Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Golden Lily - Richelle Mead

Title - The Golden Lily
Author - Richelle Mead
Text Type - Paranormal Romance

“He shouldn't have said that," repeated Adrian, eerily serious. He leaned his face toward mine. "I don't care if he's not the emotional type or the complimentary type or what. No one can look at you in this dress, in all that fire and gold, and start talking about anachronisms. If I were him, I would have said, 'You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen walking this earth.” 

It is not hard for an author to write a book that captivates the reader, that lures them in for more. But it is extremely difficult to do it every single time, each novel surpassing the other in creativity and suspense. Only the first couple of pages have to be read to identify Mead as an extremely clever writer that seems to accomplish this so effortlessly. Needless to say, she has presented another fascinating story to her collection of young adult novels, the continuation of Bloodlines and complementary to her successful Vampire Academy series. Although Mead is infamous for her dramatic and plentiful supply of action, there was a shortage in this book which is a little frustrating since she has delivered so many times before. Even though it contains a few flaws where Mead has not built up to the climatic point in the most commanding way, The Golden Lily had effective development of the characters and their relationships. This focus is no less interesting because discovering inherent qualities gives a foundation to build on as the series continues.

I believe that it is important for female protagonists to be powerful and courageous, but people often neglect the term realistic. When a character is reasonable, there is no struggle required to relate to them, to understand what they are emotionally feeling during each situation. Written in first person of young Alchemist Sydney Sage, this connection is effortless because the way she acts is nothing extraordinary, only realistic and authentic. Beyond her compassion, courage and good sense of responsibility lies attributes that the reader is familiar with: A girl who is also nervous and shy, self-conscious and who doesn't always fit in. These are the lead characters that really inspire and draws a feeling of admiration from the audience when they achieve something good. It is evident that even though Sydney may not be popular or overly social, her peers give her a level of respect that everyone hopes to receive. It represents the fact that people can be accepted no matter what they are like; Smart, slightly dorky personalities included. The Golden Lily is where the romance part of the genre becomes prominent, a development from the implications in the first book which many young adults will love. And there is nothing more compelling than a spark between two characters as individual as bad-boy Adrian Ivashkov and sensible Sydney.

While there are many adorable relationships around the central group of characters, there are also the tenser ones. A common reoccurring theme that Mead endorses is the high expectation of family, especially targeting father figures who have a huge concern over pride and reputation. Nearly every person has been presented with the challenge of overcoming the opinions of their judgmental fathers. Because Sydney has an experience of her own in this aspect, she is aware and sympathetic of her friends' situations. Mead is trying to communicate the importance of acceptance, particularly being able to see past the flaws of your loved ones. Much to the dismay of Adrian and classmate Trey Juarez, it is obvious that even though their significance to the story is different, their fathers cannot accept their sons actions. Yet through our eyes, what they did was honorable, worthy of high respect. I thoroughly enjoyed Mead's important message that doing something to be ethical or taking risks is worth much more than having an elite status.

With all due respect, Mead has still maintained a high quality of writing that I adore and admire at the same time. The ability to lure the reader in on the very first page and keep their attention throughout the entire book proves her to be a very smart and consistent writer. But while her fluency is usually near perfect and delivers a flow that makes her books really hard to put down, The Golden Lily did not do her enough justice in this element which was a little bit disappointing. However, I have come to realise that it is just as satisfying to understand more about the character's hardships and merits as it challenges me to reflect on my own. There is no doubt that this is a worthy addition to her bestselling collection depicting the events of a paranormal romance that leaves you hungry for more.


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