Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle MeadThe Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #6
Published by Razorbill on February 10, 2015
Pages: 348
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon


Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives.

Their forbidden romance exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s bestselling Bloodlines series.

When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, she and Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.

Don't miss their unforgettable final chapter...


Fair Warning: If you haven’t read the Bloodlines series, this review does contain mild (or major, depending on how you feel about it) spoilers. Don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled. You have been warned!

As a huge, huge, HUGE Richelle Mead fan, it pains me to say that this was my least favorite book in the Bloodlines series. So many questions were left unanswered and so many things were open-ended. I also didn’t feel the sense of closure I usually feel with Mead’s books. Someone said that Mead hinted at another potential spin-off… If I knew for sure that was happening, I don’t think I’d mind the ending of The Ruby Circle as much. But since it’s still unknown whether another spin-off will actually happen, I’ve got to base this review off the assumption that this is the end. And this was a pretty disappointing end.

Between the six Vampire Academy books and the six Bloodlines book, these characters have done a lot of growing and maturing. But in this final book, it felt like their character growth became stagnant. Sure, they had to “grow up” and take on immense responsibility. They still had to do some self-reflection and make tough decisions. But I didn’t feel like they developed much beyond that. Some of them even seemed to regress a little, which was disappointing. Some of them even seemed to act out of character at times, which was even more disappointing.

I expected there to be more psychological consequences for Sydney in this book, after everything she went through in Silver Shadows. There were some, but not as many as I thought there would be. She was still fierce and badass and, if I compared her present self with how she was in book one, she’s truly changed in remarkable ways. Even thinking back to her role in Vampire Academy, she’s changed so much. But still, something feels… incomplete… with her. And I can’t quite put my finger on what.

I’ve been rooting for Adrian since Vampire Academy, since I adored him and felt bad for him, but couldn’t help but still ship Rose and Dimitri. His character felt a bit disconnected in this book and he did a lot of sitting around or talking to the voice in his head. I just expected him to play a bigger role in this book. He’s one of the characters that I felt regressed a little bit.

Despite all that, I still had some Sydrian feels – not as many as in the previous books, but I still totally ship them like crazy.

I loved seeing Rose and Dimitri in this book, but I felt this weird disconnect from them for some reason. They didn’t feel like the characters I had grown to know and love from Vampire Academy. I’m very pleased with how their story, ended, though.

I wanted more of Lissa, Jill and Eddie. Their stories, more than some of the other characters, REALLY felt incomplete. Crystal and I were discussing it, and we’re wondering if Jill and Eddie will be the focus of the next potential spin-off, if it happens. I’d definitely be interested in that and I feel like, from their story, we would see more closure for them, Lissa and many others (Sonya, Rose, Dimitri, etc).

I also wanted more with Ms. Terwilliger. She kind of just dropped off the face of the earth after her and her coven helped with Alicia. I wanted to see some kind of closure-conversation with her and Sydney. Something, anything!

Considering this was the last book, I felt like many of the secondary plots were unnecessary and took away precious pages that could have gone towards taking care of the “unfinished business” I mentioned above. A lot of things felt like they were not relevant to the end game. The epilogue sort of made up for the rest of the book. There were some intriguing developments and fun character revelations. But I’m still a little disappointed in all the extra, seemingly unnecessary plots. I can’t stress this enough – I wanted more closure.

Overall, if I look back at all six books and think about how it began and how it ended, I’m pretty pleased with the series as a whole. As I mentioned earlier, all of the characters have come a long way. We’ve seen tremendous character growth in them and I’m mostly happy with where their stories ended in The Ruby Circle. I would definitely like to see another spin-off, though, and see some of that closure that The Ruby Circle was lacking. If you’re a Richelle Mead/Vampire Academy fan, you’ll likely love this book and you’ll be begging the Book Gods for more!


Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle MeadSilver Shadows by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #5
Published by Razorbill on July 29, 2014
Pages: 380
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

Fair Warning: If you haven’t read the Bloodlines series, this review does contain mild (or major, depending on how you feel about it) spoilers. Don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled. You have been warned!

As the penultimate book in the Bloodlines series, Silver Shadows had a big job – It had to entertain and stand on its own, but it also had to set up for the final, epic book. And it definitely did NOT disappoint! The books in this series have gradually shifted to darker, heavier plots. But Silver Shadows took a brutal, tragic turn. It put our beloved characters in terrifying, hopeless situations. Though the first half was a bit slow, the second half blew my mind! Silver Shadows had an epic plot, character’s we’ve come to love and the amazing writing that we’ve come to expect from Richelle Mead.

Poor Syndey. Our strong, fierce, Sydney went through hell in Silver Shadows – mentally, physically and emotionally. Most of my status updates while I was reading said just that, “Poor Sydney!” The things that Sydney went through would have cracked a normal person, but our girl stood strong in the face of psychological and bodily torture. She used thoughts of her friends, Adrian especially, to keep herself sane. Some of Sydney’s punishments were really hard to read. And with how long she endured them.. I don’t know how she kept her mind. And I know our girl is strong, but.. I’m definitely expecting some psychological consequences from everything she went through. We saw some at the end of Silver Shadows, but I’m guessing we’ll see more in The Ruby Circle.

As bad as Sydney’s situation was, I almost felt worse for Adrian. Adrian is strong, but Sydney makes him stronger, makes him a better person. Between the reason for her disappearance and the lack of her good influence, Adrian slipped back into old habits. And in a major, epically huge way. Between alcohol and spirit, Adrian let his old vices break him down and take him over. He spiraled so far down, I didn’t think he’d ever come out of it. I definitely breathed a sigh of relief once he and Sydney were reunited.

Despite Sydney and Adrian being apart for over half the book, my Sydrian feels were all over the place. Like.. Richelle Mead messed with our minds and our hearts in this one, more so than any other book in the series. She put our poor Sydrian through an epic, insane, crazy, emotional roller coaster!!! Basically, I got to a point where all my status updates were along the lines of, “Noooo!!!! Haven’t they suffered enough already?!?” and “!!!!!!” So, yeah… But then near the end of the book… OMG THE CRAZY SYDRIAN FEELS!!!!!

I really missed the Palm Springs crew in Silver Shadows. We didn’t see them for the majority of the book. They made small appearences, but I’ve come to love them so much, I really missed seeing the gang all together.

One of my favorite new characters was Duncan. I really liked him a lot, right from the beginning, though I was slow to trust him. I cringed every time Sydney confided too much in him, especially when it came to her thoughts and feelings on Adrian. I was always waiting for Duncan to turn on her. I’m hoping we see a bit more of him in The Ruby Circle, but based on how Silver Shadows ended and the description of The Ruby Circle, I doubt it. I was also very leery of Sydney’s roommate, Emma. Some of the things Sydney said and did in front of her just seemed reckless. And just in general, I couldn’t stand any of the Alchemists, be they the ones in Re-education or the ones in charge of Re-education. But I especially couldn’t stand Sheridan and Harrison. I really, really wanted to punch the crap out of both of them.

This whole book was intense, but the end was ridiculous!!! I seriously wanted to pick up The Ruby Circle right away but, alas, I have to be responsible and read some review books first! *Sobs!!* But the first chance I get, I’m absolutely reading it! Because that ending… *Cue epic fangirling.*

Overall, obviously, I loved Silver Shadows. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Richelle Mead book I don’t like and I don’t think I ever will. She’s an amazing writer and I love this world and these characters so much! I definitely, highly recommend this book and this series and everything Richelle Mead has ever written.. Or will write in the future.. Okay? Okay. *Hugs Adrian*


Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle MeadThe Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #4
Published by Razorbill on November 19, 2013
Pages: 420
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives.

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 smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

I’m a huge Richelle Mead fan. I’ve loved all of her series’ – Vampire Academy, Georgina Kincaid, Bloodlines, and Dark Swan – so it should come as no surprise that I absolutely loved this book. The writing, the plot, the characters, Sydrian – everything about this book had me dying to read it. And, though it had a few hiccups, it definitely didn’t dissapoint!

Sydney has come such a long way since since we were first introduced to her. To be honest, it’s been so long since I read the Vampire Academy books, I had kind of forgot who Sydney was when I first picked up Bloodlines. It slowly came back to me, though and now I’m at a point where I’d love to re-read Blood Promise and Bloodlines just to see what she was like then versus now. She’s always been a very strong, independent and capable character, but she’s really come into her own and become even stronger. She thinks for herself and she’s a very logical, practical person. She doesn’t do anything without thinking about the potential consequences and she almost always has a Plan B on hand, just in case. Her predicament at the end of The Fiery Heart was horrible and sad and terrifying, but I know Sydney is strong and she’ll get through it.

When we first met Adrian in Vampire Academy, he was… very different… than he is now. Because I shipped Rose and Dimitri, above and beyond all else, he was an obstacle to that and, therefore, I didn’t appreciate him as much as I should have. Yet I’ve always adored him. There was always a small part of me that wanted him and Rose together, just so Adrian wouldn’t have his heart broken. And then Sydney came along. And the rest is history. As much as Sydney has changed, I think Adrian has grown the most of any character in this series. It took a long time, but his personality has done a complete 180. He deserves happiness, so my heart broke into a million pieces for him at the end of The Fiery Heart. Adrian is strong and he’s already survived so much… I know he’ll survive this; I just hope he doesn’t fall into his old, bad habits between now and then.

As I’ve already briefly mentioned, I adore Sydrian (Sydney + Adrian = Sydrian, in case you didn’t know). Honestly, with so many fictional couples out there, you’d think it would be hard to narrow down my favorite. But I’m 98% sure my OTP is Sydrian. They’re complete opposites, yet they complement each other so perfectly, they’re like two side of the same coin, yin and yang, PB and J… Okay, I’m getting ridiculous now.. But hopefully you get the picture! I’m sure Sydrian will prevail in the end. Because, well… There’s no other option. They MUST prevail or my feels will be broken.

I wanted to like Zoe. I really did. I kept hoping she would change, just as Sydney kept hoping. It seemed like it might happen a few times, but then something would drag Zoe back into the claws of the Alchemists. And, of course, in the end… Ugh, I can’t even talk about it cause I’ll end up punching something. Zoe was such a brat… Grrr! I still have my fingers crossed she’ll come to her senses between the beginning of Silver Shadows and the end of The Ruby Circle, but I’m not getting my hopes up. And let’s not even talk about Sydney and Zoe’s father.. Not even going there.. Nope.

Of course, I adore the whole Palm Springs crew – Jill, Angeline, Eddie, Ms. Terwilliger, Trey, even Neil. Richelle Mead is amazing at creating well-rounded and beloved secondary and tertiary characters. And I LOVED seeing Rose, Dimitri, Lissa and Sonya. The Vampire Academy books were one of my first Post-Twilight Vampire Book Reads and they’re very close to my heart. Also, I read Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series first and loved it beyond words, so of course I jumped on board when she wrote a YA vampire book! The characters of Vampire Academy will always have a place in my heart and I love seeing them again in Bloodlines. I have no idea what I’ll do once I finish Bloodlines and we’re done with this incredible world Mead has created.. I’ll cry a lot, I think.

Unfortunately (and this is rare for me when reading a Richelle Mead book, so this is difficult for me..) I did have some issues with this book. First of all, it started off really slow. Like, painfully slow. I had a hard time getting into it. I don’t think it needed to be as long as it was, either. I also felt like it had Second Book Syndrome.. Except, well, it’s book four of the series. But it just kind of felt like filler to me, like it was only meant to bridge the gap from The Indigo Spell to Silver Shadows. I’m also VERY conflicted with the dual POV. On the one hand, I LOVED seeing inside Adrian’s head. I heart him so much, it was fun seeing things from his perspective. On the other hand, some of his chapters – more so in the beginning than the end – felt boring and unnecessary. It truly pains me to say that because, again, I heart Adrian and I ship Sydrian. But.. Just telling it like it is :(

The ending was pretty epic, though I’m not as shocked as some people were. I remember when The Fiery Heart first came out, I couldn’t read it right away but everyone who did was shocked and outraged and freaking out about the “major cliffhanger.” Everyone told me not to read The Fiery Heart until I had Silver Shadows in hand, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the cliffhanger. While the ending was crazy and very insane, I kind of saw it coming from a mile away, so I was prepared for it – at least, a little prepared. Though I was never spoiled on the ending, I just had this feeling that things were moving towards that conclusion, especially with how hard-core people freaked out. It had been hinted at enough times throughout the series and with how The Indigo Spell ended, I just had a sneaking suspicion that it was coming sooner rather than later. So though I’m still upset and dying to see how Sydney and Adrian get out of this mess, it didn’t destroy my feels as much as I thought it would.

Overall, I loved, loved, loved The Fiery Heart. Again, I adore Richelle Mead and everything she writes, so how could I not? Though the book felt slow and filler-ish, I still enjoyed the plot and being back in the VA/Bloodlines world. I love these characters more than anything; they feel so alive to me, I just want to see them get their happy ending already! I’m very excited to get to Silver Shadows, though I’m scared to read The Ruby Circle… *Gulps!* As for recommending this book.. Um, duh! I would highly recommend EVERY book that Richelle Mead HAS written and every book she WILL write. Period. End of story.