Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Book Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #6
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date:  February 10th 2015
My Rating: 3 Cups
Source: My copy
Blurb (from Goodreads):


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.

Their forbidden romance exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s bestselling Bloodlines series.

When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, she and Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.

Don't miss their unforgettable final chapter. . . .

**Disclaimer: This is book 6 in the Bloodlines series and book 11 in the Vampire Academy series. Spoilers are unavoidable for previous books. 

The day has come! Jamsu and I have reached the end of our Vampire Academy/Bloodlines, and I feel so sad, you guys! When we started out buddy read, I knew it would be a wonderful experience, but also heartbreaking. I just didn't expect how heartbreaking it would be.

Buckle up, my dear book lovers, and join me for the last time on this wonderful adventure. I mention this in the disclaimer I put above, but this review will contain spoilers. There's just no way around it.

I have to say that my expectations for this book were sky high, especially after reading Silver Shadows. That book was, before I read The Ruby Circle, my favorite of the Bloodlines series, and I expected to like TRC just as much. Unfortunately, as you can guess from my rating, I still like Silver Shadows more. In fact, if it wasn't for the mild cheating plot, as I'm writing this review, I'd be very tempted to bump SS to a 5 star rating. Let's start with what I liked first though, shall we?

I adored that we get some domestic Sydrian. I felt that their issues were understandable and very well explored, as much as they were. Sydney is afraid of what using Spirit means for Adrian's sanity, while Adrian feels that it makes him selfish not to use Spirit when he can help so many people. We once again see the choice theme reappear, the issue that both Lissa and Adrian had in regards to their powers: how do you choose who deserves to be healed and who doesn't. It's been a while since that topic has been touched upon, and I feel like it should have been brought up before, but I am glad it has been brought up now. On the other hand, Sydrian are still hiding from the Alchemists, but also the Moroi who hate their pairing and wish to harm them because of it. And that is also putting some pressure on their relationship. As the cherry on top, Adrian's mom is living with them and let's just say that she's not the easiest to live with.

I also loved that we get to see Sydney perform some pretty badass magic. From changing forms, to battle magic, to defensive spells, she can do it all, and I loved it. Not only do we get to see her engaging in magic, we see her do some pretty old school scavenger hunt, which was pretty cool. And we get to see a lot of witches come together to defeat a common enemy.

Now....this is where things get tricky. I understand that at the time it war written, this book was intended to be the last in this world. And for what we know, Mead may decide never to write in the VA/Bloodlines world ever again and that's fine. But. Because The Ruby Circle is the last in the series, I felt like Mead tried to tie up a lot of loose ends, while also making things a bit more dramatic for Sydney and Adrian, as well as the rest of the characters. It's not that that's a bad thing, but I felt overwhelmed compared to the actual page length of this book. Because the book isn't as thick as even some of the previous books in the series, the last 120 pages felt very packed with details, between the main plot, side characters, subplots, and even the introduction of some very interesting developments for some side characters. So much so that at one point I told Jamsu that I was mentally exhausted. I think in only one chapter I counted about 5 different plots intertwining. That in itself wouldn't bother me, because I love complicated, complex books, but since this is the last book in the series, I felt like they were too many. I just wish that some of the subplots would have been divided between the last two or even three books, as opposed to having them all in the last one.

What this book has, that Last Sacrifice didn't, is a cool "gang reunion" epilogue. We get to see how life is for everyone a year after the main events of the book. We meet up with Sydney and Adrian, who have adopted a baby dhampir and are raising him as their own son, we get to see Angelina and Trey, Jill and Eddie, and Rose and Dimitri. Lissa and Christian are missing and I have to say that as much as I disliked Lissa in this series, I wish they would have been there. They were part of the gang as well, so they deserve to be there in my opinion.

I am horrible at reading series endings, so I probably wouldn't have had the courage to read this book without Jamsu buddy reading it with me. I keep hoping for a new spinoff in this world, especially since there were quite a few bombshells that the gang discovered towards the ending of this book, but I wish it had Neil as one of the main characters. He truly deserves a happy ending after what happened to him.

I expected more, but ultimately I had a ton of fun reading this book and revisiting some of these characters. As always, remember to visit Jamsu and read her review of The Ruby Circle.

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