Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart
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. 


  1. When I woke up this morning, there was The Fiery Heart on my Kindle and I'm so excited to read it, but not excited about a cliffhanger. Although you're right, it's to be expected at this point and I'm curious if it's what I've been thinking as well. July 29, 2014?? So far away (but I guess she's working on other series). Ugh. Oh well, I'm still reading it today! ~Pam

    1. Ok, I'm replying to my own comment. I don't know what year I think it is, but July 29, 2014 is not that far away. So ignore that comment. Also, I feel the same way that you do about Adrian. I was not a fan in the VA series, but I absolutely love him in this one and especially how much he has grown and how good Sydney is for him. I loved it when he told Sydney (I think it was in Indigo Spell) about how much she inspired him to be a better person compared to how he tried to be a better person for Rose just because he wanted to impress her. Ok, I need to start reading it right now. ~Pam

  2. I haven't read this series. WHY? (Probably because I've seen obsessive fangirling over this series, which scares me. Even though I tend to do it, too.) I think I'll start with book one and go from there because I have a feeling I NEED to read it!

  3. I'm so conflicted about beginning this series. I liked VA, but I didn't love it. I was more of Team Adrian because I loved Adrian more than any of the other characters than because he was good for Rose (which he wasn't). BUT, I somehow don't feel the urge or pull to pick up this series and find out how his story continues. I've heard the first book or two isn't all that promising, but it really picks up afterwards and I'm not sure I can wait that long, not to mention I think Mead is another one of those authors who I feel I've read too much from and grown tired of. Or maybe it's just vampires? Anyway, I guess I'll see how this series ends before making a decision either way, but I'm glad you've been enjoying this series and, even better, than there isn't a love triangle at all. Lovely review, Lauren!

  4. I still need to read this series Lauren!!!! I'm so far behind. Fail. I loved the VA series and Adrian in particular, though I agree with you that he was never right for Rose. I wasn't altogether upset when things ended badly for them, though I of course hated seeing him hurt. I love that he plays a much bigger role in this 4th book, and I simply can't wait to enjoy the progression of his and Sydney's relationship! *happy dance*

  5. Oh. My. Goodness. I cannot wait to read this book:) More Sydrian time, plenty of swoony moments; being inside Adrian's snarky head AND personal growth; answers to some of those pesky Strigoi questions that were barely touched on in The Indigo Spell? YESSSSS. It sounds like The Fiery Heart makes up for some of the gaps that bothered me in The Indigo Spell and that makes me very happy indeed! I am super excited--even though it has the dreaded cliffie! Thank goodness these books come about in a fairly rapid succession! Great review, L:))

  6. I find it extremely interesting that someone like Adrian can have feelings of inadequacy, but at the same time, I can totally see it happening. Mead did such a fantastic job with his character. He's perhaps her best to date.
    My copy is on its way and I can't wait to get my greedy little hands on it. Thank you so muh for writing a spoiler-free review. I knew I could rely on you, I haven't read any others.

  7. My book should be arriving any second. Despite that atrocious cover, I decided I needed a hard copy. So… the development we were predicting has come to pass???
    Not excited about Zoe and Jill, but SO excited to read this!!!

  8. Forever behind on these. lol I promised myself I would read Vampire Academy in December though! I need to know what everyone is talking about with these characters!

  9. We DO have the exact same thoughts! :) I was expecting that cliffy, too, and I had a feeling it would come in the form that it did, but I still wasn't prepared. Anyway, I love what you said about Adrian spouting those hyperbolic endearments and them never seeming cheesy. I guess it's because he's always been a bit over the top himself, but it just sounds natural coming from him. And even though we know he loved Rose, you can just tell this is the real deal with him: how patient he is with Sydney, how magnanimous he is when it comes to her little hang ups. I just adore Sydrian, and so I'm so fearful of what those "temptations" are in book 5. He can't come unglued now when Sydney needs him most!

  10. I started The Fiery Haert and got 10 pages into it before I had to put it down. I don't know, I think I'm getting a little tired of this world. It'll a 11 books in and I don't know how much I can take. I'm sticking it out for the Sydrian happily ever after, but...that's still a couple of more books away. I'm glad that TFH is good. That gives me something to look forward to.

  11. Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

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