Book Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

Posted March 11, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Book Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy, Historical
Published by Razorbill on February 10, 2015
Pages: 348
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: The Immortal Crown, Silver Shadows

Sixth and last in the Bloodlines urban fantasy series for Young Adult readers and revolving around Sydney and Adrian, an Alchemist and a Moroi, in a spin-off from Vampire Academy.

In 2015, The Ruby Circle was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction.

My Take

I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since The Ruby Circle was published, and I’m just getting around to reading this tale in first person protagonist point-of-view from Adrian’s perspective in the middle of a Moroi elitist society who feel entitled to take…ask any dhampir woman.

The real conflict is the toll using spirit takes on Adrian, a major bone of contention between Sydney and her new husband. Yet Adrian is caught up in the conflict of “the greater good”, torn between wanting to help his friend and keeping his word to his wife.

Sydney and Adrian are seeing major changes in the Moroi Court as the wheel of time is turned back to an era when Moroi used magic as a weapon, doing battle. Unfortunately, the prejudice against humans is still in effect.

While it does tie up events in this series, it’s quite humdrum and too juvenile compared to previous stories.

It certainly appears that Mead is planning a third series in this vein with the possibilities she dangles for Dimitri and Rose.

The Story

Unexpectedly, the Court is against Adrian and Sydney’s marriage, Nina has lost Olive, and Jill has been kidnapped, a threat that could topple Lissa from her throne.

It’ll take an undercover infiltration against an enemy and a hunt for one of their own who has disappeared, desperate to stay gone, for she hides a deadly secret that could change Moroi lives forever.

The Characters

Sydney Sage is a witch and an Alchemist condemned by her own people. She’s been married to Adrian Ivashkov, a Moroi spirit user of magic, for one month. Hopper is their pet dragon.

Adrian’s mom, Daniella Ivashkov, lives with them, being supportive while Dad (Nathan) has washed his hands of both of them. Randall “Rand” Ivashkov is Nathan’s older, reckless brother. And Dimitri’s father. Olena was Dimitri’s mother.

Zoe is the sister who betrayed Sydney. Carly is an older sister who stayed with their mom. Jared Sage is her fanatical, cold father. Ian Jansen was a jerk who claimed he loved Sydney.

Palm Springs, California
Jackie Terwilliger is a history teacher at Amberwood Preparatory School as well as Sydney’s magical mentor with the local coven, the Stelle. Mr Bojangles is Jackie’s cat. Inez Garcia, a quirky witch in love with roses; Maude, one of the senior witches; Trina; and, Alison are members of the coven.

Malachai Wolfe is a questionably stable self-defense instructor who runs the Wolfe School of Defense with its attack Chihuahuas. Clarence Donahue is a reclusive old Moroi who has helped Sydney and her friends in the past. Trey Juarez had been a member of the Warriors of Light. He’s in love with Angeline Dawes, an uncivilized Keeper undercover and a fellow student. Marcus Finch is another wanted fugitive from the Alchemists. Sabrina had been undercover with the Warriors of Light. Howie and Patty grow and sell herbs, as well as providing refuge to Marcus and his friends.

Alicia Degraw was the receptionist at the B&B and Veronica’s apprentice. Veronica Terwilliger was Jackie’s black witch sister. Lia DiStefano is a dress designer who screwed up Jill’s life.

The royal Moroi court is…
…based in Pennsylvania and ruled by Queen Vasilia “Lissa” Dragomir, only by the grace of having a living relative, Jill Mastrano Dragomir. Christian Ozera is a fire user in love with Lissa. Mia Rinaldi is a leader among the water users.

Eddie Castile is a dhampir and Guardian. Dimitri “Dimka” Belikov and his wife, Rose Hathaway, (the Vampire Academy series) are dhampirs and Guardians. Abe Mazur is Rose’s mafioso father. Neil Raymond is in love with Olive (The Fiery Heart, 4). Sonya Karp Tanner is another dhampir and Guardian, one leading the project to use spirit to prevent people from turning Strigoi.

Tatiana is the dead queen of the Moroi, who “lives” in Adrian’s head. Both Nina Sinclair, a full Moroi who is furious with Adrian, and Avery Lazar, who’s in a mental facility in a Moroi prison, are spirit users. Olive is Nina’s half-sister and a dhampir whom Nina brought back. Melinda Rowe is the Court florist. Wesley Drozdov, a former friend, is a nemesis of Adrian’s. Maureen Tarus and Gladys Dashkov are Daniella’s friends.

Wild Pine Intentional Community is…
…a modern commune for dhampir women seeking to escape Moroi society. Houghton is a nearby community. Lana is the administrator. Diana is her daughter. Mallory. Jody runs a shop and can fix anything. April is in charge of the medical center. Briana teaches school. Talia is in charge of the solar panels. Elaine has guests.

The Alchemists are…
…a member of an organization that is dedicated to keeping mankind from learning about the Moroi or the Strigoi. Keith Darnell had been the mastermind of a performance-enhancing ring. Stanton has authority. McLean is in charge of the Alchemist soldiers.

Edward Hill, Callie DiMaggio, Charlene Hampton, and Eugene Li are revealed.

The Warriors of Light are…
…an anti-Strigoi organization that has as little love for dhampirs and Moroi as the Alchemists (The Golden Lily, 2). Masters Angeletti and Ortega are some of the leaders. Chris Juarez, Trey’s cousin, is the recruiting director.

Fiona” and “Fred Gray” are sister and brother who want to join the Warriors. Caleb, Tara, and Wayne are more potential recruits.

Moroi are vampires. Feeders are humans who give blood to the Moroi. Strigoi are undead vampires who kill for their blood and can be killed themselves by sunlight. Dhampirs are a race born of vampires and humans, stronger and faster than Moroi and ideal warriors and bodyguards. Fotianas are from Hopper’s realm and look like mutant fireflies. A senicus is another type of demon, a hydra-like being whose heads spit boiling acid.

The Cover and Title

The cover gives a nod to rubies with its range of mauves and pinks with a gradated background of light to dark mauve. The blonde-haired Sydney faces us from the shoulders up, her head tilted with the dark-haired and black-shirted Adrian standing slightly behind her, his face in profile, absorbed in Sydney. At the very top is a light mauve info blurb with the author’s name in white immediately below it. The title starts at the top of Sydney’s shoulder in a gothic font using a gradated pale pink to mauve and back to pale pink. Below the title is the series information in white. This lower text is partially framed by scrollwork in deep pinks with purple and pink flowers.

I have no clue what the inspiration was for The Ruby Circle.

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