It all starts with Sydney being flown to the Alchemists HQ where they want her to make a statement about Keith and his involvement with vampires. Upon seeing her old nemesis Sydney is horrified as she sees what the Re-education centers can do to a person. She wonders if her closeness to the gang—Jill, Eddie, and Adrian— will land her a trip to one of the centers. Upon her return to California Sydney encounters several complications: a teacher who's intent on teaching her to be a witch, a fashionista who won't take no for an answer, a friend who wants to set her up with a guy, and a gang intent on destroying Sonia Karp. The ever resourceful Miss Sage will have to deal with all of this and more when she suddenly finds herself dating a guy who can match her in the smarts department. Friendship, loyalties, and the forbidden will keep Sydney on her toes as she tries to fulfill her duties as an Alchemist. But things and someone important to Sydney will make her start to question the Alchemist ruthless methods and rules. I don't know how she does it, but Richelle Mead keeps outdoing herself with each new book. The Golden Lily was everything I hoped for and more! I just love Sydney as a character. She's awkward, a bit OCD, and totally thinks she has to do everything herself because no one else can do it right. All things that are totally me! In this second book we see Sydney coming a bit out of her shell. She's trying to be more social—or rather her friends are pushing her to be—and even when she stumbles into awkward social situations like dating Brayden she gives it her best. Brayden was an interesting character to meet. He started out sweet and all, but soon his 'superiorness' turned him rude. I never thought things would work out (people that are too alike are so not the best choice in romantic partners), but it was still interesting to read how Sydney reacted to that entire situation. She analyzes everything, so of course she analyzes their kisses and her responses to them though she doesn't know what to do with the results of her observations. I wanted to scream to her that the obvious choice when a kiss doesn't make you swoon is to dump the guy. Instead she thinks it's her fault for not feeling anything. Girl, what am I ever going to do with you and your awful view of yourself? On the other hand Sydney never has an awkward moment with Adrian because she's not over thinking stuff. She's just being herself and reacting to whatever crazy idea Adrian has going on. Here we get to see how much Sydney really cares for him. Their heartfelt moments were literally killing me. And I so LOVED that Adrian called her out on her self-image and eating issues."Here's some tough love: you will never, ever have her body. Ever. It's impossible. She's Moroi. You're human. That's biology. You have a great one, one that most humans would kill for—and you'd look even better if you put on a little weight. Five pounds would be a good start. Hide the ribs. Get a bigger bra size.""Adrian!" I was aghast. Adrian. Oh, Adrian. I am in love with you. Seriously. It's Sydney's POV and for someone so observant she's oblivious to your efforts, but I'm not. I saw everything you did, and you deserve a gazillion hugs, kisses, and a cherry slushie for each one of those things. Driving lessons? Smooth, really smooth. Adrian really pours his heart out in this book, and he really deserves someone as caring as Sydney. If only she would open her freaking eyes and cast away her Alchemist thinking! That last battle scene was pure awesomesauce. I say, bring on the magic! Though I did feel it was all a little bit too easy. Did they really just up and leave? I wonder if they'll reappear further on in the series…Anyways, the ending shattered my heart. I so didn't want that to happen and it did. I can only hope Adrian doesn't return to his old ways, and sees it instead as a challenge. And for shit's sake Sydney open your eyes! So, yeah. Now I have a hole in my chest that will only get filled when I have The Indigo Spell in my hands. When is that? Oh, yeah. 2013! *weeps*PS: I'm totally a yellow-purple aura.