Check out our episode here! The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Sydney, our favorite Alchemist in charge of keeping Moroi Jill Mastrano Dragomir safe at Amberwood Prep in Palm Springs is currently... not in Palm Springs. She's in an Alchemist bunker in Virginia. As part of her job as an Alchemist, Sydney sometimes has to make reports about her duties. This time, however, she was flown to the bunker and questioned about Keith Darnell. Keith, if you will remember, is a rapist douchebag who was selling vampire blood and alchemist secrets to a tattoo shop back in Palm Springs. When Sydney discovered his plot, she, along with sexy Moroi Adrian Ivashkov, turned Keith in, which resulted in him being sent to an alchemist reeducation center. She's being questioned now about whether or not Keith should be allowed to return to his duties or if he should be reeducated some more. Sydney tells the alchemists interrogating her, including Keith's own father, Tom, that Keith doesn't love vampires, which is the point of the reeducating, but that he's just a terrible person, so he shouldn't be able to return to regular duties but also shouldn't be reeducated. He just needs to be on probation. While leaving the bunker, Sydney is shown a room where reeducation therapy is taking place. A human who desperately wants to be Strigoi is in a room with bright UV lights. He threatens to eat Sydney and her guide, so they leave him there. On her way out and back to Palm Springs, Tom tells her the alchemists are sending Keith back to reeducation.
On her way back to Amberwood, picked up at the airport by Dimitri, Sydney learns that he and Sonya are taking a break from their spirit-magic-healing-Strigoi studies for the weekend. Sydney checks her email and worries that she's getting too close to the Moroi and thinks that she should be the one in the reeducation center. Jill is complaining about Angeline, her new roommate and "cousin" and former member of the Keepers, the mixed backwoods group of Moroi, Dhampirs and humans. She's not fitting in so well at Amberwood. She also has an email from Adrian who refers to himself as prisoner 24601 from Les Mis. She jokingly responds to him that he couldn't possibly have read the book and must have seen the musical instead, but he responds that he read SparkNotes. She deletes the exchange, worrying that it's further proof of her growing affection for vampires.
Back on campus, Sydney has to deal with Angeline who has gotten in trouble for wearing cut off short shorts and Jill's tank tops even though she's way bigger up top than Jill is. Eddie, the dhampir guardian assigned to accompany them and act as their brother, has already gone out and bought Angeline new clothes. He doesn't want to give them to her personally though because she's always flirting with him and he's only got eyes for Jill. Speaking of relationships, Trey Juarez, Sydney's friend and classmate, offers to set her up with a guy that just started working at the coffee shop. She doesn't have time for relationships though. She and Eddie go to Adrian's, formerly Keith's, apartment and get back to work with Sonya and Dimitri on trying to figure out the unStrigoiing process that started at the end of the last book. Nothing has really been learned so far, but they'll continue until they find something. During a break, Sonya and Sydney go grab dinner and a human speaks to Sonya as if he knows her and claims they met in Kentucky a year ago... but that's not possible. She was a Strigoi then and she definitely would have eaten him. Weird.
The next day at school, Sydney works with Ms. Terwilliger who, although she knows Sydney is uncomfortable with humans being able to wield magic, makes her learn spells by translating texts. She sends Sydney on a coffee run where she meets that guy that Trey wanted to set her up with, Brayden. They might actually be soulmates and even make plans to watch Shakespeare later. Aww! Sydney has a date! And EVERYONE has to help her get ready. Her friends Kristin and Julia help pick out an outfit and Jill chimes in with arbitrary rules about ordering food and who should pay. Brayden is just as awkward as Sydney and the date is as vanilla as it gets, though Sydney does crack up when a college bro quietly opens a beer, reminding her of something Adrian would do. The date ends with a handshake and plans to go out again.
The handshake is too much for Adrian. He finds it ridiculous and pokes fun at Sydney when they all go to Clarence's for their biweekly blood drinking. Sonya and Dimitri are staying with Clarence who is pestering Dimitri about changing locks and Vampire Hunters coming for him. Dimitri placates the old vampire and then he and Sonya start talking about the unStrigoiing science again. They tiptoe around Lee's death since he was Clarence's son but the fact that his blood tasted different to the Strigoi means something. When it's Adrian's turn with the feeder, he asks Sydney to walk with him and he asks her to drive him to visit his father in a few weeks. Things haven't been good between them since the end of Last Sacrifice with Adrian's mom in jail and him being cut off financially, but he hopes that he'll be able to convince his father that he's a better person, attending college, and worthy of his respect... and money. Sydney agrees to take him and then she returns to the unStrigoiing conversation.
Sonya and Dimitri have realized the thing that Sydney was hoping they'd never realize. That her Alchemist blood was completely undrinkable by the Strigoi and Lee. They want to run tests on it, which freaks her out. Humans should NEVER give their blood to vampires. She politely declines several times but they keep insisting. Adrian comes in then, angry, yelling at Sonya and Dimitri to leave Sydney alone and to respect her wishes. Whoa. They leave Clarence's after that. No one's ever seen Adrian so angry or protective before. Sydney thinks he's just doing it because she's driving him to see his father. Jill doesn't believe that for a second.
Back at school, Angeline is back to unflinchingly flirting with Eddie and asks him to go to the school Halloween dance with her. When Jill and Micah, Eddie's roommate and Jill's boyfriend, come up, Micah finds it odd that these COUSINS want to go to the dance together. Uh oh, the family cover story is slipping. They play it off as a joke but uh, that's not funny. Sydney goes on another date with Brayden to a wind farm and when she disagrees with him on renewable resources, he kisses her! Apparently no one ever tells him he's wrong. Then he asks her to the dance and on another date.
Later, Sydney helps Ms. Terwilliger again and they get into a sort of argument about her forcing Sydney to learn magic when she clearly is opposed to it, but Ms. Terwilliger tells her that sure, magic can be bad when used for the wrong reasons, but Sydney is level headed and does things for the right reasons, and she has an innate magical ability. She's sent off for coffee after that. Sydney begs Trey for help with Brayden because now he's buying her flowers and she doesn't know what to do. Ugh. Relationships.
Sydney and Brayden's date ends up being on the morning she promised to take Adrian to see his dad, so he gets to meet Brayden and puts on the overprotective brother act. They leave before he can be too hard on him though. They arrive at the restaurant and while they wait for Adrian's dad to arrive, Adrian asks if Brayden makes her happy. He doesn't make her unhappy, so that's something…? Plus, she doesn't have to dumb things down with him. Adrian is mockingly offended and tells her she never has to dumb things down with him because he likes learning from her, she's like a picture book or an after school special. Then Adrian's dad arrives.
Lunch with Nathan Ivashkov is the worst. He's terrible to Adrian and bossy and arrogant and really, just the worst. Adrian asks about his mom in between being put down over and over again and learns that Nathan will not tell Adrian anything about Daniella because he thinks she's better off without him. She was always worried about him and got sent to prison trying to help him. Basically everything terrible that has ever happened is all Adrian's fault. On the drive back to Palm Springs, Adrian is depressed because of everything his father said, not really that he said it, but that he said it in front of Sydney and that she might have believed that Adrian is awful. Adrian doesn't know that when he stormed out of the restaurant after one too many chastisements, Sydney stood up to Nathan on his behalf. Sydney puts her hand on Adrian's, feeling a tingly rush that she definitely doesn't get from Brayden, and tells Adrian that she thinks very highly of him and appreciates him. Then, they stop for slushies, something Adrian mentioned he loves.
Back at school, they have an assembly, one of those no sex, no alcohol, abstinence is great things which is so stupid. Jill is constantly giggling, but probably because Adrian is depressed and drunk because of his terrible father and she's picking it up through the bond. Eddie wants to do something about it, about Adrian constantly making Jill go through stuff like this, and Sydney shockingly says that she could try being happy about being alive thanks to Adrian. Whoa. Before they can talk much more about that, one of the abstinence band members tries to get Angeline to come up on stage and dance, but then she punches that guy and another couple of band mates and throws a speaker. Sydney is forced to go to the principal's office with her and when she's threatened with expulsion, Sydney says that the guy should not have put his hands on Angeline. Then Angeline starts crying, saying she was overwhelmed and the guy was scary and she didn't know what to do. The principal only suspends her. This time. Afterward, Sydney goes off on Angeline and tells her she needs to do better and to please, for the love of everything, stop flirting with Eddie because it's making him miserable.
To get away from her "family" drama, Sydney goes to Clarence's to talk to Dimitri and Sonya about Adrian and they end up going out to dinner. Sydney hopes that they can talk Lissa into telling Nathan Ivashkov that Adrian is doing good things. Sonya says she will definitely talk to Lissa. When Dimitri gets a phone call from Rose, Sonya suggests they give him some privacy, so she and Sydney go to a costume shop for something for Sydney to wear to the Halloween dance. While there, Sydney is approached by Lia, the fashion designer that Jill modeled for in Bloodlines. She desperately wants Jill to come back, but she can't because she doesn't need to be seen since, you know, she's in hiding. Lia won't stop until she gets Jill back and offers to make them Halloween costumes, possibly as bribery, possibly because cheap Halloween costumes are the worst. As Sydney and Sonya leave the shop, they are attacked!
The attackers come at Sonya with a sword, call her an evil creature of the night, and try to decapitate her. Sydney screams for help and Dimitri comes running. He fights off the guy with the sword and the others say they should leave, probably terrified at the fighting Russian in a duster. Sydney didn't get a good look at them, but she knew they were human and kind of thought one was familiar. Gasp! Maybe it was that guy who claimed to know Sonya earlier! They examine the sword after the guys run off and Sydney recognizes an ancient Alchemy symbol on it, a circle and dot that used to represent the sun and/or gold, but Alchemists wouldn't attack like that. They head to Adrian's afterward because it's close by. He is concerned for Sydney's well-being. Sonya offers to heal a scrape on Sydney's face with her spirit magic, but she turns her down.
With Ms. Terwilliger the next day, Sydney focuses on the spells, but also thinks about self-defense. She asks Ms. Terwilliger about the point of using spells to fight because they take a long time to prepare. They talk about the fire charm that was quick and useful, and then Ms. Terwilliger starts talking about other things that could be useful for defense, but Sydney clams up then, claiming she doesn't want to use magic like that, or at all. Not what it seems, Sydney... Trey comes in then, asking for notes he missed from class earlier, saying he was away for family reasons. That's an excuse Sydney uses a lot... He's been missing class a lot and he's always covered in bruises... Hmm... She gets texts from Brayden asking her to dinner and from Adrian asking how she's feeling and if she wants to take self defense classes together. He also asks if she thinks Clarence might be telling the truth about the Vampire Hunters after all. If so, he definitely needs to learn some defense too. After all her texting, Trey asks if Angeline got expelled and is excited that she only got suspended because he wants to ask her out!
Sydney has her first self defense class the next day with Adrian. They drive out in the middle of nowhere to what looks like the set of a horror movie and pay a scruffy looking guy with an eye patch named Wolf $150 for their lessons. Wolf, though seemingly shady, is actually a pretty good instructor. He teaches the small group ways to get away or to avoid being attacked in the first place then let's them practice on each other. As Adrian goes for a break, Sydney sneak attacks him and they're both startled by the touch and close contact. When she gets back to school, she talks to Jill who is worried because Micah kissed her. What if he saw her fangs? She can't let that happen. Then Sydney gets a couple of deliveries, Halloween costumes from Lia and a protective spells book from Ms. Terwilliger. The spell book makes her so angry and she plans to return it soon.
The time for the Halloween dance arrives and Sydney is appalled by her RED Grecian dress. Lia really overdid it. Sydney never, ever wears red but she's stunning and everyone tells her so. She, Eddie and Jill go to the dance and meet up with Brayden and Micah. They are dancing and enjoying themselves but then Jill spots Angeline who is definitely still suspended and who is definitely not supposed to be there. A teacher heads toward her and Trey who are near the punchbowl, but then it conveniently explodes. Sydney glances at Jill who at least looks a little sheepish. Sydney tells Eddie he's got to get Angeline out of there and tells Jill to get Micah and leave. It's not like anyone will actually know she exploded the punchbowl with water magic, but still. As Sydney and Brayden share another dance, her phone rings. It's Adrian. He's outside.
And drunk. When he sees Sydney in her dress, he brightens, but then Brayden comes out, asking if everything's okay. Adrian mockingly compliments Brayden's costume and then Brayden goes off on how historically inaccurate Sydney's beautiful red dress is. Sydney takes Adrian home after that and it starts to storm. When she gets him inside, they realize the power is out so she helps get him settled and starts to leave. Brayden keeps texting her about coming back to the dance and gets less and less nice about it each time. She's heading out when Adrian stops her. He tells her that he got drunk that night so he could talk to her. Normally he gets drunk to stop the effects of spirit from overwhelming him, and tonight, he needed a spirit-clear head to talk to her.
He asks if she talked Lissa into talking to his dad. Well, she didn't exactly, but yes. But why? She tells him that he didn't deserve any of those terrible things his father said and that he needs to know that Adrian is good and capable. Well, he apparently thinks he is now because he's given Adrian an allowance and is buying him a car. Then he talks about Brayden being a jerk and not gushing over how gorgeous Sydney is and saying she was inaccurately dressed, but she says that's just his way. Then they talk more about spirit and how it makes Adrian lose focus, so Sydney takes off the cross necklace she always always wears and gives it to him. They are very close to each other when the power comes back on, shocking them both. Adrian says he doesn't need the cross because now he's got something else to keep him focused.
The next day, Jill is upset about Micah. Apparently they got into a fight about him asking her to meet his family at Thanksgiving. She had to turn him down, and made up a bunch of obvious excuses because she's a vampire, and things are moving too quickly for her at 15, but she can't tell him that, at least the vampire part! Now he doesn't think she likes him anymore. Eddie tells her to tell him the truth, that things are going too quickly and if he doesn't understand, then he's not the right guy for her. She leaves to talk to him, but not before complimenting Sydney in the most awkwardly kind of flirty way.
Sydney goes to see Ms. Terwilliger who talks to her about the protective spells book. She wants Sydney to make one again and this time, she maybe kind of wants to. But what. No! She can't want to do that! She's got a while before the assignment is due, so she'll figure something out. She goes out to return Lia's dresses, not wanting her to get any ideas about Jill modeling for her again and stops for coffee on the way back to campus. She's approached by two guys. The same two guys that attacked her and Sonya! They know she's an Alchemist and believe that Sonya is a Strigoi who has somehow fooled everyone into believing she's Moroi. They've been watching her and that apartment she went in. Gasp! Adrian's! Sydney plays dumb and they keep talking. They can't believe that the Alchemists have split so far away from their group. They used to be the same, killing all vampires, but now, the Alchemists are working for them! They give her a pamphlet and leave. The pamphlet declares they are called the Warriors of Light.
Sydney and the others meet up at Clarence's to discuss the Warriors of Light. They decide that it is Sonya the Warriors are after, not any of the other Moroi, so they make plans for her to go back to court. Clarence still thinks they're after him since they followed him years ago and killed his niece (even though his son actually did that) and he says that a human named Marcus helped to hide him. Sydney decides to track this guy down and plans on calling her Alchemist superiors and telling them everything. Before they drop Adrian off and head back to school, Sydney decides to give Sonya some of her blood for testing. Discovering the unStrigoiing is very important, especially since Sonya is now leaving them, so Sydney puts her aversions aside and gives her blood.
When they get to Adrian's to drop him off, Sydney is stunned to see a springtime yellow '67 mustang convertible parked outside. Adrian reveals that it's his, it's what he bought when his father gave him car money, but he says he can't drive it because it's a stick shift. Sydney, being the car enthusiast that she is, offers to teach him when they drive to Wolf's for their next lesson.
Back at Amberwood, Angeline says she'll stick closer to Jill to keep her safe just in case since they don't really know too much about the Warriors of Light, and Sydney finally cracks down on her assignment from Ms. Terwilliger. Like with giving her blood, she's letting down her aversions to magic use, too. All she has to do is make one spell from the protection spell book, but which one would be best? Blinding and immobilization certainly would have helped her in the alley attack. They all would be useful in some way, so... She decides to make them all. Self-defense is very important lately.
Speaking of... Sydney and Adrian take the mustang to Wolf's later. They're meant to be fighting each other off, but Adrian seems to have given up or lost interest in the class. Afterward, Sydney asks him about it, if maybe he has some unwillingness to touch her. Nah, self defense just isn't his thing. When they get back to his apartment, after she tries to teach him how to drive the mustang, Sonya is there with important news. All magical elements were discovered in Sydney's blood and Sonya wants more to study. Nope. No no no. No way. Maybe she can ask another Alchemist for blood, but hers? Off the table. Adrian steps up to defend her again and Sonya dejectedly leaves, Sydney leaving shortly after.
She goes to the library for a book where she sees Eddie and Jill. They talk about Micah and how Jill is not going to Thanksgiving with him, but then they ask to plan their own Thanksgiving at Clarence's. Jill also swooningly tells Sydney how great and pretty she is and how much fun Adrian has with her in their classes and in driving the mustang. As she's leaving the library, perplexed, she runs into Trey, still looking beat up. She offers to talk if he needs it, and he tells her and Jill to be careful. Something's going on...
Back in her room, Sydney calls Stanton, her Alchemist superior, who tells her she hasn't found out anything about Marcus, the human who helped Clarence, but she does reveal that very few Alchemists know about the Warriors of Light and that they did truly used to be part of the Alchemists. She says that until now they were only interested in killing Strigoi, so it wasn't really a big deal, but things aren't looking so good anymore. She also tells Sydney that she's very proud of the work she's been doing lately and that hopefully she'll be able to get her a new position away from them soon. Sydney thanks Stanton, but realizes her life would be very lonely without her new friends.
The next day, Sydney talks to Eddie. Apparently he's stopped training Jill, but why? They also talk about how weirdly flirty she has been with her lately. Eddie says Sydney gives Jill a lot to look up to and that he doesn't feel comfortable with physically training her since he likes her so much. Hmm. Later, before a date to a textile factory with Brayden, Sydney takes Adrian and the mustang to a shop to get it checked out because he didn't think to do that after buying it. While the mechanic works, they go for a walk and find themselves in a ritzy neighborhood. Adrian compels a gardener to let them in the backyard of one of the mansions and it's beautiful. Sydney doesn't like his magic use, but appreciates that he did this to make her smile. Then she realizes that they're out in the blazing sun and Adrian is a vampire! She grabs his hand, feels a tingle, and rushes them back to the mechanic so he can cool down. They're both sweaty and disheveled and Sydney's got her date to go on. She texts Brayden who is upset that her family engagement will leave them only an hour at the textile factory, so she suggests going to dinner instead.
When she arrives at her date, Brayden immediately judges her appearance, but she brushes it off as, again, it's just his way. Ugh. They eat and chat about scholarly things and then go to a park where Brayden kisses her. The kiss doesn't feel like anything and Brayden abruptly pulls away, apologizing for kissing her in public. The date ends shortly thereafter because Adrian calls. Sonya is missing!
Sydney rushes to Adrian's. He and Dimitri are worried, trying to figure out where Sonya could have gone, where she would be if she were taken, or if she is even still alive. Sydney thinks that it's all her fault Sonya is gone. If she had just let Sonya take some of her blood the other night, she might not have been taken because they would have still been together. It's then Sydney realizes that like when she got past her hang-up with giving her blood and doing magic earlier, she needs to do it again. She calls Ms. Terwilliger and asks for help.
Sydney and Adrian go to Ms. Terwilliger's house and ask her about a locating spell. After several hours of preparing the spell and scrying, Sydney sees a clue to where Sonya is. She sees an abandoned warehouse-looking place and a sun, but not the one used on the Warriors of Light's sword. It's a newer version. Remember that sun tattoo Trey has? It's that one. She calls Eddie and they confront Trey. He's been missing classes and is constantly beat up because he's a Warrior of Light, but it seems like he's not super comfortable with it. He was one of the guys that attacked Sydney and Sonya, but he likes Sydney so much and even tried to keep her and Jill safe. They try to explain to him that Sonya is no longer a Strigoi, but he doesn't believe that and tells them that Sonya hasn't been killed yet, but they've been battling over who gets to kill her. Sydney convinces him to take her to this compound. She is an Alchemist after all.
Trey picks Sydney up later. Everyone is very worried about her and upset that she won't have any way of protecting herself, but Sydney is not concerned. She believes Trey won't hurt her. He makes her blindfold herself and they head to the compound. Upon arrival, Sydney is searched. Several Warriors empty her purse but don't find anything too odd inside, apart from a sachet of potpourri. There's also a bracelet and some hand sanitizer. Sydney explains the potpourri is a harmless alchemist material, and that she made sure to take out all her acids and dangerous stuff before coming. She also notices a pair of earrings in her purse that she doesn't recognize, but she doesn't mention them. They take her to an arena, The Arena of Divine Radiance of Holy Gold, where she meets the leaders of the Warriors and has to watch Trey and his cousin Chris fight for the chance to kill Sonya. Trey almost seems as if he lets his cousin win. They bring Sonya out and finally allow Sydney to speak on her behalf, but the Warriors refuse to believe that a Strigoi can be restored, and even if so, it doesn't matter, they're going to deal with the Moroi eventually too. As Chris is about to decapitate Sonya, there is an explosion of gunfire and Dimitri, Eddie and a ton of other guardians arrive.
There is a lot of confusion now that guardians are rushing the Warrior compound, but Dimitri and Eddie get Sonya to safety. Sydney uses the inconspicuous potpourri in her purse, which is actually a blindness charm, to escape the Warrior leaders. She runs off through the compound and finds a way outside, melting a doorknob with the acid concealed as hand sanitizer. As she's running away into the middle of nowhere, a hand suddenly grabs her shoulder. It's Adrian! He definitely wasn't supposed to come tonight, but he couldn't not help Sydney. He tells her he was able to find her because no one else has an aura like hers, yellow and purple. They run together toward the electrified fence surrounding the compound and, as they begin to climb a section that the guardians deactivated, they are found by Warriors. Sydney uses another inconspicuous thing from her purse, the bracelet that, when broken, causes disorientation. Adrian is affected too, but they manage to get away and to his mustang. He gets her in the passenger side and they drive off, back to Clarence's.
Sydney is pretty upset about everyone else having a plan and not telling her about it, but Dimitri explains that when he talked to Stanton, she told him Sydney would go along with it without question if she were told anyway because she's a rule follower and a great alchemist. She also gave him the earrings to throw in her purse which would track her location. Hmph. She's really bothered that Adrian didn't tell her any of this. She thought she meant more to him and that he would hate lying to her, but he says he believed in her the whole time. Again. Hmph. Clarence is so excited that everyone finally believes him about the Vampire Hunters, which reminds Sydney to ask him about Marcus, who she found out from the Warrior leaders, is a disgraced Alchemist. He says he has a picture of him somewhere...
A few days later, Sydney takes Sonya to the airport so she can go back to court. On the way, she asks her what the colors of her aura mean. Yellow is intellectual and purple is spiritual but passionate. It represents deep love and a desire to seek a higher calling. Well, that kind of sounds just like Sydney. Before leaving, Sonya gives her the photograph of Marcus. He has a geometrical indigo tattoo on his face that looks like it's clearly covering a golden Alchemist lily. Interesting. She'll have to figure him out... Later, she talks to Jill who was tricked into being photographed by Lia and shows Sydney her picture in a magazine. This can't be good, but maybe the magazine is local and no Moroi will spot it. She also finds out Jill broke up with Micah because it just can't work between them. And now she kind of has a crush on Eddie. That's no good because Eddie has just decided to give Angeline a chance... Sheesh. Relationships.
Sydney runs into Trey after that and they are still friends even though all the terrible stuff happened with the Warriors. He and his father have been outcast for bringing her into the compound and then, you know, the guardians coming and everything falling into chaos. He gives her her phone which he's had since they arrived at the compound and she has a ton of texts from Brayden. Ugh. She texts him that she lost her phone for a few days and apologizes and then they plan to meet up. Where he breaks up with her for not being ready to be in a relationship and for being so irresponsible. Ha. Ha. Ha.
After this, Sydney goes to Adrian's. She wants to confront him about being able to drive the mustang because she finally realized that he drove them away from the compound like he's been driving manual for his entire life. He tells her that he did it to be close to her. And then he kisses her. Sparks and tingles all over the place! But oh no! They can't do this. Sydney CAN'T kiss a vampire! It's WRONG! She explains to him that her golden lily means something to her. Being an Alchemist is important to her. The things the Alchemists believe in are important to her too! Plus, isn't he in love with Rose? He tells her no. He hasn't thought about her in a long time. Sydney is who he thinks about before falling asleep. Sydney makes him want to be a better man and not just to impress her, but because he genuinely wants to be better. She can't handle it though and leaves.