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Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


The Fiery Heart
Richelle Mead

Series: Bloodlines #4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Hardback: 420 Pages
Publication: November 19, 2013
by Razorbill



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.


Review

I love Vampire Academy, and I love book one of this series. There's also the small part of me that loves an epic romance that sweeps me off my feet. However, with each book in this series, the plot and world has continued to be unraveled more and more to the point that I feel like the only reason I'm continuing this series is because I have this burning desire to see what happens to Sydney and Adrian. While that may be one reason to read a book, if you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know that I love a good plot. One of my favorite things about the VA series is that it has both an epic romance AND maintained a strong plot, so it's disappointing that the Bloodlines series is lacking in this.

Now, that isn't to say that things aren't going down in The Fiery Heart. With Zoe coming into the picture just as Sydney has finally made the decision to follow her heart, there is a constant sense of added danger. Will Zoe catch onto things? How will Sydney continue her magic studies with her little sister around? More importantly, how will she and Adrian see each other? The problem here is that the romance plot overpowers the other plot angles. Everything else comes and goes with no apparent order or purpose to them. For example, in the beginning you see Sydney being initiated into a coven of witches. However, this doesn't really influence what happens later in the book except in a little minor incident. If I were to name a predominating order to the book, it's that everything happens to further the romance, and this causes the order to the other plotlines to fall apart.

Sydney becomes just another YA paranormal romance heroine in The Fiery Heart. One of the reasons I love Sydney is because she's intelligent, capable, and resourceful. These are traits that you don't often see in YA heroines. At least to the degree that you see them in Sydney. These traits are so defining of her that you see them in her every word, thought, and behavior. At least until The Fiery Heart came along. It felt like everything Sydney did was to ensure her and Adrian's safety even as she makes stupid decisions out of a false sense of security. She's a perfectionist and has always been able to do the right thing. You'd think that this would cause her to err on the side of caution; instead, she's driven to give into some of her and Adrian's more dangerous desires, presumably because she believes, or wants to believe, that they'll be able to get away with it.

Another awkward element to this book is how Adrian's narrative comes into play. While I love Adrian and would have been excited to get a peek into his point of view in another situation, I've already been saying that there are too many plot elements competing for attention in the Bloodlines series since book two (The Golden Lily). The addition of his point of view in this book lends another element of complexity that this series does not need. Even if he gives us insight into plot elements that Sydney could not give us, I believe the novel could have been stronger as a whole if it stuck with Sydney's perspective, which would have given it more of a much-needed focus to the story development.

Bloodlines promised to further develop the world of Vampire Academy. I entered this series expecting to find out what happens to the order of the vampire world following Lissa's reign. That the central characters in this series were some favorite minor characters from the first series was a bonus. Given how these last few books have been disappointingly lacking in organized plot development, I really feel like I'm now reading the series to find out what happens and not because I'm looking forward to a spectacular, plot-driven novel that has me itching to turn the pages to see where it takes me next.

Rating: 2.5 stars

Series
  1. Bloodlines
  2. The Golden Lily
  3. The Indigo Spell
  4. The Fiery Heart
  5. Silver Shadows
  6. The Ruby Circle

Similar Books
  • Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Content
  • Kissing, making out
  • Sex
  • Violence

4 comments on "Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead"
  1. I feel like I'm only still reading this for Sydney and Adrian as well. It's really just not as good as VA and I find myself forgetting a lot of what's happened in prior novels because there is sooooo much stuff going on and it feels a smudge extraneous.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. I feel like the series has lost its focus with all the extraneous material coming it. It's hard to keep track of what's going on!

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  2. Meh. I really like VA, but I'm hesitant to start Bloodlines because of negative buzz. Great review!
    -Jon from Bookish Antics!

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    Replies
    1. If you like Sydney and Adrian and want to find out more about what's going on in their lives, you might enjoy reading Bloodlines for that. While it's not VA, it has some charm, especially the first book or two. Otherwise, I wouldn't really recommend it. The series gets worse as it progresses. Like Tiffany noted, there's just so much extraneous stuff going on it.

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