Title: Silver Shadows
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines # 5
Genre: Teen Paranormal Romance
Rating: 5/5 stars!
The Overview: 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.
It says on my little Goodreads tracker that I’ve read almost 80 books so far this year. Silver Shadows might just be my favorite out of all of them. When you love a book so much, it’s really difficult to convey just how profoundly it affected you. “It was amazing” sums it up perfectly, but doesn’t feel like the proper review the book deserves. In my review of The Fiery Heart, I break down exactly why Richelle Mead is my favorite author: her books are rich, absorbing, creative, and exciting and I triple dog dare you to read them without feeling like you left part of your soul within their pages. They go beyond being just “typical teen vampire” books and into the realm of great characters, heart wrenching conflicts, and brilliant storytelling.
In every Mead book I review, I talk passionately about how much I love the author, the writing, and the stories to the point where I feel like it loses meaning because of how often I repeat myself (what can I say, she is an incredibly consistent writer). So to break up the monotony of my reviews, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before – I’m going to explore the characters in a way that is pointedly personal. I recognize that this is incredibly self-indulgent and not really relevant to a professional overview of a book, so just skip down to where the little arrow is if you don’t feel like reading it… I should also mention that it contains a very mild spoiler.
Here’s the thing, while I love Sydney and Adrian as a couple and can see exactly why they work so well together, I have never considered Adrian a proper book boyfriend. Even back in the VA series, I was genuinely shocked, and I mean shocked, to discover that other readers were anything but team Demitri. Let me explain… Call it suppressed daddy issues or self-righteousness, or whatever you want, but I have zero patience for addiction and alcoholism. Even worse, when those addictions are the reasons people let their loved ones down. So introduce poor Adrian and I immediately recoil, putting up a wall between myself and this fictional character because I’ve been down this road before. Then Bloodlines came out and Sidney became involved and I found my heart softening towards an even sympathizing with Adrian for the first time. You might even say I started to like him a little bit. Those two brought out the best in each other and I was starting to think that maybe, just maybe, I’ve been wrong. But then, when Sydney needed him most, Adrian let her down.
I was livid.
I found myself not caring that spirit magic makes ordinary life difficult, because all alcoholics have problems they’re trying to make disappear. I found myself not caring that he’s having a difficult home life with his rich family, because who doesn’t have family issues? I found myself not caring that he’s lonely and empty because he has plenty of other people who care about his well-being (and he abandoned them too). Meanwhile, Sidney was living an absolute nightmare but continued to face each day with quiet strength and determination, managing to make the best out of an awful situation using nothing but her own wits and resourcefulness. She was so compassionate and giving, yet the one time she desperately needed something, her one true love lets her down because he is weak and selfish.
I realize this is incredibly jaded and bitter, but it’s not even about the book itself at this point, but an extremely personal exploration of the type of people Sydney and Adrian represent. It’s funny, because of all the female protagonists I’ve ever read about, I find myself relating to Sydney the most (although I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t admit I wish I had her intelligence). So it kind of makes sense that her attraction to an addictive personality scared the hell out of me. It made me internalize their relationship and make it personal in a way that was unprecedented by any other literary romance.
–> All of that said, it’s incredibly prudent to point out that Richelle Mead doesn’t write about characters, she writes about people. Their personalities are so complete and their behavior so consistent, that it’s almost like you’re reading a journal from someone’s life rather than a made up urban fantasy world. As if having amazing characters weren’t enough, she finds a way to completely immerse you into the story along with them to the point where their highs and lows become your own. I am in awe with Silver Shadows more so than ever before because the particular combination of personalities and situation really hit home for me.
All of Mead’s work has an element of profoundness, and I will continue to boast to anyone who will listen how brilliant I think she is. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. If you need me, I will be recovering from this book and Google searching information on the next one. If you want your world shattered in the best way possible, read Bloodlines, but it really is in your best interest to pick up Vampire Academy first.
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