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 Golden Lily is the second installment in author Richelle Mead's best-selling Vampire Academy spin-off, Bloodlines. Featuring Sydney Sage, a smart and self-sacrificing heroine, this sequel has a bit more romance (flirting, dating and a few kisses, one of which is passionate) than its predecessor but still not nearly the swoon-worthy levels seen in similar YA books. The language is pretty standard for teen lit (a few uses of "s--t" and "a--hole" and their variations), and the violence is revolves around a couple of scenes that include a kidnapping and a brawl where guns, clubs, knives, and even magical spells are used. Like the first book, The Golden Lily follows a strong and unapolegetically intellectual female protagonist.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Picking up soon after Bloodlines let off, THE GOLDEN LILY finds 18-year-old Alchemist Sydney Sage continuing her undercover assignment to protect Jill Dragomir, the Moroi vampire queen's younger sister who's hiding at a Palm Springs boarding school. Trey, Sydney's one pal at school, sets her up with his coffee-shop colleague Brayden, a genius she timidly starts to date. Meanwhile, Adrian gets closer to Sydney, who can't figure out why she prefers spending time with him more than her new boyfriend. As Sydney keeps questioning her emotional involvement with the vampires and half-vampires she's just supposed to be guarding, an enigmatic group kidnaps a vampire in her midst.
Is it any good?
Readers familiar with multi-book series know that not all installments are equally compelling -- yet this sequel is even more interesting than the original. A character study of Sydney, the intellectual and brave protagonist with an endearing streak of social awkwardness, The Golden Lily not only hilariously explores her baby steps into a first dating relationship but also delves into interesting subplots about a mysterious order of vampire slayers, the frosty relationship between teens and parents (human and non-human), and the use of magic to ward against (or at times aid) paranormal creatures.
Readers patiently waiting for romance are rewarded with a sizzling chemistry between Sydney and the irresistibly charming vamp, Adrian Ishakov. While Sydney questions ambivalent feelings toward her genius "boyfriend," it's obvious to everyone around her that she and Adrian are ridiculously into each other. Author Richelle Mead does an excellent job of examining how sometimes the smartest girls are also the most naive when it comes to understanding their love lives. This is no Twilight: The character development (so far) comes before the swoon-worthy scenes, and that's a good thing. But for those who care, there's one knee-weakening kiss that's definitely worth the wait.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the continuing popularity of paranormal adventures. Do you think the Twilight movies and the Vampire Diaries TV show are responsible for all of these teen-targeted paranormal franchises?
Do you prefer slow-burning, friends-to-more romances, like the buildup between Sydney and Adrian, or fiery, love-at-first-sight romance? Is the author downplaying the romance in this series?
What distinguishes this series from the Vampire Academy franchise? How is Sydney a different protagonist from Rose? Do you think Rose will eventually make an appearance?
- Author: Richelle Mead
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Book Characters, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Razorbill
- Publication date: June 12, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 418
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.