(no spoilers; some complaints)
Bloodlines is the first novel in the spin-off series to Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy.
To begin with, check out these bland photo models:
Some might prefer the simple, iconic design of, say, a Twilight cover. Let me summarise my further thoughts about this cover—particularly the series logo (also the title of the book here)—in a randomly ordered list of keywords:
drunken sailor’s tattoo
rose on a 1990s velvet choker
gothic’s favourite font
Ahem. The events of the story pick up soon after Vampire Academy left off. Bloodlines is narrated by the young alchemist Sydney, who is sent back to school for an undercover assignment (21 Jump Street style, as one beloved character points out): to protect a young Moroi vampire from rebels who want to kill her in order to disrupt the current elected-monarch’s reign.
Sydney has been brought up in a cage of her own alchemist repression, prejudice, and naiveté, which makes her fascinating in her own way. But it’s hard not to miss the hilarious, passionate Rose. Luckily Adrian has a starring role, and he is a breath of fresh—cheeky, depressing, dramatic—air.
Like the narrator, the plot is not as exciting as that of its Vampire Academy predecessors. Think more school bullying and dates and much less violence, sex, and adventure. Knowledge of the previous books also makes many of the big reveals in Bloodlines far too predictable, though towards the end the pace finally gets cracking and the twists get more twisty.
To sum up: cover, narrator, plot: not great. Having said that, I chewed through this book in about a day and will probably continue with the series. These things are like crack.