A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Fiery Heart is the fifth book in Richelle Mead's bestselling Bloodlines series. It's considerably more romantic than earlier installments and by far the steamiest of the franchise, with frequent mentions of a mature couple's physical and eventually sexual relationship. The violence is less pronounced here than in others in the Vampire Academy universe, but characters are injured, hurt, ambushed, and kidnapped. The adult language is on par with Mead's other novels, with the occasional "s--t," "a--hole," and "bulls--t" thrown into the dialogue. Anyone familiar with the previous books in the series should expect many of the same themes: forbidden love, discrimination, honor, duty, friendship, and choosing between what you're told and what you believe is right.
What's the story?
In The Indigo Spell, our favorite alchemist Sydney Sage finally admitted her undeniable love of vampire Adrian Ivashkov, only to discover that her by-the-book sister, Zoe, would now be living with her at Amberwood Academy. THE FIERY HEART explores how Sydney and Adrian meet covertly to stay together despite Zoe's presence. As Sydney and Adrian get lost in each other, things around them start to get incredibly dangerous for the star-crossed lovers. Sydney fully accepts her use of magic and begins to search for a way to create a tattoo that will ward off Strigoi vampire attacks. Also, Adrian comes to terms with the fact that his manipulation of spirit could have powerful implications. Add the ever-present threat of Strigoi vampire attacks, several romantic subplots, and Sydney's family troubles, and you have the soapiest Bloodlines plot to date.
Is it any good?
Attention, Bloodlines fans waiting for the steamy romance: Richelle Mead has answered your calls for more swoony moments. There's barely a chapter in the book that doesn't refer to Sydney and Adrian's love, from their text messages via a secret "Love Phone" to their many heavy makeout (and more) sessions, to their poetic declarations of neverending loyalty and commitment. But, as Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet, "these violent delights have violent ends," and the possibility of violence is what makes Adrian and Sydney's love a questionable proposition -- at least until the final book of the series.
Some of the likable secondary characters from previous books take a backseat to all the romance, but they're still there dealing with their own unrequited infatuations and entanglements, such as vampire princess Jill, her steadfast guardian Eddie, and the unpredictable dhampir Angeline, who pretends to like English guardian Neil but is actually quite taken with Sydney's friend Trey. Although Mead's clearly quite adept at writing about romantic chemistry, readers who appreciate Sydney's more bookish personality may be slightly disappointed that she's more likely to wax poetic about Adrian's body than ancient civilizations, philosophy, or even cars, as she's done in previous installments. Let's hope there's more of a balance between the mind and the body in the next book.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the author's decision to split the point of view between Sydney and Adrian. Do you agree with the addition of the second perspective? How does it change the Bloodlines series?
Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series is being made into a movie. Do you think Bloodlines would also make a good film prospect, or do you prefer to keep your favorite books on the page instead of on the screen?
What do you think of the way sexuality is depicted? Is it in keeping with the characters' personalities? Is it appropriate or over the top?
- Author: Richelle Mead
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
- Publication date: November 19, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 438
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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