliant. They are interesting and memorable, with their own stories as well as weaving their way through the main story. And of course, there is crossover from Vampire Academy (Rose and Dimitri!) that gives you a little insight and follow up on those characters as well.
All in all, I’d give this 4.5/5 stars. I deducted half a point because I felt like the last book didn’t have as much detailed storyline, compared to others. But, it was still a wonderful book, and I’m hoping for another series set in this world.
Richelle Mead has written over twenty-five novels for teens and adults. She is the author of the international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series and its spinoff series, Bloodlines. Her recent standalone novel, Soundless, draws upon Chinese mythology and history, and her forthcoming series, The Glittering Court, follows the adventures of girls destined for arranged marriages in a fantasy world inspired by colonial America. A lifelong reader, Richelle has always had a particular fascination with mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses to wear on tour. She is a self-professed coffee addict, works in her pajamas, and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is hard at work on her next novel.