The Fiery Heart – by Richelle Mead
Oh yes, the fourth book in Mead’s fantastic Bloodlines spinoff series is finally here! I went in to this book with high expectations, since I really enjoy Mead’s work in general (for example, Gameboard of the Gods, and The Indigo Spell). I’m really invested in Sydney and Adrian’s story now – as are we all – and I was counting on Mead to deliver a cracker of an installment. Here’s how I thought she did:
Sydney and Adrian have come a long way since they were first forced to work together. No longer is Sydney the standoffish, distrustful Alchemist, and no longer is Adrian the dissolute, oft-drunk mess he once was. Well, mostly, anyway. Truth be told, they’re been more than tolerating each other for a long time, now.
Oh, Sydrian. I love ’em. And they’re finally getting it right. Which is a good thing – because they’re facing a whole lot of problems that they can’t fix alone. In fact, they might not even be able to fix them together.
For starters, Syd’s sister Zoe has arrived to learn all she can from her big sis about being a model Alchemist. Which definitely doesn’t mesh well with Sydney’s magic lessons with Ms Terwilliger, or Sydney’s research into the secrets of the Alchemists, including the mysteries of their golden lily tattoos. Oh – and if Sydney’s true relationship with Adrian is discovered by the wrong people, she’s facing far more trouble than a grounding. The stakes (heh, couldn’t resist) are higher than ever.
Richelle Mead knows these characters so well by now that I feel like I do too. It’s a pleasure to get pulled back in to this world, to be happy for and worried about these people. I really admire the way Mead’s handling Sydney and Adrian’s relationship – it’s not a fairytale! Nor should it be. There’s no magic happily ever after here. There’s love, and fun, and hard times, and working at it every day. Such a refreshing view of a real partnership! (I will say, though, that it got just a tad sappy for me at times – what did you think?)
The sense of menace underpinning this book was what really sold The Fiery Heart for me. The creeping feeling that something big is happening pervades the story, which kept me just slightly on edge. The creep really ramps up during the second half of the book, and I definitely won’t be the only fan who already CANNOT WAIT to find out what ON EARTH is going to happen next.
Ahem. Excuse me for getting a bit yelly there. What can I say? This series does that to me! If it doesn’t do the same to you, I don’t understand you but at all!
So, have you read The Fiery Heart yet?? If not, what are you doing here? Go read! If so: what’d you think?
And a couple of bonus questions, if you’ll indulge me: have you read the Vampire Academy series? Did you read it before Bloodlines or after? Did it change how you felt about the characters? So many things to talk about!