Publisher: Penguin Young Readers
Review source: Library
Reviewed by: Kathy Davie
Series: Bloodlines, 3
Third in the Bloodlines urban fantasy series for Young Adults and revolving around Sydney Sage, a young Alchemist, slowly loosening-up. Based at a boarding school in Palm Springs.
It's a slow eroding of the values instilled in Sydney, finally putting her intelligence to use along with her morals. And it's Sydney's problem that she has an extra set of skills Ms. Terwilliger is determined to hone.
I dislike Sydney less in this story---she's starting to think for herself, becoming more flexible. Although, I still prefer just about everyone else in this series. She's such a rigid little dimwit for all her intelligence. And I get so tired of her whining…
Some of the events in this are rather childish: the dare to prove yourself? How middle school. Their secret undercover mission doesn't fare too well with all the screw-ups. For all Sydney and Adrian's smarts, they're amazingly ignorant.
My biggest problem with this story is how juvenile it is. And, I guess it's also very attuned to the high school mentality, which is Mead's target audience. So I'm having a difficult time separating myself out from my older expectations. On the other hand, there are Young Adult stories out there in which the characters aren't this untried (seems a fair word to use). I mostly read it to keep up with Rose and Dimitri and I do adore Adrian.
And just when Sydney thinks she has it all together...
Sydney's rejection of Adrian in The Golden Lily, 2, is haunting Sydney, that and the questions that have been arising about the Alchemists. Worse, Ms. Terwilliger is becoming more insistent on learning magic!
But it's Sonya and Mikhail's wedding that showcase the differences between Sydney and the other Alchemists. When Sydney learns of a rogue Alchemist, who doesn't exist, well, that's the end of blind faith.
The socially clueless Sydney Sage (Melrose/Melbourne are her u/c names) is an Alchemist undercover as a student with the mission to keep Jill from being assassinated. She does have some human traits: an obsession with coffee, she's in love with Adrian's Mustang, and she's a bit OCD. Carly is her older sister; Zoe is the younger one who is so angry with Sydney for cutting her out of the mission. Jared Sage is her father; a cold, calculating man whom the Alchemists highly respect.
Ms. Jaclyn Terwilliger is Sydney's history teacher who is sneakily teaching her magic—a class that still infuriates Sydney because magic is evil! Veronica Terwilliger is her older sister working in the blackest of magics.
Adrian Ivashkov, a spirit using Moroi, is in love with Sydney; he's part of their group because he and Jill formed a bond when he brought her back.
Jill Mastrano Dragomir is the queen's Moroi sister and Lissa's only remaining family. She is hiding out at Amberwood Prep, a private boarding school, with the help of the Alchemists and Queen Vasilisa Dragomir. (Christian Ozera is still Lissa's boyfriend.) Neil Raymond joins the bodyguarding detail at the end. Eddie Castile is her assigned dhampir bodyguard also undercover as a student attending classes and trying to put his love for her behind him by dating Angeline Dawes (McCormick is her u/c name), who is an uncivilized Keeper undercover is Jill's roommate and additional security,
Fellow students include Trey Juarez, a fellow senior, football star, brainy, and friends with Sydney who's not too sure where his allegiances lie anymore; Micah is a human classmate who dated Jill at one point; Kristin Sawyer and Julia Cavendish are friends with Sydney; and, Brayden is an extremely intelligent but selfish non-Amberwood student who isn't dating Sydney because of her issues.
Sonya Karp is a Moroi marrying Mikhail Tanner, a dhampir! Abe Mazur is colorfully present. Shockingly, Rose Hathaway is a bridesmaid(!), so naturally Dimitri Belikov is at the wedding as well.
The Alchemists include Donna Stanton is Sydney's immediate supervisor and extremely close-mouthed. The extremely bigoted Ian Jansen still has a crush on Sydney. Zebulon Jameson is an official with the Warriors of Light.
Marcus and his Merry Men
Marcus Finch is a major question for Sydney. Rumors of his having been an Alchemist, his aiding Clarence, interacting with the Warriors of Light. Too many questions only to find he's a dissident and wants Sydney to join them. Lots of talk, not much action. Sabrina is Marcus' friend and undercover with the Warriors of Light. Amelia and Wade are additional dissidents from the Alchemists.
People encountered on the hunt for Veronica include:
Alicia, who is the receptionist at the B&B where the locator spell placed Veronica and Wendy Stone and Lynne Titus who are some of those who fit the profile of the targeted victims.
The Palm Springs cast includes:
Mrs. Desiree Weathers is the dorm matron for the girls. Lia DiStefano is a fashion designer who still wants Jill to come model for her. Not the best idea for a teen in hiding from assassins. Malachi Wolfe is the eccentric self-defense instructor who helps Sydney and Adrian. Clarence Donahue is an old Moroi who lives in Palm Springs and provides the gang with a refuge.
The Alchemists are an organization dedicated to keeping mankind from learning about the Moroi or the Strigoi. Hierophants are the Alchemist priests. The Moroi are the good vampires, living their lives and working hard to avoid the Strigoi, the bad vampires. The Keepers are a secret group of Moroi, dhampirs, and humans who live in hiding in the backwoods---with all the stereotypes that entails! They do not adhere to the regular Moroi strictures about no fraternization. The Warriors of Light are a group that split from the Alchemists back in the Renaissance and their agenda is destruction. Callistanas are a type of minor and benign demon.
It's a grim cover in grays and a blackish purple background with Sydney in the middle between Marcus and Adrian. A carved, silver font focuses on The Indigo Spell which is surrounded by ghostly looking morning glories.
The title is held out as a hope to Sydney, for The Indigo Spell may set her free.