Book Review: Silver Shadows (Richelle Mead)

silvershadows

Sydney Sage is kept captive by the people she’s devoted her life to – the Alchemists, an ancient society sworn to keep the Vampire population hidden from the human race. Sydney, who was raised an Alchemist by her strict and domineering father, did the one thing the Alchemists find truly unforgivable – she fell in love with Moroi Vampire Adrian Ivashkov. Her sister betrayed her and Sydney was taken to reeducation – a place where Alchemists are kept and “persuaded” to become “good” again.

As months pass, Sydney knows she needs to at least pretend to bend in her beliefs. She is introduced into the group life stage of reeducation, where she meets other Alchemists in the same position as her. At first they all treat her life a pariah, but slowly Sydney gets included and manages to make a few friends.

Adrian Ivashkov is meanwhile working hard to find Sydney. He is already unstable due to his Spirit abilities – a magical element that makes him see people’s auras and visit dreams, but Sydney’s disappearance has driven him even further into destructive behavior. He is aided by Marcus, a rouge Alchemist who has contacts all over the world and also wants to see Sydney safe. Even though Jill Dragomir, the only living relative to Queen Vasalisa Dragomir, is the one who needs to be kept under constant protection, she insists that two of her Guardians help save Lissa should they find a lead.

Sydney discovers the reason Adrian hasn’t been able to visit her in her dreams – she and her fellow inmates are being drugged with gas each night and Adrian can’t penetrate it. She employs the help of her newfound friends to stop the gas flow, enabling Adrian to visit her. It gives them both hope to see each other again, but it is still frustrating because Sydney has no idea where she is based.

Through meticulous work Marcus finally finds venues where Sydney could possibly be based, but Adrian has to resort to visiting other detainees in their dreams for information when Sydney gets caught using magic.

Can Adrian, Marcus and Eddie save Sydney? How will they possibly stay away from recapture? What psychological scars does Sydney carry from her incarceration time? Is Jill as safe as she believes she is? What will the Moroi royal court do when they finally learn Adrian is in love with a human?

Rating: 6.5/10

I’ve been following this series from the beginning rather religiously, and after each new release would mope when I the book was finished – the series always had a few books outstanding. I kept off reading Silver Shadows with the idea to leave it until closer to the time for the last book of the series, Ruby Circle. I think RC is being released early next month so I managed quite well!

I enjoyed Silver Shadows. It is written in first person with sections dedicated to Sydney and Adrian – essential, so you can have a look at Sydney’s captivity and the budding rescue mission. Sydney’s capture was beginning to feel long, as were her many setbacks and determination to not shut up – something I respect but there is a time and place for everything, you know?

The love story is completely ridiculous – the extremely sciency good girl falls for a borderline alcoholic with mental problems. Okay, maybe that has happened, but I think in the long run two such extremes won’t make the world’s most stable couple. I like both Adrian and Sydney – neither is overly whiney or childish and they don’t have the frustrating petulance often found in YA.

The book is decently written, especially compared to other YA books out there. It is miles better than Vampire Academy, the series on which Bloodlines stems from, and I think Mead has genuinely grown as a writer.

If you look beneath the frothy vampire story you might find what I did – these books are about social injustice and I even want to say racism – the class systems used in these books are unfair and based solely on race.

This is a fun series, but don’t expect the world’s tightest plot and superb writing though. (And I can’t wait for the next one!)

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