Publication Date: February 12th , 2012
Short Synopsis (Goodreads): In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.
And it delivers, don't worry, it does, but..... I don't know. I liked what happens, and I think that Sydney is really growing as character, and it's not that she didn't have to work hard but, it seemed a little too easy at times.
It's hard to be picky without being specific, but I felt like this book gave me a little too much of what I was looking for, especially after the last book. Adrian would probably disagree that things were easy, and I'm happy the way things turned out, but still was just too good to be true. Maybe if I read the first three books all in a row I would appreciate more of where Sydney has come from and what Adrian has had to fight for. As it is, her resistance in this book seemed token and just made things go a little slower. I'm really glad that she (finally) has a certain realization at the end of the book and I'm excited to see how that affects the dynamics of everything for the rest of the series, but it took a whole book of denial almost to get there. But we're there!
Also, this one wasn't as 'edge-of-your-seat' as I was expecting, especially with the focus on witches this time around. The end battle had a twist that I hadn't forseen, but it fell flat for me. The rogue alchemists also weren't as awesome as I was expecting. Potential, but not enough bang.
I do like this series better than Vampire Academy and think that Ms. Mead has really done a great job of fleshing this world out with lots of potential in future books. I'm with this series for the long-haul. While this one wasn't my favorite overall, it still had some 'smile and sigh' parts that made it worth it and I recommend it if you're a fan.