Bloodlines (Mead novel)
Cover of Bloodlines
|Cover artist||Emilian Gregory
|Publication date||August 23, 2011|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)
|Preceded by||Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice|
|Followed by||The Golden Lily|
Bloodlines is the first book in the spin-off series of the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. It follows the story of narrator Sydney Sage, the alchemist who helped Rose in Blood Promise, Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice.
The book was released on August 23, 2011.
After helping rogue Dhampir Rose Hathaway evade justice, Sydney Sage's situation with the Alchemists is shaky at best. Her career is jeopardized, to the point where she may have to undergo re-education. Woken in the middle of the night, Sydney is given a last chance: to pose as the older sister of Jill Dragomir (illegitimate sister of the Queen Vasilisa) at a boarding school in Palm Springs, California. Jill is being hidden away from dissident Moroi who want to kill her to end the queen's rule, and a recent attack on Jill at the court has convinced several higher-ups that hiding her in a sunny location is the best way to keep her safe – and keep the queen on the throne. Jill is accompanied by Eddie Castile, a Dhampir who, like Sydney, is still in serious trouble from helping Rose. Tagging along is Adrian Ivashkov, a royal and spirit-user who is taking a break from life at the vampire court.
Sydney thrusts herself into the job to prevent her younger sister Zoe from being pulled into the Alchemist world (as well as to keep Zoe away from Keith, the Alchemist in charge of the Palm Springs area, who has a history with Sydney's family). Keith is insistent that Zoe take the mission, but Sydney succeeds in convincing the other Alchemists that she is better prepared. However, her sister takes Sydney's words as an affront, believing she is capable of joining the Alchemists, and leaves Sydney on a sour note. Adrian, Eddie, and Sydney accompany Jill to the private school, posing as her siblings. Adrian is stationed in the house of a local Moroi, Clarence Donahue, an older vampire who lives with his college-age son Lee. Clarence is obsessed with 'vampire-hunters', claiming that they killed his niece, Tamara.
The students at the school become infatuated with Sydney's Alchemist tattoo, asking her what "powers" it gave her and where she got it, making her curious. During a history class, she meets the teacher's aide, Trey, who is on the football team. All his teammates (excluding him) have been getting tattoos at a place called Nevermore to enhance their sports performance. Sydney gathers information about the 'rare' metallic tattoos and understands why students are so interested in hers. Tattoos called "steel", made using silver, grant enhanced strength and speed, and bronze-colored "celestial" tattoos imbue a feeling of euphoria. Because the tattoos wear off quickly (lasting from several days to a couple of weeks), they have to be continuously touched-up and lead to addictions. Sydney makes the connection that those tattoos and the gold tattoos used by Alchemists were made using the same procedure (but with different effects, as Sydney's restrains her from telling humans of vampires). Jill catches the attention of a senior named Micah, worrying Sydney. Sydney asks Eddie and Adrian to help persuade Micah and Jill to avoid a relationship, but becomes infuriated when Eddie disagrees. Talking to Lee, Sydney and Adrian 'set' Jill up with him – but despite her interest in Lee, Jill is upset with Sydney interfering in her love life. The group goes mini-golfing, and Sydney is freaked out when Jill (a water-user) uses magic on a waterfall.
Sydney is awoken in the middle of the night by Jill asking her to go find Adrian, claiming he's stuck at an apartment with two Moroi women in Long Beach, unable to get home. After Sydney wonders how Jill was able to sense Adrian's moods and actions, Jill admits the truth – she has become bonded to Adrian. During the attack on the vampire court, Jill had actually been killed, and only Adrian's spirit magic had saved her. Sydney, angered now that she knows the extent to which Adrian's actions have caused trouble for Jill (Adrian's hangover on Jill's first day at school had transferred across the bond, and she has had several nightmares caused by his nighttime excursions), goes to Long Beach to find him. Arriving at the apartment, Sydney berates Adrian, whose only excuse is that being at Clarence's house alone is driving him crazy. As they prepare to leave the apartment, the women receive a phone call that a Moroi friend of theirs has been killed – and the attack is identical to the story Clarence told about the death of his niece.
Because Sydney already knows all the languages the school offers, she is excused from her last class period and spends the time helping out a teacher. The teacher is writing a book, and Sydney offers to help with notes, typing, and coffee runs. Her first task to is to read and summarize an old Latin book about magic. While later visiting Adrian, Sydney finds herself near Nevermore, and she breaks in while Adrian distracts the tattoo artist. She discovers vials of vampire blood and metallic residues, along with a clear liquid she's unable to place. Sydney offers to help Adrian find a job, so that he can move out of Clarence's house, but is infuriated when he intentionally fails several interviews. Sydney returns to school to find that Jill has disappeared. Eventually, Sydney and Eddie realize that she has left campus to go on a second date with Lee. Sydney berates Jill and Eddie for not taking the mission seriously, pointing out that she's spending a great deal of her time looking after all of the Moroi while trying to stay in the Alchemists' good graces. Unfortunately, Keith has been making several negative reports about Sydney's performance, and her father calls that evening to let her know that she is being recalled, and Zoe is being rushed into training – Keith has succeeded in convincing other Alchemists that Sydney is too friendly with the Moroi and Dhampirs to properly serve the Alchemists.
Unable to find a job that suits him, Adrian asks Sydney to help him instead get into a local college, hoping that he will be able to find a place to live with the help of financial aid. In return for connecting Sydney with an acquaintance at the college's admissions office, Sydney's teacher asks her to make a charm from the Latin book – a small amulet that would burst into flame when a certain phrase was chanted. When the teacher refuses the amulet (only wanting to know whether the procedure was possible to follow) Sydney keeps it in her purse. Sydney revisits Nevermore and the receptionist reveals that another Alchemist has been providing the supplies for the special tattoos. Adrian calls her over to Clarence's house and shows Sydney a needle mark on his neck. Sydney realizes that Keith has been siphoning blood and saliva from Clarence and selling it to Nevermore. Sydney asks Adrian to break into Keith's apartment to look for proof, while she confronts Keith at a local diner. Sydney reveals her true reason for being repulsed by Keith – while he stayed with her family as an Alchemist trainee, Keith raped Sydney's older sister. Keith races back to his apartment, tailed by Sydney, but Alchemists have already arrived, having been summoned by Adrian. Keith is taken into Alchemist custody.
The group goes to a fashion show that Jill is modeling in, but Adrian and Sydney bicker – Adrian has enrolled at college too late to receive financial aid, but Sydney paid for his art classes herself. Sydney mentions that she is heading to Keith's place, and is ambushed by Lee when she gets there. He reveals that it was he who has been killing girls, including his cousin Tamara, because he was trying to "reawaken" himself back into a Strigoi. Five years before the events of the book, Lee (then a Strigoi) was restored by an unknown spirit-user, and he has been obsessed with converting himself back to a Strigoi. Adrian comes to Keith's apartment to apologize to Sydney, just as Lee cuts her arm with a knife. Lee handcuffs Adrian and ties Sydney's hands together while explaining that he intended to "awaken" Jill as well (claming he loves her and wants the two of them to be together forever). Lee tries to drink Sydney's blood, but finds it disgusting. Left with no other choices, he calls two Strigoi women and tells them that in exchange for "reawakening" him, they could have his hostages. Sydney unties herself and almost escapes with Adrian when the Strigoi arrive. One of the Strigoi tries to "reawaken" Lee, but unintentionally kills him instead when his body refuses to accept Strigoi blood. They turn on Sydney, only to have the same reaction to Sydney's blood as Lee had, before moving on to Adrian. As her last hope, Sydney throws the seemingly-useless amulet at one of the Strigoi, and is astonished when she catches fire. Eddie bursts through the door and defeats the Strigoi. Jill sees Lee's dead body on the recliner and is horrified and traumatized.
Sydney meets with a senior Alchemist for a debriefing. Both are very interested in the knowledge of Lee's predicament, which suggested that any Strigoi who are "restored" will be unable to be "reawakened" to Strigoi. The Alchemists hope to research the phenomenon to find a way to protect Strigoi from "awakening" any others. With Keith's departure, the Alchemists have promoted Sydney to take charge of the Palm Springs area and offer her Keith's old apartment, as well as a new roommate for Jill – a Dhampir closer to Jill's age. Knowing Adrian's wishes, she instead asks that Adrian be given the apartment in exchange for his assistance in the research into spirit users and Strigoi. Sydney instead requests her own dorm room on campus, allowing her to continue to watch Jill. Back at school, Sydney confronts her teacher about the amulet, and the teacher confesses she had known about vampires all along. as well as Alchemists. She believes that Sydney has an innate magical ability, and it was that ability that gave the amulet its power.
As the book ends, Abe Mazur, Rose's father, arrives with Jill's new roommate – a Dhampir named Angeline who Sydney met while on the run with Rose the previous year. Adrian realizes that Abe has been keeping a close eye on Palm Springs because of Nevermore – and that Abe himself is likely trafficking vampire blood as well. Abe, in turn, reveals to Adrian that the reason Sydney had been forced to obey his commands was that Sydney had contracted him for an attack on Keith that left him with a glass eye – retribution for Keith's rape of her sister. The book closes with the arrival of two other former Strigoi who had been restored: Sonya Karp, who is also a spirit user, and Adrian's former rival for Rose's affections, Dimitri Belikov.
- Sydney Sage – an Alchemist and the main protagonist of the Bloodlines series
- Adrian Ivashkov – a royal Moroi Spirit user who was once Rose Hathaway's boyfriend
- Jill Mastrano – Vasilisa Dragomir's half-sister and a water user, bonded to Adrian
- Eddie Castile – Jill's Guardian
- Lee Donahue – Clarence Donahue's son
- Keith Darnell – the Palm Springs Alchemist, in charge with supervising Sydney
- Micah Vallence – Jill's classmate at Amberwood
- Abe Mazur – Rose Hathaway's father
- Laurel – Jill's rival
- Clarence Donahue – a Moroi in Palm Springs
- Vampire Academy, the series preceding Bloodlines
- "Richelle Mead's new series 'Bloodlines' cover reveal – EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- 'Vampire Academy' Breaking News: Spin-Off Series Coming Soon!
- "Five Reasons to Love Richelle Mead". Seattle PI. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- "'Bloodlines': The Reviews Are In For Richelle Mead's 'Vampire Academy' Spin-Off!". MTV. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- "Review: Bloodlines". RT Book Reviews. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- "Mead's new vampire spinoff manages to stand apart". UT San Diego. Retrieved 22 November 2012.