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. Quoted from Goodreads
Let's be honest, what everyone loves most is Sydney and Adrien's relationship, especially now that (caution: spoilers from the last book ahead) they're together as a couple and half the book is told from Adrien's POV. While I found that this was important in this book, I'm guessing it will be more important in the next one. I love the two of them together. What makes these books stand out from so many others is how much the characters progress and change. The Sydney and Adrien now are very different people from the two we met in Bloodlines, and that's in not small part thanks to each other.
What really drives the book are the characters and relationships. I love the way they interact with each other and how much they've come to care about their little group. Sure, Sydney's sister Zoe adds a problematic ingredient into the mix, but it keeps things interesting, upping the tension, especially for Sydney. Zoe also helps us see how far Sydney has really come since the series started.
What's interesting about these books, is while they're set in our world (mostly), the vampire/alchemist elements drive me crazy. They're perfect for conflict and tension, but never is this painted as a world I'd love to live in. Again, it creates excellent conflict for the characters, but both societies are so stifling, full of injustice and twisted rules that I end up feeling bad for the characters, while at the same time, giving me an almost dystopia feel for the government/laws under which they live.
This book focused more about Sydney finding a way to break free from the Alchemists, while Adrian contributes more to finding an immunity against the Strogoi. They both support and help each other, but I really enjoyed that each of them had their own problem to focus on. It's one of the main things that made the alternating POV work.
All in all, this is a fantastic addition to a wonderful series, and now I'm dying for the next book. I'm going to give this book a high four stars for me. Now I'm stuck waiting for July 29th along with everyone else so I can find out what happens next to Sydney and Adrien.