Smart Chick Spotlight
Synonyms: agile, alert, bold, brainy, clever, crafty, fresh, good
ingenious, keen, knowing, quick, resourceful, sassy, sharp, wise
My friend & critique partner L. has started doing a Femme Fatale Friday post where she gives the spotlight over to her favorite leading ladies in contemporary YA and Adult fiction.
As a reader, I love books with female narrators / main-protagonists. I love when girls and women kick ass and takes names and don’t care whether or not the boys are watching to be impressed. (Though, it’s totally OK if the boys are watching and are impressed.) I’m kind of an obnoxious Girl Power, yea! reader when it comes to literature — and I’d like to join L. in giving tribute to some of the best girls and women in literature every Friday.
The inaugural spot of Smart Chick Spotlight goes to Syndey Sage from Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series, and who first appeared in Mead’s Vampire Academy series. When I originally became a fan of Mead, I was all about Rose Hathaway (I still am, in fact, and she will undoubtedly have her own Friday) and then Sydney Sage was introduced to the world and to me in Blood Promise. Let’s start with the summary of Sydney’s first book, though.
Sydney’s blood is special. That’s because she’s 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. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiances in question, her future is on the line.
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 unlikeliest of places—a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.
The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside—and within—the school grounds. Now that they’re in hiding, the drama is only just beginning. (Taken from the official Bloodlines website.)
What I love most about Sydney is that she exemplifies that sometimes the greatest strength a girl can have is silence. I’ve heard Sydney described as weak-willed and too-much-a-push-over by characters in her series and by real world critics. Sydney is anything but weak-willed, nor is she a push-over. Let’s remember momentarily all that Sydney did for Rose and Co. in the last four books of the Vampire Academy series — things she did, often, without first asking the Alchemists. Sydney is of strong moral fiber, and that moral fiber is starting to become at odds with her natural and nurtured beliefs as an Alchemist. The trouble Sydney is in for all that she did in the VA series is just starting to become unveiled as we step into her mind and her world full-time in Bloodlines.
When it matters most, Sydney never falters in pursuing the right villain — be that villain vampire, Alchemist, or human. And yet, Sydney knows when it’s time to let things settle back into the power structure and when it’s time for her to slip back under the radar.
Sydney notices the little things — about situations and about people. She uses this observation skill to appear from, seemingly, out of nowhere in Blood Promise and manages to stay with us even when we don’t realize she’s there, watching. Sydney is not the loud, boisterous heroine who takes center stage; she’s got the spotlight only because we happen to be in her mind here. With people, Sydney has a habit of using her observations to encourage the best in others — even when those moments of encouragement could be seen as the worst for her.
I am also a sucker for sisters, and Sydney is one heck of an older sister in Bloodlines. I really can’t say much more on this because I know that dynamic will be greatly changing in The Golden Lily coming out in June. The promise of a sisterly aspect in this series, though, is one that will undoubtedly further my appreciation for Sydney as a strong female character. (I suspect my appreciation won’t necessarily all be positive, either, which is ah-mazing!)