Silver Shadows – Richelle Mead

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 Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him.

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

Adrian and Sydney only had their happily ever after for a brief period of time before the Alchemists discovered them. Now with Sydney in a secret Alchemist re-education center, Adrian is on the outside searching for her and slowly losing his grip on spirit.

The story is told in alternating points of view. As a reader we live through the painful experience of re-education with Sydney. Through operant conditioning the Alchemists hope to ‘cleanse’ Sydney’s soul from the sin of loving a vampire. Sydney’s arc is detailed and raw as she tries to find a way out of re-education while still being true to herself. Over the five novels Sydney has grown into an open minded woman who no longer sees things in black and white, giving the Alchemist little to no control over who she really is.

At the re-education center we meet several new characters, who like Sydney, are being punished for their transgressions. Emma is Sydney’s too perfect roommate and Duncan has been in re-education forever because he is his family’s dirty little secret. He tries to help Sydney follow the rules but sometimes she can’t help herself. Sydney defies the Alchemists and helps the others do the same by using magic, which to the Alchemists is worse than loving a vampire.

Adrian’s arc is just as painful as Sydney’s but for different reasons. While Adrian has grown and matured over four books the loss of Sydney is too much for him. After not being able to locate Sydney in dreams he turns to alcohol and his self destructive ways. It takes Adrian a trip back to court and a big wakeup call before he manages to focus on Sydney again.

At times the plot felt a little slow. As readers we were being tortured with Sydney or wallowing with Adrian. While those things were necessary they may have gone on longer than needed. The last third of the book picks up with some serious action that involves Marcus and the other rogue Alchemists. There are also not one but two very surprising twists. The ending in true Mead fashion is a cliffhanger setting up The Ruby Circle to be an action packed mystery.

Silver Shadows was an interesting read filled with the twists that one expects from Richelle Mead even if at times it was slow.


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