I really enjoyed everything about this book. There were so many elements that I was pleasantly surprised with. The tone of the book, as well as Sydney's voice changed. Not only did Sydney grow up and into her own person, but there was a separation from this series and The Vampire Academy series. As much as I enjoyed a lot of elements in the book, I had a hard time accepting a few things. For one, I felt that Jill shouldn't be as helpless as she is. There were times when I wanted to shake her, but only because I think she's stronger than that. I feel that she's been through enough to have a sense of who she is. There are other things, but I cannot talk about it for it will spoil things. In the end, I enjoyed The Golden Lily for all that it was. I felt a lot of emotion, and in my book, that is always a great thing. Can't wait to see what happens next!Edit: Posted review on Dark Faerie Tales.Richelle Mead captivated me with her Vampire Academy series. With her latest series, Bloodlines, it solidified my fangirl status for her writing, stories, and characters. In The Golden Lily, the second book of the Bloodlines series, it was like going back to school and being greeted by familiar faces. Mead’s world and characters is established and familiar, but she always manages to surprise and entertain me.The Golden Lily revolves around Sydney. Where Bloodlines focused on the new life outside of the Academy, The Golden Lily showcases Sydney and her life with the Alchemists. Sydney must find a balance to uphold her duties, staying true to her beliefs, all while keeping Jill safe. There is unwarranted danger, and on top of everything that Sydney has going on, this is just another day for an Alchemist.Sydney has grown so much as a character. In my mind, she is no longer the Alchemist that I met in the Vampire Academy books. She is no longer the same girl that I met in Bloodlines. Instead, she is becoming an individual who is loyal to her friends and beliefs. At times, I felt that those two things overlapped, putting Sydney at a conflicting crossroads. Sydney is still uptight at times, but she wouldn’t be Sydney without having all of her quirks. I’m happy with where Mead is taking her. Each scenario has shown how Sydney can step up and make a calculated decision, putting what is most important in the forefront of that decision.It wouldn’t be a Mead story without the supporting characters. Dimitri and Sonya are supporting characters, but not exactly two that just blend into the background. Their reasons for being in Palm Springs has proved to be an interesting storyline, one that I can’t wait to see the results of. Adrian has grown in The Golden Lily. He is maturing, showing interest in something other than himself. It’s nice to see, and whenever he’s in a scene, it’s always a good thing. I’m not a huge fan of Angelique, but she keeps Eddie and Jill busy. I’m sure there will be use for her later on, but as for now, I’d rather just skip over her parts.While Mead’s world of the academy was home for a while, Amberwood Prep has made for an interesting new setting. But most of the scenes in The Golden Lily take place around Palm Springs, or even around Southern California. The freedom to change scenes and locations add another element to the story that wasn’t always there in the Vampire Academy series. It added more danger and intrigue, never allowing me to know for sure that things were safe.I can’t really say much and spoil the rest of the story, but Mead brings the tone to a little dark place within The Golden Lily. Magic and rogue groups fill the pages later on in the story, and it brings the action level up, definitely. It’s something that I have been missing in the series, thus far, and I’m glad that this second installment got a good taste of it.There’s a lot of growth throughout the story, the characters, and everything surrounding them. Mead always makes for an interesting read, and I find myself engrossed in her world.