Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir -the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir- is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty – a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning…
NOTE: So all of that in the synopsis could be a bit confusing (with the mention of dhampir, moroi, guardians, and protecters) but if you are interested in this series you may want to consider reading Richelle Mead’s previous series The Vampire Academy before this. There is a lot of background information in this novel so it’s not really required, but hey, a little intuition never hurt anyone. Though this story is all new, some old characters are woven into the story. Most of whom come from the other series.
As mentioned in my blogger’s note, this series vollies off of Mead’s debut series The Vampire Academy. That series is very good, also, but of the two sagas, this is my favorite. I also think the reason for this is that all of the vampire novels were becoming clichè. I love them as much as the next person while it lasted, but it was a short-lived fad. Anyhow, this is book was great. This novel is 421 pages but makes for a quick and easy read. Sydney is a smart, strong, and very sarcastic heroin who becomes somewhat of a motherly figure to her “siblings” once she ignores the differences between the Alchemists and the Vampires. She is very protective over Jill, not only because it is her job, but because she becomes close to Jill, eventually feeling as if Jill really is her sister. Syndey seems to make strong impressions and even stronger connections to those she meets. She comes to the realization of how big her previous mistakes are and she applies what she learns to the situation at hand. This is one of her main qualities, using her own faults to her advantage. This story is a perfect storm of danger, magic, and the power to work with anyone -or anything- when everything you know is at stake.