Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Title: Silver Shadows
Author: Richelle Mead
Narrator:  Emily Shaffer, Alden Ford
Series: Bloodlines, book #5
Length:  10 hrs 41 mins
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Source: borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

When you get to this point in a series, it gets increasingly more difficult to review a book without spoilers. Also, it's all relative. What one person considers a spoiler may not matter to the next person. I didn't provide any major plot details below, but as always, you should read at your own risk if you've yet to read this installment.

In The Fiery Heart, Mead finally did what all of us had been expecting for awhile based on our experiences with her previous books. She gave us what we wanted and then took it away, as she is wont to do. The Bloodlines series is actually the third of Mead's that I've undertaken, and it might just be my favorite. And not just because of the Sydrian romance, though that is definitely a big part of it. Yes, you can see some patterns among the different series; you know that she's going to separate the beloved couple and wreak havoc on the lives of everyone involved, but she manages to do so without her tactics becoming stale and predictable.

I loved Rose and Dimitri in the Vampire Academy books, but they were extremely compatible, with the same sense of duty and honor. The only thing that really kept them apart, besides Dimitri turning Strigoi, was the fact that he was several years older and also her mentor and tutor. With Sydney and Adrian, though, there are so many more complications from a relationship, which is why Sydney fought her feelings for Adrian so adamantly. She's an Alchemist and he's a Moroi...one of the good vampires. They're not exactly enemies, especially as the Alchemist's primary mission is to keep the Moroi's existence a secret from humans, but neither is a relationship -- friends or otherwise -- simply frowned upon. No, it's flat-out not allowed...by the Alchemists or the Moroi. Which is why Sydney and Adrian kept their relationship a secret for as long as they could.

Until someone close to them betrayed them to the Alchemists. Which landed Sydney in a rehabilitation camp, not unlike the one Keith was sent to earlier in the series for his crimes against the Alchemists. And if you've read the previous books, you know that didn't turn out so well for Keith. The Alchemists resort to all methods of torture to rehabilitate their wayward agents, and when all else fails, a full re-inking is their last option, one that leaves the Alchemist traitor resembling something closer to a robot than a human being. If Sydney isn't careful, the same could be her fate.

Lucky for her, though, Adrian's not going to give up on finding her. He does lose track of himself, letting his depression and feelings of inadequacy lead him astray for a time, but his thoughts are never far from Sydney. I love that we got to see some dream-walking again (finally) and that Sydney got to use some of the magic she'd been practicing, that the Sydney Sage we knew and loved way back in VA is still alive and kicking. And she's not going to take this rehabilitation thing lying down. Sydney's a strategist, the girl with the plan, and even though she knows Adrian is out there doing everything he possibly can to help her, she knows she cannot rely on that hope alone.

But just rescuing Sydney from the Alchemists won't be enough to keep her safe, so Adrian does something so completely out of character, so crazy that I never even considered it within the realm of possibility until now. Though, if you've been reading the series, you'll understand that it's not that unbelievable that he'd do something like this. And now that we've come to know the lengths that the Alchemists will go to in order to further their own agenda, it isn't all that surprising that they would retaliate because of Sydney's escape and the subsequent aftermath.

This book had such a different feel from previous books in the series. Still the same old cliffhanger, still action-packed, still full of the antics of one Adrian Ivashkov. And yet this book was just MORE. More daring. More intense. More to the point. I'm surprised by how much I loved this installment but at the same time, I'm not. With VA, I found myself growing weary by the fifth book, more than ready for Rose and Dimitri to get their happy ending. But with these books, I'm just curious to see what craziness Richelle Mead has in store for us next.

I've listened to both the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books on audio, so I'm more than familiar with Emily Shaffer and how she voices some of my favorite characters. I'm exceptionally pleased that Mead went the dual POV route, though, with this series after the first couple of books so that we could get a male narrator for Adrian's perspective. I guess because he's Moroi royalty, Shaffer always affected a slightly English accent for Adrian, which wasn't bad, but it also seemed unnecessary, especially when Neil came along and really was English. It doesn't matter now, though, because Alden Ford owns Adrian. Ford as Adrian is cocky and self-assured, but he also capitalizes on Adrian's self-doubt and failings in order to gain sympathy for the character. He's kind of perfect for the part, as is Shaffer as Sydney. If you haven't started the series yet, I highly recommend trying out the audio, though the fact that Mead manages to give both Adrian and Sydney very distinctive voices means you'll have no trouble keeping the perspectives separate if you read the text.

GIF it to me straight:
Some serious shockers in this installment but some serious Sydrian feels, too.

Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2)The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)

About the author:

Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

Find Richelle:

Website | TwitterFacebookGoodreads


  1. Loved the audio for this! Emily and Adrian kicked ass! This is the first YA book by Richelle Mead that I've heard on audio (I've heard her Georgina Kincaid on audio, love it!) and I really liked it. I'm so happy they had two narrators. Definitely going to listen to the audio for the next book.

  2. I think The Fiery Heart is still my favorite of this series, but I love the direction this one took. Okay, so the first 40% made me seriously angry with Adrian, but after that I couldn't put the book down. So much was going on, and my OTP were being freaking perfect, and Sydney just kept on amazing me. I can't believe there's only one book left!

  3. You are so totally right--I was surprised by what he did, but then it made so much sense and felt right, too! And it really was in keeping with his character, hah. I like your observation about the difference between the Dimitri/Rose relationship and Sydrian, too--it really doesn't seem like they'd work on paper, but I really like how Mead's convinced me that they do. Glad you loved it! Can't wait for the last book.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


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