I am the first one to say that I love the Vampire Academy novels. In fact, right after reading The Golden Lily, I had to reread the original series (which I just finished).
I'm finding myself not happy with this Bloodlines series. I mean I love that we get more Adrian and Jill and Eddie. My problem lies more in the narrator-- Sydney is dull. Rose was so dynamic with her colorful language and snarky witticisms. The relationship between Dimitri and Rose was swoon worthy and probably the most romantic pairing since Buffy and Angel. I know that Adrian deserves his happily ever after, but with Sydney? I just don't see it and to me it feels forced.
So let me just go into what I didn't like. The storyline goes nowhere. It took a lot of pages to get to the finale scene which was just made me scream (in my head) WTF! I adore Richelle's writing and Vampire Academy is so tightly plotted and written so damn well, that this series seems like a completely different writer is writing it. Where are my clues that were sprinkled in VA? Where is the underlying passion and greatness that I have come to adore in Mead's writing?
So what did I like about it: Angeline. We first meet her in Last Sacrifice (the final VA book), where she lives in the mountains with The Keepers. A ragtag bunch of vampires and Dhampirs and human who commune together in harmony. Angeline has spunk and her besottedness with Eddie is fun to watch. Eddie Castile. Ever since Frostbite, I have adored this character. He's strong willed, he's a good friend to Rose and he adores Jill (The Queen's illegitimate sister). Jill can be annoying at time. I know that she's learning all about being royalty as it was thrust upon her. Plus having your life constantly in danger should make you a more exciting character, but she's not. You know who is missing from this series? Mia Rinaldi. I like Angeline, but Mia would work well especially as possibly a rival to Adrian's affection from Sydney. There needs to be some conflict and Syd being an alchemist just doesn't bring the fervor.
Adrian Ivashkov deserves his own paragraph. Adrian is still smarting from Rose's deception and defection of her heart to her one true love, Dimitri Belikov. What makes matters even worse? Dimitri is in this whole book with another strigoi turned back, Sonya Karp. They are trying to find out the secrets of turning back from Strigoi and long-term effects of spirit. So Adrian and Dimitri are in close contact often and the turn of events are funny and sometimes sad. However, snarky Adrian is always fun. Drunk and smoking Adrian is hilarious.
Even Adrian can't help this installment. I'm pretty invested in the series so I'm definitely interested to see where she's going with it (let's hope not 6 books), and I'd like to see everyone happy. I know Rose' story is done, but I'd like to see her back (even if she was briefly in Bloodlines).
I know that there will be people who won't agree with my assessment of The Golden Lily. I tried to love this book, but came away with a half-assed infatuation of it.