The Ruby Circle
Check out our episode here! The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
It's been one month since Adrian and Sydney Ivashkov tied the knot in a surprise last ditch effort to make the Alchemists leave Sydney alone. They are cooped up at Court with Daniela, Adrian's mom, and things are not going well. When Daniela goes to the feeders, Adrian plans a surprise candlelit evening for his bride to celebrate their one month anniversary, but it's immediately ruined when Daniela comes back, turns on all the lights, complains about there being too many candles, eats their chocolates and compliments Adrian on the flowers he healed someone for. Jeez, mom! Way to ruin everything! Sydney gets upset with Adrian for using his Spirit magic on something so trivial, which makes both him and the voice of Aunt Tatiana flare with anger so he storms out. Happy anniversary...?
Adrian goes to visit Queen Lissa for permission for he and Sydney to search for Jill, who, if you will remember, disappeared like magic right after the impromptu wedding. Denied. Lissa says Rose and Dimitri are on it, plus she's not going to just let them flounce off right after she stuck her neck out to keep them safe from the Alchemists. Nope. No way. Dejected, he leaves and promptly gets the shit beat out of him by the Dabblin' Bros from Fiery Heart who are still pissed at him. Luckily Eddie and Neil come to help before too long and they have news. Ms. Terwilliger came to visit! With a cat! And she left! With a cat! And without a cat! Wait. What?
Ms. Terwilliger came to court with her cat, Mr. Bojangles, and a box that was magicked to open only for Sydney. Inside the box is a magazine ad from that time that Lia the fashion designer tricked Jill into modeling for her. Did you forget all about that? We kind of did. Also in the box is a flyer for a robot museum in Pittsburgh. Well that's just weird. But don't worry! It gets weirder! Since Sydney is forbidden from leaving Court, Ms. Terwilliger, the hero that she is, has come prepared with a pretty interesting escape plan. She teaches Sydney a complex spell that she uses to transform herself into the likeness of Mr. Bojangles. Ms. Terwilliger then leaves with a cat and without a cat. Sydney is in the cat carrier and Mr. Bojangles now lives at Court for the time being. Together plus Eddie but minus Adrian, they leave for the robot museum.
Shortly after they leave, Sonya comes by. She needs Adrian's help with Nina. Oh great. Nina. Just who Adrian wants to see. Sonya is concerned about her well being because she lost her job, she's stopped trying to work on the Strigoi vaccine, and she can't really get anything from her. It turns out that Nina hasn't slept in weeks because she's been trying to dreamfind her sister, Olive. (Remember, Nina restored Olive from being a Strigoi and then they used some of her blood to give Neil the Strigoi vaccine tattoo and then Olive and Neil really hit it off and then she decided she needed a break and ran away.) Neil really misses Olive, so he and Adrian agree to help.
Meanwhile, Sydney, Ms. Terwilliger and Eddie go to the robot museum. They scope out the place during open hours and Eddie has a very interesting conversation with one of the workers about a giant Raptorbot that starred in some movies that now resides in the museum. They break in after hours to do some magical searching and find a clue inside the Raptorbot, but then they are attacked by fotianas, which are angry magic fireflies. They fight off all the fireflies and then look at the clue. It's an envelope with a sandstone brick inside, a map of the Missouri Ozarks and a lock of Jill's hair.
Rose, who is no longer searching for Jill, comes by to take Adrian and Sydney, who is "sleeping," to see the Moroi training to fight. Christian is leading the Fire users and Mia is leading the Water users and it's pretty cool, but then he leaves to meet up with Nina. They dream together to find Olive and they do, but the dream is weird. Olive, a Dhampir, is controlling the dream somehow, but that's not a thing. Nina and Adrian have to use a bunch of Spirit magic to fight a lava monster and by the time they defeat it, Olive makes the dream end. Just before that happens, Nina forces the dream to show them Olive's surroundings, which is also something new, but it's still not helpful as they didn't defeat the lava monster in time to get any real info from Olive. They'll just have to try it again. Adrian doesn't want to because fighting Olive's dream monsters uses a bonkers amount of magic and Sydney really doesn't like him using his magic since he's slowly going crazy from it, but he agrees anyway, for a price.
Sydney, Eddie and Ms. Terwilliger get to Missouri, but they make sure to stay far away from St. Louis and the Alchemist facility there. They stop at a restaurant and use the sandstone brick as a centerpiece which the waitress recognizes as being from a castle in the Ozarks, Ha Ha Tonka, so that's where they head next. But, wouldn't you know it, when they stop at a gas station, freaking Jared and Zoe Sage are there. Zoe sees Sydney and asks her if she was really tortured in reeducation and Sydney's like, yeah!, and then Zoe tells them to run. Weird. At Ha Ha Tonka, Ms. Terwilliger and Sydney, but not Eddie, can see the next clue high up on the wall in the castle. It's a golden brick. Eddie, invisible, led by Sydney's descriptions, climbs the wall to retrieve it.
They stay at a campsite that night and while Eddie's on watch, the golden brick starts to melt and burn and then it attacks! Sydney and Ms. Terwilliger use ice spells to stop it. The gold freezes in the shape of a lake and guess where it is. Palm Springs. Then the frozen gold puddle explodes into razor blades. Wait, haven't we seen a razor blade attack before? Sydney starts a protection spell and so does Ms. Terwilliger, but they're not fast enough. Luckily ADRIAN is though! He, after getting Nina's help to escape Court as payment for his agreeing to dream with her again in the future, waltzes out of the woods just in time to save them from being shredded.
Sydney finally realizes who it is that is after them. It's Alicia. Remember when Sydney threw magic razors at her in Ms. Terwilliger's burning house? Well it seems she survived and has kidnapped Jill in retaliation. Ms. Terwilliger agrees and believes that Alicia has been sending them on this ridiculous scavenger hunt to weaken Sydney magically. She says she'll get the Stelle, the coven Sydney joined, to do some reconnaissance and Eddie goes with her to help. Sydney and Adrian need to stay in hiding, so they split up. Finally, Adrian and Sydney can be alone again! And they immediately go to a bed and breakfast where they are attacked by a squirrel and then have sex. (The squirrel lives at the bed and breakfast as a sort of mascot. When it surprises Sydney in the shower, they let it out into the wild and we never hear from it again.)
After the love making, and a sort of fight between Sydney and Adrian about Adrian wielding too much Spirit magic, Adrian falls asleep and Nina pulls him into a dream. But oh no! He just promised Sydney he wouldn't do this again! Well, he does and he and Nina fight dream Strigoi to get to Olive, and Nina uses way too much power setting them all on dream fire. As she crumples to the ground screaming, her mind completely shattered, Adrian manages to see Olive before the dream dissolves. She's wearing a cloak and a weird necklace. And oh yeah. She's pregnant. Adrian and Sydney talk to Lissa and Rose and Dimitri about everything that's going on. Dimitri, having grown up in a Dhampir commune, recognizes the sketch of Olive's necklace that Adrian made as a commune symbol and finds out where it is. They also talk about kind of knowing where Jill might be, or at least who has her, but it's not enough information for Lissa to really do anything with just yet.
Rose and Dimitri meet up with Adrian and Sydney and they go to the commune where they think Olive is hiding and she is there. So is Adrian's uncle/Dimitri's dad. Shock! Twist! Dimitri never knew his father's last name because he only visited when he wanted to bang Dimitri's mom and then Dimitri punched him so he stopped going. Remember all that from Vampire Academy? Everyone, including Adrian and Dimitri, is shocked to find out that they are cousins. Uncle Dad Randall is pretty shitty to everyone and is at the commune drunkenly debauching more Dhampirs and we all wish that Dimitri would punch him again, but he doesn’t because…
There's a Strigoi attack! Olive runs off into the woods, has the baby, and then dies. But not before revealing that Neil is the baby's father. What? Shock! Twist! Again! Since she was restored with Spirit magic, apparently she can have a baby with another Dhampir which is not something that has ever happened before. She names the baby Declan and gives him to Adrian, which means something very significant in a Dhampir commune. Whoever you give your baby to is considered its guardian in the untimely event of your immediate death. Good thing they know Neil and can safely deliver the miracle baby to his actual father.
After this, they call up Daniela and convince her to go to Clarence's house in Palm Springs to help take care of this baby. They don't tell Neil the truth about him just yet, though. Then they meet up with Eddie and Ms. Terwilliger and the Stelle plus Trey Juarez and begin to make a plan to get Jill back. They search the lake that the golden brick clue led them to, but didn't turn up anything. Ms. Terwilliger kind of thought that would happen since all these extra people are involved and it's not just Sydney going on a wild, magic draining goose chase. Alicia probably got thrown off and will probably do something unexpected. All the witches are angry at Alicia so they all want to help defeat her, which is good. Ms. Terwilliger wants Sydney to be safe, so she suggests that she stop by Wolfe's to get some extra protection. Adrian goes back to Clarence's to be with his mom and secret baby Declan while Sydney and Eddie go to Wolfe's.
And something unexpected happens. Instead of being met by a sea of chihuahuas and a grizzly but helpful Wolfe, they are met by explosions and Alicia. Sydney asks where Jill is, but Alicia says something weird about them never seeing her again and how she has to listen to psalms. Then they get into an epic magic battle during which Alicia freezes Eddie. In between throwing fireballs and mirror shields and water spells, Wolfe's place catches on fire and the chihuahuas attack. Alicia tries to trap Sydney inside the burning compound, but luckily Sydney is really smart and when Alicia tries to freeze her with the same spell she used on Eddie, chihuahuas attack, and Sydney uses Alicia's mirror charm against her, freezing her with her own spell. Wolfe and Sydney pull the frozen Eddie and Alicia out of the fire just as help arrives. Fire fighters come and so do Ms. Terwilliger, Adrian, Trey and a bunch of other witches. They unfreeze Eddie and have plans to unfreeze Alicia, although it would be convenient to just leave her like that, but they need to find out more about Jill. Trey says not so fast. He thinks, based on the Psalms clue, that Alicia gave Jill to the Warriors of Light.
They decide to leave Alicia frozen for a couple of days to drain her of her magic with plans to have Adrian compel answers from her after they unfreeze her. In the meantime, they meet up with Marcus and his friend Sabrina, who you may remember from the beginning of Bloodlines, who is undercover with the Warriors of Light. They make a plan to get Sydney and Eddie in with the Warriors who often have recruitments and Sabrina is going to help. Adrian contacts Lissa and tells her they think the Warriors have Jill and asks if she can get the Alchemists to investigate, but Lissa doesn't think anything will come of it. Unfortunately, the Alchemists, who are always looking for Marcus and now Sydney, have found them and there is another high speed chase scene like from Silver Shadows. They manage to get away and to a safe house with one of Marcus's friends who happens to be a pot-dealing hippie.
At the hippie's house, Adrian talks to Lissa again who says the Alchemists know Sydney is on the run and they can't really help find Jill without real hard evidence that the Warriors have her. Hopefully Sydney and Eddie will have that soon. He arrives then with some of the witches and they make a potion to make Sydney super strong and then they change her appearance and Eddie's. They used to pretend to be twins at Amberwood and now they're at it again. They also have a Twilight Newborn Vampire Bella versus Emmett style arm wrestling match in which Sydney almost beats Eddie, but doesn't. No one punches or kicks apart any giant boulders. After this, Sabrina, Sydney and Eddie head out for the Warriors' compound and Adrian goes with the witches to unfreeze Alicia.
At the Warriors of Light compound, before they can sneak around and find out about Jill, Sydney and Eddie, or Fiona and Fred, have to compete in violent flag-football style competitions in which they have to beat up others and steal heart necklaces. FredEddie has no trouble in being one of the winners of his competition, but FionaSydney struggles a bit. Six males will be allowed to go on to the next stage of joining the Warriors, but only two females will be selected and, well, even with her potion, Sydney only wins by cleverness. Instead of fighting the other girls, she waits until the last minute, punches the winner of the boys' round and steals his hearts. Clever, but risky. Luckily it pays off.
When they are sent to rest for the evening, Sydney makes herself invisible and searches the compound. She comes across a meeting of the leaders of the Warriors and hears them mention a girl that is definitely Jill and also some shady dealings with the Alchemists involving those performance-enhancing tattoos from book one. If she had that kind of info to give to the Alchemists, she might be able to buy her freedom, so later, she releases some fotianas causing the Warriors to think the Apocalypse has begun and steals the laptop they're using to take notes. She does have to punch out the leader of the Warriors in order to get it, but it was worth it. She, Eddie and Sabrina flee from the Apocalyptic chaos and take the laptop to Marcus.
Marcus and his hippie friend crack into the laptop with zero trouble and find out about the compound where Jill is being held except for its location, and a lot of juicy Alchemist details that Sydney uses to her advantage. She calls up her old Alchemist boss, Stanton, and offers her the names of four Alchemists who are selling the tattoo secrets to the Warriors, two now and two later, if Stanton agrees to help them rescue Jill, leave her and Adrian alone, leave the rest of the people who broke out of reeducation alone and stop reeducation altogether. Stanton doesn't think she'll be able to pull all that off, but she agrees to try.
While all that was happening, Adrian was met by Sonya in a spirit dream. She showed Adrian that Nina's mind is completely broken and they don't think she'll ever recover. It was the same thing that happened to Avery Lazar in Vampire Academy, remember? Probably the same thing that's going to happen to Adrian, too, unless he lays off the spirit use himself. But he can't do that! He's got to go with the witches to unfreeze Alicia and compel her! Neil picks him up and they go to do just that. Neil meets baby Declan but doesn't know he's his son and Adrian doesn't want to tell him that hey, that kid is your miracle son that you had with another Dhampir that you loved who is now dead and who died trying to keep the miracle baby from being discovered because surely everyone would want to experiment on him. That's not going to be a good conversation. Anyway, the witches unfreeze Alicia and Adrian uses a ton of Spirit to compel her and learns that the Warriors are keeping Jill in a compound in Utah. Alicia is frozen again and then Adrian has the dreaded conversation with Neil who decides he never wants to see Declan again.
When Adrian and Sydney get together again after all this craziness is over, they put all their information together and make plans with the Alchemists and Guardians to rescue Jill. They also try to convince Neil to take responsibility for his son, but he is afraid if anyone sees them together they'll realize that he and Olive had a magic baby and Sonya and others will want to experiment on him. He remains steadfast in his decision to not be a part of Declan's life. Adrian and Sydney have plans to tell Rose and Dimitri about Declan since, you know, they're in the same Dhampir-Restored Dhampir potential magic baby sex boat. But not yet. First they have to rescue Jill.
When everyone, Alchemists and Guardians, gathers at the Utah Warriors Compound, Jared and Zoe Sage are there. Jared is a shit bag, but Zoe is much better. It seems she's trying to get out of their father's control, though she still wants to be an Alchemist, just a less shitty one. The teams of Alchemists and Guardians get into the compound and put everything into lockdown and it seems things are going very well and they'll be able to release Jill with no trouble. But then, of course, there is trouble. The wing of the compound where she is being held is spelled with magic. Time to send in Sydney. And Adrian too, because he's not letting her go in alone. Rose and Dimitri are there, too, and Eddie and Neil. Dimitri guides them in past landmines and then they get to the corridor which is protected by a hydra-like multi-headed demon that spits acid. Sydney will fight the demon with fire magic, Rose will sneak past it to find Jill, Eddie, Neil and Adrian will be backup in case something goes wrong with the demon.
Things go well for a little while and Rose manages to get Jill out while Sydney battles the demon. Adrian tries to heal Jill, but Jill stops him, knowing that during this whole book, he's been struggling with his Spirit use and that his Aunt Tatiana has been running a commentary through his head the whole time, meaning that he's seriously about to lose his mind. All she needs is a feeder and for someone to go back to another area of the compound where more prisoners are being held. Rose and Eddie take Jill to a feeder and Neil goes off to rescue the others, leaving Adrian to stay with the demon-battling Sydney.
And things immediately get bad. Sydney is about to get eaten and/or covered with acid spit, so Adrian summons all his Spirit and compels the demon to stop mid-attack. This is way too much Spirit, so much that he doesn't recognize Sydney when she tells him he can stop using his compulsion. She defeats the demon, but Adrian is still raging with Spirit. Somehow Sydney manages to break through to him, saving him from complete mental breakdown. They leave the compound and get Adrian to the feeder, too.
Outside, Sydney is greeted by Stanton who stays true to her word about leaving everyone who escaped from reeducation alone and trying to stop reeducation, but that's not going so well. She's going to at least try to reform it, so that's something. Sydney gives her the other two names and promises more information from the Warrior laptop, and now their deal is complete. She and Adrian will be able to live happily ever after but Jared Sage comes up then, saying that if he were in charge, she'd never be free, but well, he's not in charge. Also, she kept something secret from Stanton. There were actually five people dealing in tattoos with the Warriors and one of them just so happens to be Jared Sage. She told him that she won't tell Stanton if he allows Zoe some freedom to see their mother again. He doesn't like being blackmailed, but we're all sure he'd like reeducation less.
It seems that things are wrapping up nicely now. Adrian didn't lose his mind and he and Sydney are free to live their lives. Eddie and Jill are a thing again, which is also a happy event, and Dimitri and Rose found the other Moroi trapped in the compound thanks to Neil. But wait. Where is he? Uh oh… he's disappeared. They all go back to Clarence's and it turns out, Neil stopped by. He saw his baby and left a note for Adrian and Sydney telling them that Declan is their baby now and maybe one day he'll be able to come back into his life. Uh. Thanks?
About a year later, things really are going well. Adrian, Sydney and Declan, plus Daniela, with Eddie as their Guardian, live together in a cute little Victorian house. They're caring for the baby that they pretend is theirs which everyone believes since no one really knew about Olive and they were in hiding in Court for so long then suddenly disappeared. With Clarence's financial assistance, Sydney is in college just like she always wanted and works at a museum and Adrian, back on his mood stabilizers, has a job as a preschool art teacher. It's perfectly adorable. Jill, Dimitri and Rose come by their little house for Christmas dinner and we learn that Rose and Dimitri are engaged, but they don't plan on getting married any time soon, especially since Christian hasn't proposed to Lissa yet. After dinner, Adrian and Sydney go to their bedroom where they talk about their old escape plans and how they don't need them anymore because they've already escaped into the perfect life.