#8 “Silver Shadows” (Bloodlines #5) by Richelle Mead

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  1. City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare
  2. Every Word – Ellie Marney
  3. Skinjob – Bruce McCabe
    i.     Bloodlines – Richelle Mead
    ii.   The Golden Lily – Richelle Mead
    iii. The Indigo Spell – Richelle Mead
    iv. The Fiery Heart – Richelle Mead
  4. Silver Shadows – Richelle Mead
  5. Looking For Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta
  6. Goose – Dawn O’Porter
  7. Run – Gregg Olsen
  8. Love Letters to the Dead – Ava Dellaira
  9. Stoner – John Williams
  10. The Wrong Girl – Zoë Foster
  11. A Fatal Tide – Steve Sailah
  12. Murder in Mississippi – John Safran
  13. Elianne – Judy Nunn
  14. Being Jade – Kate Belle
  15. Martha in the Mirror – Justin Richards
  16. Shining Darkness – Mark Michalowski
  17. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  18. Divergent – Veronica Roth
  19. Insurgent – Veronica Roth
  20. Allegiant – Veronica Roth
  21. The Messenger – Markus Zusak
  22. Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
  23. The Mammoth Book of Angels and Demons
  24. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
  25. NOS4R2 – Joe Hill
  26. The Gospel of Loki – Joanne M. Harris
  27. Hades – Candice Fox
  28. Last Night at Chateau Marmont – Lauren Weisberger
  29. Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  30. Are You Seeing Me? – Darren Groth

Hello, my lovely followers. I realise I have been gone for a while. Two weeks I believe. Without so much as a goodbye! I am so sorry. But I have a very good excuse. Not only have I been voraciously re-reading Bloodlines in preparation for Silver Shadows‘ release, but I have been on “holiday” in my home town. Why the inverted commas? It was a little stressful. And eye-opening. And all kinds of emotional. Let’s just say that when I got back to Canberra, I was incredibly confused. And more aware of myself than I have been in months.

With this in mind, I hope that you’ll forgive me. Uni goes back next week and as such, I think my posts will be a little more sporadic than usual. To tell you the truth, I’m definitely looking forward to taking a bit of a break next year.

So, without further ado, let’s talk Silver Shadows!

The opening few chapters were incredibly hard work for me. It took me a few chapters to really sink into the story. This has nothing to do with Mead’s writing ability. Well, it kinda does. See, she wrote Adrian’s descent into self-pity and worthlessness [SPOILER FOR THE FIERY HEARTafter Sydney was taken to re-education so well that I actually didn’t feel all that sorry for him. Adrian Ivashkov, when we meet him in Frostbite way back in the Vampire Academy series, was a spoiled little rich boy. He had a heart of gold that he kept buried under vices. He never wanted to better himself and, to be frank, I never got the sense that he wanted to. Not until Sydney. His character arc was so beautifully constructed in between the two series that when he backslid, I felt so disappointed in him that I couldn’t get into his story arc. And after that thing with Nina? I was disgusted.

The structure of this novel puts Sydney and Adrian’s story lines side-by-side, mirroring the layout of The Fiery Heart. And what I saw was Sydney, struggling for survival and putting her faith in a man who had given up. When she never did. Of course, like in all YA novels, the man comes through in the end, but Adrian, I felt, let Sydney down.

Now, this is not a reviewer’s usual stance, is it? They talk about the writing and the characters and the plot, not the intricacies of a character’s personality. So I will say this: Mead muster be an incredible writer to make me feel so much disdain for a character for which I had so much respect. And not only that, but she definitely knows her characters. And, as you all know, I love me some well-rounded characters.

There were all sorts of little twists and turns in this novel that managed to keep us grounded in the world of the Moroi and the Alchemists. We get all of these little subplots that help to create a vivid environment for our Palm Springs team to live in. These subplots, to me, never felt overbearing. Each of them helped the main plot in their own ways, but in the process we learnt so much about the secondary characters. In particular, Sydney’s fellow Alchemist detainees. As an aspiring author, I envy Mead her ability to wield the writerly weapon of the subplot. I struggle with them. I think I can definitely learn something from Ms Mead.

As much as I loved the subplots and the way the story was woven, I had a real problem with the ending. Of course, we Bloodlines readers were expecting a cliffhanger, because that’s what happens in series, but did it have to be so predictable? [SPOILER] Jill goes missing. After Sydney and Adrian wrap up their escapades (and dear Lord, their escapades are insane), we get told that Jill has disappeared “only a month” before she would have been able to return to Moroi Court.

I mean, really?

I thought we deserved more than that as a lead-in to the final instalment in this series. Jill going missing was always going to happen, as was [SPOILER] Sydney’s trip to re-education. I just felt cheated. Jill could have gone missing at any point, but she goes missing at the most predictable junction? Just when everything is “going right”? Come on! I hate predictability in my favourite series. It’s just not fair.

However, what I am excited about is the reintroduction of Lissa, Rose, Dimitri, and Christian. For those of you who have not yet read Vampire Academy, these guys make up the main cast. And I have missed them. Please, if you haven’t read VA yet, but you’ve seen the movie, remember that old saying:

Never. Ever. Judge. A. Book. By. Its. Movie.

I was a little more forgiving of the way Adrian’s mental health was dealt with in this book, than I was in The Fiery Heart. When Adrian hears his dead aunt’s voice, we see him walk that very thin line where he knows that it’s not healthy, but he converses with her anyway. Never out loud. But he also accepts her because she is his “wall” between him and the horrible depression that his use of spirit (his particular branch of Moroi magic) induces. Given his mental health status, I feel I should be more forgiving of Adrian, seeing as he was only drinking to separate himself from spirit’s effects, but I just couldn’t.

OH! I had completely forgotten. Mead does this weird thing in all of her books where she reiterates what has happened in the books that had come previously. Like, full paragraphs that summarise the action of those books. It’s not something I’ve ever noticed in the other series I read, and I really hate that Mead does it. I skip those paragraphs completely. Each of these explanatory paragraphs are just too similar to the ones that have come before. And they don’t add anything to the story! I always feel like the narrators are breaking character when it happens. As if Sydney or Adrian would be thinking about the past when they’re in such intense scenarios. It just wouldn’t happen.

So, all in all, I give Silver Shadows:

★★★ 3/4

Finally, who else hates these covers? I loved the VA ones. Why do the Bloodlines ones have to look so…haphazard?

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About Bec Graham

Bec Graham, 24, was born on the wrong continent. Everything from her burns-like-paper skin tone to her inability to cope with the slightest hint of a hot day suggests she should have been born under the gloomy skies and mild sun of the UK. She hopes writing will get her to her rightful home one day. Failing that, she scans the skies for a spinning blue police box, hoping to catch a lift back to the motherland.
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8 Responses to #8 “Silver Shadows” (Bloodlines #5) by Richelle Mead

  1. Amy Wallin says:

    Compleeeetely agree about Adrian. I am so sick of his self pity. HOw bout, you stop using your ‘spirit’ as an excuse and do something! That thing with Nina made me so livid. I hope Sydney finds out and goes absolutely apeshit. I mostly want them to work out. But he really needs to be… punished.
    Also the covers are awful. I don’t want Sydney to look like that. Stop putting this stranger on the covers…
    My bet – the Alchemists took Jill.

    • Bec Graham says:

      I just got so fed up with him! There Sydney was, going through hell and Adrian was drinking, going to parties, and leading that poor girl on? No! Come on, Adrian! You’re better than that.

      I think Nina’s gonna stage some stunt. No one will like the whole Sydrian thing at Court so Nina’s gonna be all “well, I kissed him sooo…” And Sydney will freak the fuck out.

      The Alchemists taking Jill…hmmm I was thinking more along the lines of the Warriors. The Alchemists are a step away from being Nazis but they actually don’t want the Moroi rioting because the rest of humanity may notice that there actually are vampires…

      I was reading the EW interview with Mead and apparently there’s a tiny subplot we’ve all missed that’s going to come up in The Ruby Circle. I think it has something to do with the blonde in glasses who was looking for Sydney and Adrian. And it for me thinking…whatever happened to that crazy witch, Alicia? They never did find the body…

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