by Richelle Mead
Read: November 15 - 20, 2013
Published: November 19, 2013 by Razorbill
Source: Hardcover Purchase
Category: Urban Fantasy, YA, Vampires
Series: Bloodlines 4 (After 7 Vampire Academy books)
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .
But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.
Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.
I tend to think of my fictional characters as real people. Although I've always liked Adrian, I thought he was too much of a mess in the Vampire Academy series, and never right for Rose. When I started Bloodlines, I wasn't sure about him and Sydney either, and I also thought he needed to work on himself before he could seriously date anyone. Although Sydney has been the narrator of the first three books in this series, and much of the character development has focused on her overcoming her prejudices and personal issues, Adrian has been growing too. In The Fiery Heart, Adrian is finally the focus of the story. Part of this was done by adding his voice to Sydney's narration, which worked very well. I highlighted so many passages, because of the hilarious things that Adrian said and thought.
To describe Sydney's reaction to my initial declaration of love as "not going well" was a kindness. "But look at me now, lounging in the lap of love."What I love about Adrian is his ability to utter the most over the top endearments about Sydney, in the most casual manner and never ever sound cheesy. He calls her the light of his life and his soul mate among other statements, and I ate up every second of it. What I really appreciated about this book was the chance to see Adrian in the spotlight, facing some of his own personal demons and fears, especially his feelings of inadequacy as compared to Sydney - and really everyone - as well as his spirit induced fluctuations in mood. Even though Adrian is a vampire in a fantasy book, his struggles are surprisingly relatable, as are Sydney's, and I've appreciated that about this series.
I don't know how Richelle Mead keeps all of the different plot elements for her six part series straight in her head. I think I might need to create a Sydney-esque chart to help me remember. Lots of things are always happening at once and The Fiery Heart is no exception. In book four we reexamine some earlier asked questions about why the Strigoi rejected Sydney's blood, why Strigoi who have turned back to their former Moroi or Dhampir selves can never be turned again, as well as more talk about tattoos and magic.
"Do you have…" Zoe glanced at me questioningly. "What was it, A Midsummer Night's Dream?"
"Of course," said Clarence. "A great piece on love.
"I scoffed. "I don't know about that. It's more a series of zany hijinks set against a magical backdrop."
"Didn't you say we were practically living it?" Zoe asked.
"Love, in my experience," began Clarence, "generally is a series of zany hijinks."All of Sydney's pretend cousins and siblings are of course present in this book, including her real sister Zoe. Zoe grated on my nerves throughout this entire story. I did not buy any of Sydney's attempts at sisterly empathy. Even when Sydney was prejudice against vampires, she wasn't so grasping. I know Zoe plays an important role in this installment, but I just wanted her gone. Jill, Eddie, Angeline, Neil - the new guardian - and Trey are still involved in their own personal relationship dramas. But thankfully, Sydney had to do less bailing others out in this book, as the story was mostly focused on her and Adrian.
In The Fiery Heart, all my hopes and fears for this series are realized. As Bloodlines is the same number of books as the Vampire Academy series, I've found myself doing a lot of anticipating plot details based on what we found in VA. This is probably not a good idea, and Mead has definitely surprised me. In The Fiery Heart she is far more generosity about certain things than I'd ever hoped she would be. We enjoy a lot of Sydrian time, which left me swooning and fanning myself. But we also endure a pretty significant cliffy. One that I've been expecting to come for a few books now. Of course, Mead didn't disappoint me on that front. However, after four books of growth from Adrian and Sydney, I'm kind of excited to see them step it up in the last two installments.
Love Triangle Factor: NONE
Cliffhanger Scale: HIGH. Book 5 is called Silver Shadows and it releases July 29, 2014. The cover is definitely moodier than some of the predecessors. Take that what you will.