All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

on February 26, 2015

Ruby CircleThe Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6)
Richelle Mead
Penguin Books AUS
2015, 348p
Purchased personal copy

Their romance has been exposed and everyone knows now that former Alchemist Sydney Sage and Moroi vampire Adrian Ivashkov are married. They’re hiding out at court under the protection of the Queen Lissa but it’s an existence that’s beginning to take it’s toll on Sydney. She misses the sun and fresh air. She tends to keep to their suite, aware that most around her regard her with suspicion….or hunger.

The vampire princess and Lissa’s half sister Jill Dragomir was kidnapped and so far their investigations have turned up nothing. They don’t know who has Jill or why. When Sydney’s old magic instructor turns up with information, Sydney knows she has to escape the royal compound and do everything she can to find Jill, even if it means leaving Adrian behind. Adrian it seems, is busy with his own puzzle about spirit magic which leads him on a quest to find someone who could change everything they’ve ever known about Moroi and dhampir and change their entire future.

I know that you can be overwhelemed. And you can be underwhelmed. But can you ever be just….whelmed?

And so I am conflicted. I’ll be honest. It took the Bloodlines a long time to convince me. I think it was well into the third book before I began to feel that the series may have some sort of merit and the fourth and fifth were enjoyable (but I still had issues). This is the final book in this series and I was expecting explosion. Awesome reveals. This does not feel in the same vein as Last Sacrifice. This reads almost like fan fiction.

I’ll start with Jill, considering her disappearance was apparently the thing this entire book was constructed around. Jill was always a secondary character with basically no development whatsoever between Bloodlines and Silver Shadows when Sydney and Adrian learn she’s been taken. Therefore, I don’t really care about her and who has her because I never got any of the Jill stuff I wanted to see and that was her relationship with Lissa. She was banished from Court and all we got each book was a few vague lines about Lissa changing the rule that said a reining monarch must have a living relative. This book doesn’t give us much either. We are still yet to get an actual scene between Lissa and Jill. I don’t know if Mead plans to return to this world later and use Jill as her next protagonist but a scene between the two sisters was, I believe, a necessary part of being able to connect with this story line at all.  Also in the end who had Jill was kind of boring and made little sense because we pretty much did this plot already about four books ago, with someone else.

Secondly. Adrian and Sydney. I took a long time to get on board here too and although I ended up being okay with them, I felt as though this book they took a few steps backward. They slide into keeping secrets, Adrian in particular and the spirit returns to drive a wedge between them. Adrian has never been my favourite character and I’ve never swooned over him but in this book he turns into a petulant child character who has an inner voice telling him (literally by the end) that he’s an actual God. I found myself predicting the ending long before it came about and being utterly disappointed with it for reasons that I cannot really go into because, spoilers. For me they never really address some of their key issues and Adrian makes a snap decision at the end of the book with little consideration and discussion. But why couldn’t Adrian and Sydney have a chance to live, first? They’re still so young. Travel. Explore. And I’m just going to pretend the Epilogue never existed at all, especially the revelation about Rose and Dimitri because I feel as though that is everything their characters would not do.

Speaking of Dimitri we finally found out who his father is, in another revelation that just felt dropped into the plot, like Mead remembered people would be curious and she couldn’t be bothered introducing another character. Instead Dimitri gets a random encounter with the man who fathered him who also turns out to be connected (related) to another character so now they are cousins. It’s like every fan fic come to life and could’ve only been worse if Dimitri had turned out to be half brothers with this person, not a cousin. Actually Rose kind of sums it up best:

Rose finally found her voice and turned on Dimitri. “Really? This guy? Are you sure?” (p151)

I hear you Rose.

Also everyone is far nicer to this ridiculous character than they should be (except for Dimitri, who ice-coolly punches him in the face but only once and really, it should’ve been many more times). I feel like Mead forgot a lot of the stuff she already established in Vampire Academy and in the end I was forgetting what was established and what wasn’t. For some reason I thought Rose claimed they relied on the Moroi for their existence and didn’t procreate with humans but apparently they can (thanks to Renee who clarified that for me). It was only a matter of time until it changed who a Dhampir could procreate with.

There was a time when I was actually enjoying this book – when Sydney snuck out of court and was chasing down clues on who had Jill I thought okay, this is going somewhere. But then about five minutes later Adrian shows up and it gets derailed with the whole Olive story (which I found relatively pointless and only served to undo things already established and give Rose and Dimitri and a few others a different future). The rescue-Jill operation seemed to go off effortlessly as they infiltrated a group with ridiculous ease and did other things with ridiculous ease and yeah, that was all over very quickly.

It probably sounds like I hated this. I didn’t but I have to admit, I was disappointed. And the the more time that passes since I finished it, the more disappointed I become. When I was reading it, there were bits that I liked a lot, bits that were okay and bits that I raised my eyebrows at but when I finished it and got out of the book I thought well, there were a lot of things I never got to see in that series that I wanted to. There were things left unsaid, scenes left out. So much became about Sydney and Adrian and their love that is more than any love anyone else has ever experienced ever and that….wasn’t strong enough to carry the six books. Not for me. With the VA books I can look back and think of so many ‘moments’ that defined each one. With this series…. I’m hard pressed to come up with many apart from Sydney being kidnapped.

So yep. I am just whelmed.


Book #42 of 2015


3 responses to “Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

  1. HALLELUJAH PRAISE THE LORD THANKYOU SO MUCH FOR THIS REVIEW OMG HOLY HEAVEN BLESS YOUR BLOGGING SOUL!!!!!!!!! Okay, the only thing I have to say is that yes humans could impregnate a dhampir, but dhampirs couldn’t impregnate a dhampir. (but with this new spirit revelation whooo everything’s out the window.) So yeah that’s that. 🙂
    And oh man, while I liked finding out Dimitri’s father, boy it was like she had just remembered that it needed to be addressed like woah, it would have been better almost to just leave that detail an unanswered question forever, sometimes the mystery is better than the truth. And the cousins thing was just like, oh wow, that is almost cheesy.
    I DEFINITELY love the Vampire Academy series better than the Bloodlines series, I feel after book 3 the series went flat, asides from the epic escape in Silver Shadows.
    I actully didn’t mind Rose and Dimitri getting engaged because they met like 4 years earlier so had been in a relationship for a while and still hadn’t really been set on the marriage were just engaged so I thought that was fine. Sydney and Adrian I was okay with the marriage but I didn’t expect them to then full on live it out as pretty much teenagers!
    And I really didn’t think the responsibility of a CHILD was appropriate for a 21 year old and a 25 year old JUST yet. (since they’d actually been looking after Declan for like, 2 years prior.)
    I was disappointed in Neil, but also felt he overreacted. It would’ve been fine to do some basic studies, just like Sonya and Adrian did on Dimitri and Eddie to see the difference.
    ALSO, WHY DIDN’T THEY SAY GOODBYE TO HOPPER???? I felt that was unresolved.
    However, I did also quite enjoy the part where the book almost turned Divergent-ish and there was fighting in the Warrior’s place and then sneaking around and what not, it was very sci-fi -ish!!! I felt that we didn’t get enough character development from Eddie or Neil and that the Adrian I love in Vampire Academy and the beginning of Frostbite is not the Adrian that was being written. I actually started not to like him as much in the later Bloodlines books.
    Spirit, ehh that’s a touchy subject. I like spirit, but I felt Richelle never got around to explaining that properly and what it’s limits were etc. because Adrian can use telekinesis and Lissa and Nina can’t and for some reason Olive could manipulate the dream…just with her will? In that case it seems like a lot of people have very low will and control over themselves, it didn’t seem right.
    Also, my main issues with the whole ending of the Bloodlines series was the fact that the whole BLOODY reason that this series took place was to get rid of the age law and get Jill back to court, now I’m pretty sure that in Silver Shadows the age law was finally revoked, or ‘close to being revoked’ as it had been FOR THE WHOLE SERIES!!!! And it never ever got affirmed as being revoked. EVER! THAT MEANS THE WHOLE MAJOR THING WAS POINTLESS!!!!
    omg wow I just realised how long my rant went on, I am sorry. BUT I FEEL YOUR PAIN!!!!!
    I think I’ll re-write as fanfiction the books from The Fiery Heart. 🙂 (and no marriage this time!)
    Thanks for this review again (as I CAPS LOCK said before. he he) it makes me grateful that I’m not the only one in the world with issues and I CAN VENT TOO!!!!!
    But in the end, I still did enjoy the book a bit. It was cute, but by no means a book that if I wasn’t already invested in the series, that I’d read.

    • Lol yes pretty much agree with everything you said. Hopper! Where was he? That was so disappointing. The problem I had with Rose and Dimitri wasn’t so much their getting engaged but the way in which that scene played out. Dimitri isn’t the flashest person in the world, he’s also not wealthy. He’s a guardian! I can’t see him going out and buying his hugely flashy ring which doesn’t seem to be very practical for someone in Rose’s position. She’s a super important guardian who needs to be able to fight at the drop of a hat. That rock is gonna get in the way of training and whatever. Flashy jewelry has never worked out well for her – the rose necklace that Victor Dashkov charmed and the jewelry Dimitri gave her when he was Strigoi. Just felt a bit weird, that whole scene.

      I always felt that Dimitri’s father would be someone important in Royal circles, someone who maybe lived a double life and no one knew about his connection with Dimitri’s mother in the camp or whatever it is in Siberia. I was okay with never finding out, Dimitri could’ve told Rose any time his first name (I also find it hard to believe that Dimitri, with all this connections and the way he feels about his father, wouldn’t know more about him other than just his first name. An Ivashkov surely isn’t that incognito, even if he has mostly been banished for the last 20 years).

      I feel like this whole story wasn’t enough for 6 books at all. Nothing really happens apart from Sydney getting kidnapped for reprogramming and the whole Jill thing felt clumsy and boring. I don’t have anything against Jill I just don’t think this series ever developed her as a person at all. The fact that we never got a scene with her and Lissa seriously, SERIOUSLY bugged me. I know this is Sydney’s story but she was there for Jill, because Jill was killed and then saved or whatever. We deserved at least something between Jill and Lissa, but Lissa wasn’t in this enough either, especially when Adrian and Sydney were actually at Court.

      Neil up and disappearing was weird, I actually forgot who Neil even was when I started reading this, took me ages to remember. Basically I didn’t know him/Olive/etc enough to even care about their entire story line and it was obvious it was just there to give the fangirls who want to see Rose knocked up hope for the future. So Sydney ends up a teenage (or barely out of her teens mother) and now Rose is 20 and engaged and can have babies. Way to take 2 women who were totally kick ass and shoehorn them into traditional roles. Yes Sydney is still going to school and whatever and Adrian teaches pre-school kids (I LOL’d at that) but still. They’re so young. They have SO MUCH TIME to do this shit.

      Do Alchemists age slower? I can’t remember. Anyway, they have forever to raise babies!

      Glad to see someone else feels the same as I do, lol

      • YES YES YES THANKYOU!!!! Although I think that Dimitri might have some money because they are ROYAL guardians. 🙂 BUT THE REST??? YES YES YES!!!!! It feels so good to rant! I wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t!

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