REVIEW by Jena: The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) by Richelle Mead (@RichelleMead)

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.

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Warning:  This review contains spoilers from previous books in the series, so if you haven’t read them, be warned there’s important info mentioned in this review.

The Fiery Heart is the fourth installment in the Bloodlines series, a spinoff of the Vampire Academy series.

WHAT I LIKED:
Oh, this story just keeps getting better and better!! 

When I started this series, I was incredibly skeptical.  For one thing, I adored the Vampire Academy series and the one thing I couldn’t stand in that series was when the POV would switch to Sydney.  She was such an annoying goody-goody.  When the Bloodlines series started, I wasn’t even sure I was going to touch it because I really thought it wouldn’t be any good.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  The first book was a little slow in taking off, but I was quickly hooked.

Sydney Sage isn’t the annoying goody-goody anymore.  She’s grown up and opened her frikkin eyes!  No longer does she blindly follow the alchemists and all their vampire hating propaganda.  Of course, THEY don’t know that.  She spends her spare time learning magic (also not cool in the eyes of a faithful alchemist) and trying to figure out what the alchemists are up to.  Then there’s the forbidden romance she’s rockin’ with my favorite Russian smartass Adrian Ivashkov, the noble-blooded moroi vampire.  Plus there’s her new roomy – her little alchemist-in-training sister who is all about playing it by the book. 

Throw that all into a big, fat mixing pot and you have yourself a series that is downright INTENSE at times. 

The Fiery Heart was no exception.  If anything, this was the most intense book in the series so far.  I’m talking by a LONG SHOT.  There are a few twists and turns in this book that completely blindsided me and, I won’t lie, reduced my ass to TEARS. 

Oh yeah, keep the tissues handy.  This one has a few moments in it that will rock you pretty hard if you’ve read the series. 

Side note:  If you haven’t read ANY of the books mentioned, DO NOT START WITH THE BLOODLINES SERIES.  Start at the beginning of the Vampire Academy books and read straight through.  Even in the Fiery Heart (takes place after Vampire Academy 1-5 AND Bloodlines 1-3), there is story line that goes back to Vampire Academy book #1.  You’ll want to experience the backstory before reading this installment.  Excellent books, all of them!

My favorite part of this whole book was the MOTHER EFFER of a cliffhanger we are left with.  I know some people HATE cliffhangers, but I am not one of them.  Especially since (according to Amazon and Goodreads) the next book in the series, Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5), comes out in July, only 8 months after the release of The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4). 

 

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
Nothing.  Seriously, nothing.  Anything I didn’t like about the previous books was not present in this book.  Sydney seems to have removed the pole from her hind parts and has relaxed in a big way.  Adrian has his slipping moments (read and you’ll know what I mean) in this book (which are sad since I kind of love him – not at all a disappointment in the writing), but overall, I was happy with the way his arc went. 

Honestly, I loved this book from cover to cover. 

One thing I feel I must add to this but has no reflection on the story whatsoever – I listened to the audiobook for The Fiery Heart and I really am not a big fan of the male narrator who reads Adrian’s chapters.  As someone who has listened to the entire series via audiobooks from Audible.com, this narrator is a change to the way the rest of the series has been read.  The female narrator is the same, Emily Shaffer, but in the VA books, Adrian had this distinct sound.  He had an accent and swagger that really made him stand out from the rest of the characters.  It’s a brilliant performance.  That bit of performance was dropped by Emily somewhere along the way, and I think it was only with this book. 

My theory is it was dropped because the male narrator performs the part with no accent at all.  I am wondering if Emily dropped it in her own Adrian performance so it wouldn’t be too confusing from his parts.  Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the male narrator as he’s not credited on Audible.   I love vocal actors, and I love listening to them read audiobooks, so when there’s a flat performance, it really stands out.  His is one of them for sure.  HOWEVER, he only reads a small portion of the book and it wasn’t enough to distract me from the story.  He has a nice voice and all, he is just one of those narrators that sounds like he’s just reading from a page, not “acting it out.”  I would have loved to have heard James Marsters perform the Adrian chapters.  I think he would be excellent for that role.  Again, that’s no reflection on the book itself.  That’s just a note for my fellow audiobook freaks out there.

 

WHO I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS TO:
Well, obviously, if you liked the Vampire Academy books and haven’t gotten into Bloodlines yet, do so.  It really is worth it, even if you hated Sydney in VA.  She changes DRASTICALLY in this series. 

Also, if you liked the Fallen series by Lauren Kate and are looking for something a little more on the paranormal side, this could be a good series for you.  There’s nothing graphic in these books.  Even the sexy scenes are fade to black or the description is all about the internal dialog going on with the character.  It’s not about “insert tab A into  slot B.” 

For my vamp fiction lovers out there, this is a cool “innocent” series to get into.  Great cast of characters, some unique mythology, secret societies, magic, and wonderfully written mysteries.  The Fiery Heart takes a couple of paddles toward the ‘adult’ end of the ‘new adult’ pool.  It doesn’t cross that line, but it comes damn close.  Plus, it’s got a great star-crossed lovers kind of story line to it.  It’s not the main focus of the book, but it’s there enough to make you haul out the tissues a few times. 

Purchase links for the entire Bloodlines series, including The Fiery Heart, are listed below.

 

jena new 2

BLOODLINES
Bloodlines #1

Click here to read Jena’s review!

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

 

 

 

 

THE GOLDEN LILY
Bloodlines #2

Click here to read Jena’s review!

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

 

 

 

indigo spell

The Indigo Spell
Bloodlines #3

Click here to read Jena’s review!

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

 

 

 

 

bloodlines

The Fiery Heart
Bloodlines #4

Click here to get your copy today!

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