By Cynthia Ayala
Sydney has been taken, thought to be defiled by Adrian by her Alchemist family. Surrounded by religious enemy who were once her people, Sydney struggles to cling to her identity and hope of survival, that Adrian will find her. But Adrian, desperate to find her has let his old demons take possession of him. Will the couple survive or will they let their people define them?
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead was published on July 29, 2014 by Razorbill and is a paranormal young adult romance that follows the struggle of the forbidden relationship with Adrian and Sydney.
Silver Shadows is the fifth novel in the Bloodlines series and continues to impress because of how grounded the novel is despite the fantastical elements within the novel. There is a lot of ground here as far as character development goes and personalities. They shine to put it simply, and Mead continues to show her talent for characterization. She’s an impressive writer because she is able to do this with what appears to be remarkable ease. Not only is the story told in the first person, which at times can be very limiting for the scope of the story, but she also shifts between Sydney and Adrian. This was a very smart move. Mead is able to draw on the characters to tell the story in an amazing way, without limiting the story.
With the story’s scope being so limited by the first person, the reader needs to be able to believe that these characters are real so that the story can be told. Sydney and Adrian accomplish that. Both characters propel the story forward with who they are. It’s not the story influencing them; it’s them telling the story. These are very believable characters that have very strong dynamics with one another. Sydney just continues to get impressive throughout the series and this novel is no different. Her character is strong and has immeasurable strength. She has been held captive by her own people because she has been “tainted” by their beliefs, turning her into a prisoner of war. She is a prisoner of her own people and their bigotry and fear of the Vampires. After everything that is done to her, all the brainwashing, or attempts, the torture she undergoes, she remains true to herself, true to her heart and mind. A character like that is always captivating not because they aren’t perfect but because their strength comes from something very human, something very real. Sydney may seem like the perfect character but much like with Adrian, she is very flawed and only seeks to find happiness and escape the bigotry around her.
As for Adrian, there are not enough words to describe how wonderful he is. He’s a lost soul, the brooding artist, but the sarcasm and humor that Mead puts into his voice continues to be impressive. He’s an amazing character and everything about him, his thoughts, they way he speaks is incredibly romantic, even when he’s being snarky, Mead has found a way for this character to remain charming all the time.
But what makes this couple so attractive is their love and the bounds they have to cross, the rules they need to break in order to be with one another. They love each other and it’s not a love that the reader can even scoff at, nor it is one that will turn away the reader. Their romance and the bounds they need to cross is the center point of the novel. Their love got them into this mess and it’s the only thing that is going to save them. Their devotion is true without being cheesy. It’s a romance is believable and to read them over come the odds just to be together is gripping, enthralling, and brilliantly structured.
Silver Shadows will please many fans because it is just a well written story that gives the fans exactly what they could have hoped for and wanted while remaining grounded and captivating. (★★★★☆ | A)