Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead Review: Alchemist re-education

August 6, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead Review: Alchemist re-educationSilver Shadows by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #5
Published by Penguin Australia on July 29, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository
Add to 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.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive. 

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

Since The Fiery Heart ended on a massive cliffhanger, the wait is over to find out the fate of Sydney at an Alchemist re-education facility. This sets the basis for Silver Shadows, as Sydney is subjected to both mental and physical torture throughout the entire book. It’s up to Adrian to save her, a seemingly impossible task with his return to alcoholism.

While I enjoyed the book for the most part, there are a number of things that irritated me throughout the book.

It mostly felt like a filler (thanks Nara for pointing that out), and I felt like it was predictable throughout. Aside from demonstrating Sydney’s mental strength, and how she never broke even once under torture, and used her intelligence to influence the other prisoners, I’m not sure what the point of the book was. We do meet a few side characters which she interacted with in the re-education facility, some of which is connected to her family, but they didn’t get too much development throughout. I’m so proud of Sydney and how she never crumbles, how her intelligence and her wit pulls her through. She’s been criticised as being weak in comparison to Rose but after reading this book, there is no way I’d think that again.

I took a deep breath and said: “I fell in love with a vampire.”
And like that, I was blinded by light.

Adrian is back to his usual antics as he visits the Moroi Court and starts drinking and partying again. I wanted to yell at him to find Sydney and to stop wallowing in his own self pity. It had only been 3 months and he gave up searching for her so quickly, and a stronger person would have never given up. He does end up pulling through in the end, but it occurred to me just how dependent he is on Sydney to carry him through life, with the dark pull of spirit and alcohol. I’m not sure how healthy this relationship is, but at least they are complimentary to each other. There is also another girl who pops up and it is the worst thing ever, especially when Sydney is counting on Adrian to save her.

“So stop beating yourself up, Sage, and use that beautiful brain I know and love.” – Adrian

Told in the dual point of views from The Fiery Heart, the side characters will disappear in the background as we alternate between Sydney’s torture and experience and Adrian’s antics and search for her. We will get to meet some of our favourite VA characters, but honestly Lissa just annoyed me in the book as she refuses to help Adrian.


While not as good as The Fiery Heart, Silver Shadows demonstrated Sydney’s mental strength and perseverance as she withstands mental and physical torture in the Alchemist’s re-education facility. While most of the book felt like it was just going through the motions, waiting for Sydney to be broken out and saved, it didn’t start getting exciting until the last quarter of the book with some massive developments. Nothing will ever be the same, and I’m excited to see what the final Bloodlines book has in stall for the Moroi, Alchemists, and our favourite couple Sydney and Adrian.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I received a review copy from Penguin Australia in exchange for an honest review. 

The following two tabs change content below.
Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

Tags: , , , , ,

42 responses to “Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead Review: Alchemist re-education

  1. Yes, I agree quite a lot. Both The Fiery Heart and The Indigo Spell have felt a bit like fillers with no real developments for major parts of the books. But I literally just finished Silver Shadows less than an hour ago AND MY GOD THE ENDING WAS INTENSE!!!! I'm glad that part was in there! So much happened and left broken pieces to be picked up and fixed everywhere added to the left over loose threads from the Vampire Academy series!

    • Oh my god you have not finished VA yet? What are you doing with yourself woman? I read VA pretty much in one hit, and then the Last Sacrifice came out and I got to devour that as well. Bloodlines took a while to get off the ground, but it's really taking off now 🙂

  2. Wow.. torture.. alcoholism.. this series sounds pretty intense! I loved the VA series but I haven't gone into this one yet. I have not had the best of luck with spin offs but this one sounds like it's done pretty good. Too bad that it felt a bit like a filler book though those can be pretty frustrating and hefty to read. I do miss Adrian though I really have to get off my butt and read this!!

    • It is quite intense, especially this installment. Plus if you are an Adrian fan, what are you waiting for? Richelle Mead did really well with this spin off, it's on par with VA (I think the original was better though, but not by much).

  3. It's so funny, you're not the first person who's told me she thought THE FIERY HEART was better, but I enjoyed the surprises so much (and the interesting "re-education center plot line) that this one's definitely my favorite! I know what you mean re: predictability, though–this whole series actually feels very predictable to me, unlike VA, which was jammed full of surprises. BUT the surprise that came at the end in this book went a long way for me, and I also enjoy Richelle's writing, so…I still like the series.

    Agreed re: looking on Sydney differently, though. I respect her a lot after this book.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…If I Stay film + book giveawayMy Profile

    • I think a lot of people thought it was better, because this one focused on the re-education center part of the storyline. Glad to hear you loved this one, the surprises at the end were definitely worth it! I agree with the predictability, especially when you bring two characters like Adrian and Sydney together. Perhaps we know what to expect now after reading VA. Richelle Mead is amazing, and I love this series too 🙂

  4. I really liked Sydney here. She was finally I have my powers and let's do something with that and not just be afraid of Alchemist will do this or that. I really liked her growth here. I wanted to slap Lisa too, but then again I understand her now as she is not a silly vampire now. She has a whole nation to lead. So yeah. But still I totally agree and hope that the last one will rock the show. Great review, Jeann 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Blog Tour: A Slither of Hope by Lisa M. BassoMy Profile

    • Yeah, Sydney really did kick ass and she was amazing! Has grown so much since the first book. At the end of the day I just don't know why Lissa did one thing then turned around and did something else. It was kind of cheesy.

  5. NUUUUU. I might have a hate fest with Adrian now (and have a friend come at me with a pointy shovel, but she can't unless she wants to get into major trouble). I'm not exactly a fan of Adrian in general due to his alcoholic habits and such, so I'm a little disappointed he's going to be partying and drinking in Silver Shadows. 🙁

    But I'm glad you enjoyed the book, Jeann! It at least gives me some hope for Adrian! 🙂
    Sophia @ Bookwyrming recently posted…Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page MorganMy Profile

  6. This series will never be good as the VA series for me unfortunately, but I did start to enjoy the character dynamics around the second book. I'm sad to hear that this read like a filler. I honestly feel like I could be slightly bored with it until Sydney and Adrian are back together.

    " had only been 3 months and he gave up searching for her so quickly, and a stronger person would have never given up. He does end up pulling through in the end, but it occurred to me just how dependent he is on Sydney to carry him through life, with the dark pull of spirit and alcohol. I’m not sure how healthy this relationship is"

    This really bothers me. I was hoping that Silver Shadows would make Adrian shine as a character because of how he deals with everything outside of his relationship with Sydney, but it sounds like for the most part he is back to being his usual mopey self.

    Despite everything, I'm glad you liked this overall, Jeann. I will still read this book after the final book releases because I'm devoted to Richelle Mead and I hate not finishing series, but I'm going to keep what you said in mind.

    Lovely review! 🙂
    Nick @ Nick's B recently posted…Review : Deliverance by C.J RedwineMy Profile

    • I agree, I loved the characters from the original and I took a while to warm up to these two. Adrian returning to his old ways shows what happens at the loss of Sydney and I guess it's realistic of his character, but still disappointing.

  7. Gah, Jeann. I've yet to read anything by Richelle Mead. Someone clearly needs to lock me up and force-feed me the books. Haha! It sucks that this one felt like a filler! You don't wait and buy books in a series just so you could read an installment that is kinda pointless. Glad you still liked it overall and the story picked up in the end. Thank you for your honest review, Jeann!
    Sarah @ Smitten over recently posted…Review: The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn AndersonMy Profile

  8. I've been seeing this one around for a while now! Everyone seems to love it and I have no surprises there 😉 Richelle Mead is a really great writer. I've only read her Gameboard of the Gods series but that was enough to make me a fan! Going to read this soon so I can relate to all the fangirling done! 😀
    Faye @ The Social Po recently posted…Review: Boomerang by Noelle AugustMy Profile

  9. I haven't yet managed to get my hands on a copy of this, though I have to admit I am slightly apprehensive. I thought The Fiery Heart was great — though I don't know how I feel about the novel almost completely being set in the re-education centre. I supposed I guessed that enough from the ending of TFH; I'm just not sure if the novel is going to as engaging as the previous ones. Still, I will go into reading it with an open mind. I do love Mead's writing style, so if I don't enjoy anything else, I know I'll like that. Really good review! : )
    Kara @ Diary of a Te recently posted…Book Review: Take Me On by Katie McGarryMy Profile

  10. EEEEH OK I WANT TO READ ALL OF THESE REVIEWS BUT CAN EVERYONE STOP POSTING THEM? LOL. I haven't read past The Golden Lily so I don't want to know anything other than the fact that you all loved it and I know I will too :') I'm glad you found this 4 star worthy, loves!
    Siiri recently posted…Review: All Lined Up by Cora CarmackMy Profile

  11. Well, I'm glad to hear that despite the slight filler feel of the book you still managed to enjoy quite a bit since you rated it 4 stars!

    With all the cliffhangers I keep hearing about in this series, I think I will totally wait till the final book comes out and then I'll start the series, so I don't have to wait between books (and cliffhangers)!!
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #54!!My Profile

  12. Woo! I got a mention! haha

    While Silver Shadows definitely felt like a filler, I do think it was an important book in terms of character development- Adrian finally becomes (very slightly) more independent, and Sydney shows off her rather admirable strength of mind 😛

    So glad the final book is coming out early next year, because dayum that cliffhanger…
    Nara recently posted…Review: Take Me On by Katie McGarryMy Profile

  13. Great review! I've yet to read anything by Richelle Mead, but I've heard such good things! I guess I need to add her to my list! Thanks for sharing!

  14. I LOVED VA, but I'm not as interested in Bloodlines. I did enjoy books 1-3 but have yet to pick up The Fiery Heart… There's also the fact that I liked Sydrian better as a bantering pair than a couple. Like you said, Adrian seems really dependent on her and it gets bothersome.

    I never notice when Mead's books end up filler-y, since I really love her writing and am just basically sucked into the story no matter what! xD

    Lovely review, Jeann! I need to continue this series.
    Aimee @ Deadly Darli recently posted…Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin ChupecoMy Profile

  15. Yet another series I have yet to start! I fail. It's a shame this one took a little while to get going and you spent much of your time just waiting for Sydney to be saved, but I'm glad it ended with a bang and has you excited for the final book! I loved the VA books, so I do hope to get to these one day, if for no other reason than ADRIAN! Yes:)