Blood doesn't lie...
Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning.
Characters: Sydney is a human but part of a family of alchemists. She has been assigned to attend school with Jill to watch over her and make sure that she stays safe in a time of turmoil in her family. Sydney takes the job to save her sister from having to become a full alchemist before Sydney thinks that she's ready. Sydney is a very smart girl but comes off very soft spoken and guarded in her emotions
Originality: The vampires in this world are complex with different types as well as hierarchy. There is also the combination of the Alchemists and humans. Although I would have to say that the vampires of this world are not the type you would see in most novels. They go out during the day, eat real food (blood often as well) Although our main character is raised to fear them, for the most part they don't seem to be very threatening to the human world.
Plot: Sydney is on assignment to watch over Jill while she's in hiding at a school in Florida. But in the mean time she finds that the kids in the school are getting these mysterious tattoos that are having an effect on them physically and decides to look further into the matter.
Writing: Although this is a spin off series to her Vampire Academy books, you won't have to read those to understand what is happening. The reader gets filled in on the situations as they arise and a little background of the characters and how they know each other. So if you haven't read the Vampire Academy series you will get spoiled to some of the events from those books if you jump into these first. It is a very complex world with rules and guidelines about how they all can interact with each other.
With the summary, I wasn't expecting the story to really focus more on the tattoos at the school and what was happening to the students when they got them. As the summary doesn't even take mention of it, I personally felt that was the story line that really drove the story more so than protecting Jill. I really enjoyed this story and found the combinations of story lines was compelling and a really fun and entertaining read.