Richelle Mead does it again; Silver Shadows is a fast fun addition to the universe she first created in Vampire Academy (a fun novel franchise, but failed movie attempt). Reading novels like this makes me think about what those Saturday serials of yore which were shown in neighborhood theaters in the 1930s-40s, before the advent of TV. (Is that reverence too vague? It might read better if use a Walter Winchell voice). My point is that Mead always ends her books with a cliffhanger and her readers wanting more.
Like those old weekly serials (yes, I am sticking with this analogy) Mead also does a great job spacing publication of her novels six to seven months apart so tracking the overall storyline is not a difficult. Lastly Mead seems to know that she should not overstay her welcome when it comes to pleasing readers. Each series has no more than six books. This does not mean that previous characters are shipped out never to be heard from again, she just retires them from being the focus. It is a good way to keep her plots fresh.
Speaking of plots, explaining the whole setup of Silver Shadows for people unfamiliar with the series is going to sound convoluted. Suffice to say that it is a vampire based storyline but the main character is not vampiric but an Alchemist whose primary purpose is to hide the existence of vampires from the rest of humanity. Sydney was raised to be totally a Type A personality with overtones of a high school principal. Assigned to a special task of guarding a high school age high level vampire she is enrolled with the girl into a boarding school in Palm Springs (obviously vampires in this universe can exist in the daylight, but they are still pale and function better at night).
For the first time Sydney experiences what it must be like to have a somewhat ordinary life. Besides her babysitting duties, she is also assigned to with another vampire who has not had much luck when it comes to love. I won’t insult your intelligence by pretending that these two don’t hook up. Overall she teaches him to take responsibility and he teaches her to finally have some fun…which readers learned at the end of The Fiery Heart had consequences.
In Silver Shadows Mead continues to add dimension her characters. She tackles stereotypes and other social ills through her narrative. She has grown Sydney from an uptight one dimensional person to an intriguing young woman determined to discover her own power even if it means she must do so amongst vampires.
I highly recommend the Bloodlines series, but I am wary of recommending Silver Shadows to readers who are unfamiliar with the overall narrative. Mead’s novels are fun for all ages; however they are great choices for teen girls. All of her female characters are their own women who make choices about their lives. Rose, who was the protagonist in the Vampire Academy series, was kick a$$ and offered no apologies for being good at it. Sydney on the other hand is very academic and when it comes to school, even a school that she is just attending only for her job.