All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Fiery Heart – Richelle Mead

on November 19, 2013

Fiery HeartThe Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4)
Richelle Mead
Razorbill (Penguin Books Aus)
2013, 416p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Sydney Sage has been torn for a long time. Raised to be an Alchemist to fear, loathe and revile all of the vampire creatures and the dhampir that guard them, she has found herself struggling to reconcile what she has been taught with the people she has come to know. Rose Hathaway, Dimitri Belikov, Jill Mastrano-Dragomir, Eddie Castile and Adrian Ivashkov (especially Adrian Ivashkov) have taught her a different way. Sydney has finally started taking the steps that will break her from the Alchemist’s hold over her. She took the first one recently, freeing herself from the compulsion in her tattoo. With the help of Marcus, a rogue Alchemist and the band he has gathered together, Sydney is now no longer bound. But instead of defecting completely, she chose to still work within the Alchemists, believing she could do more while they believe that she is still a good and loyal employee.

Sydney has embraced her feelings for Adrian and his for her no longer frighten her. The two of them are happy even though their fledgling relationship requires a lot of sneaking around and doesn’t often grant them much alone time. Sydney supports Adrian in giving up the things he uses to self-medicate and keep the madness of spirit at bay and in turn Adrian promotes a healthy body image for Sydney and encourages her to relax a little and not be so stressed and uptight. They are opposites who come together as a whole and work. And Adrian has found not just one, but two purposes in life: he has his college and his painting and he is also a valuable component to helping Court and the Moroi figure out why people who have been turned Strigoi and then restored, like Dimitri and Sonia Karp, cannot be turned back. He’s helping with the research and is playing a major part in breaking down what happens to them when they’re turned back and how they may be able to replicate that for everyone, so that no Moroi or dhampir could ever be turned Strigoi by another.

But Sydney’s struggle is far from over, even though she has made her decision and found peace and happiness in her relationship with Adrian. She still has so many commitments and the fact that her younger, dedicated sister is now living with her on campus and potentially reporting everything back to Sydney’s zealot father, means that Sydney needs to be more careful than ever. She’s progressing with her witchcraft, she’s made friends with the Moroi and dhampirs she’s working with and she’s fallen in love with a Moroi. All of these things are a mortal sin for an Alchemist.

And so The Fiery Heart is aptly named. The fourth book in the Bloodlines series doesn’t hesitate to turn up the heat in more ways than one. For Sydrian fans, this book has much to offer with plenty of cute scenes as they explore being in love and a new stability in their relationship as well as the natural next steps. That’s not to say it’s all fun and games – the two do still have their difficult moments, especially as Adrian struggles with the darkness of spirit which is worsening now that he has quit smoking and cut down severely on his drinking. Adrian as a character really comes into his own in this volume: in the Vampire Academy novels he was a bit of a caricature, the rich playboy who contributed very little to anything at all in a world where people were being groundbreaking every day. In this book he gets his time to shine and it’s been a long time coming, some would say. He’s still Adrian but there’s a new, sturdier quality to him and Sydney’s unfaltering belief in him, even when he slips, does so much to boost his own self-belief.

We are treated to Adrian’s point of view for the first time in this book and I believe this is a good move for two reasons: firstly, it helps the reader really get a handle on Adrian. His moods, his thoughts, the way in which he’s affected by spirit. We’ve experienced Lissa’s issues through the eyes of Rose when she’s been in Lissa’s head, but Adrian is a little different and having his own thoughts and feelings also balances out Sydney’s often dry narrative. She’s loosening up a bit but another point of view is a breath of fresh air injected into the story. Also, having Adrian narrate at times greatly accelerates the plot. This book really picks everything up and moves it along. The first three books have been a little slow plot wise: there’s been some action but a lot of it is just Sydney and the gang at their school or driving around parts of Palm Springs. In this novel we get to see where the Moroi (specifically Adrian & Sonia) are really going with their study into those who have been turned-Strigoi-and-then-turned-back. I got a clear picture of where the story is going and possibly how it might get there. And thanks to the ending (which is epic and trust me, it’s going to cause some reactions) you can tell that it isn’t going to be easy and that there’s going to be distractions for Adrian and he will probably have some real struggles to overcome both in his head and physically as well.

In every series, there is a book that defines it in a way, the one that really pulls everything together and gives it direction, in simple terms, ‘when things get serious’. For me, The Fiery Heart is this book for Bloodlines. It has given the series direction and begun to draw all of the previously hinted at clues, the conversations, the actions, the brief events together. It’s the sort of book that I think might convince the doubters.

9/10

Book #294 of 2013

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2 responses to “The Fiery Heart – Richelle Mead

  1. Jan says:

    This sounds great! Would I need to have read The Vampire Academies to read this series though?

  2. […] end of The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead. Also Cry Blue Murder by Kim Kane and Marion Roberts and Dark Horse by Honey […]

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