The Fiery Heart

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

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 Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

I came to the consensus a long time ago – way back in Vampire Academy time – that a lot goes on in Richelle Mead’s novels. What I mean by that is that it’s similar to James Patterson’s novels in that the heroine (or hero) is never simply focused on one thing, but instead, has about five to six major things going on around them, from relationships of the people around them to dire life-and-death choices that can last up to several novels. And in many ways, I have a love/hate relationship with that type of writing, which also means I have a love/hate relationship with Richelle Mead.

I will never dispute the authenticity of Richelle Mead’s greatness as a YA writer. She’s one of the best, in my opinion. But that doesn’t make her one of my favorite, though. This is not because I do not like her writing or what she writes about, but simply because – for whatever reason – I’ve never fallen in love with any of her novels or characters. I’ve come close, but alas.

One of the problems I have with this series is the covers. Not a big one, obviously, but I am under the impression that if you are going to have a character(s) on a cover, and if they are going to show their face(s) in particular, they had better be pretty close to what they look like in the book. Now, I realize that no author has a say in what the cover looks like, so this isn’t Richelle Mead’s fault (it wouldn’t even if she had had a choice) and doesn’t affect my rating of any of her books.

BUT. Seriously. What happened to Sydney and Adrian?!?!?! Particularly their HAIR?!?!?!

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You could even say that I like the Bloodlines series better than the Vampire Academy series. At least so far. I think it’s because there were a lot of situations and choices in the Vampire Academy series that made me want to throw the book across the room. In a love/hate way.

Plus, I like Adrian way more than Dmitri, which I know is a very controversial topic.

But, ANYWAYS, about this book. I liked it well enough. It wasn’t a disappointment in any way, but it did go a little slowly for me. Part of the reason is as I said before, there are almost way too many things going on in each book. Sydney – bless her heart – is constantly dealing with a bunch of utter crap and complications, and the second she fixes or gets rid of one of them, another rears its ugly head. And I find myself sighing for Sydney’s sake, because, man, this girl just cannot catch a break. I mean, am I the only one who wonders how this girl hasn’t had a ulcer yet??

But what I mean when I say that this book was a little slow, was that it took me about a full week to finish it. I actually stopped about halfway through it to start (and finish) another completely different novel that I was more interested in at the time. Of course, I went right back to this one, but it took me a while and some serious mental probing.

Also, I just want to put it out there that I kind of love Sydney and Adrian. But here’s the thing: I’m not completely sold on them being together. I liked the sexual tension they’ve had going on in the previous books. That’s not me saying that their relationship is anywhere near boring or, well, uneventful. But it is me saying that there was something left to be desired after they actually got together.

One of those things, though, is Adrian’s wittiness about the whole situation. One thing we are constantly being reminded of, is that Adrian and Sydney are in love, and that’s all that’s ever on Adrian’s mind.

“I won’t lie. Walking into a room and seeing your girlfriend reading a baby-name book can kind of make your heart stop.
“I’m no expert,” I began, choosing my words carefully. “Well—actually, I am. And I’m pretty sure there are certain things we have to do before you need to be reading that.”

One thing I have to point out, is that this is more Adrian’s story. Sydney’s not cut out at all, but more of the focus is on Adrian. And I loved it. Even thought this is a story about vampires and magic and spirit users, it’s also about depressions and anxiety. We really get to see exactly how much depression Adrian is constantly battling all the time because of spirit, and it’s pretty real. Adrian constantly battles not drinking himself into tranquility because of spirit’s affects, even though he’s always been perceived as the lazy, drunken vampire royalty stereotype among vampires and dhampirs alike. He’s really coming to terms about who he is and who he wants to be.

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This also means he has to come to terms with a lot of the sins of his past. And that also means letting Sydney know them, too. Because she deserves to know, even though it might make her rethink everything about Adrian Ivashkov.

But the best thing is that Mead is able to really encompass the give-give relationship they both have, which can be difficult to do in YA novels.

“An image of Sydney’s face appeared in my mind’s eye, calm and lovely.
I believe in you.
My anxiety faded.
I took a deep breath and met the gazes of all those watching me in the room.
Who was I to do this?
I was Adrian Ivashkov.
And I was about to kick some ass.”  

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