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BOOK REVIEW: One Last Fight for Sydney Sage in THE RUBY CIRCLE by Richelle Mead

Sydney Sage and Adrian Ivashkov in The Ruby Circle

The center holds for Sydney Sage and Adrian Ivashkov, although not without some bumps

Throughout the series, we get to see how Sydney Sage is able to break from the prejudices and strict beliefs that have basically imprisoned her from living her own life.  She has finally been able to stand on her own, with her own way of thinking, without the pressures that her family and her people – the Alchemists – have put upon her. And we’ve seen her grow in more ways than one from Bloodlines to The Ruby Circle.

We’ve seen her shake off all that she thought was right and true. She did all that in the last book, really. But now her life is drastically changed after the events from Silver Shadows, and her final challenge was really about holding on to her new way of life and strengthening her bond to those she had come to care for and love.

We get to see that happen in this book, and we get to see how she takes to these changes in her life, all the while having to bring people from opposing sides together to accomplish now only finding a dear friend, but also re-establishing and re-enforcing some relationships.

In a fairly short amount of time, Sydney has grown a lot from her time in Palm Springs with her small band of Moroi, and it’s nice to see how this young lady was able to empower herself.

There’s no doubt that there’s quite a lot of subtext about her breaking free from her family’s beliefs when comparing it to how young women are expected to just go along with everything their families believe in. That’s commendable.

However, my concern about this book wasn’t in the progression of Sydney Sage, but in the one for Adrian Ivashkov.

I was already kind of disappointed in him not being able to find more strength within himself in the beginning of Silver Shadows. At times, it was even kind of worse here, too. I get it, though. His dependency on his spirit magic was a sickness in a way (creating dangerous mood swings comparable to bipolar disorder,) and although it can be used to aid in crisis, it ultimately ends up destroying the person.

In his way towards trying to find a balance, and his struggles with it, especially when it came to confronting Sydney about it, I felt bad for Adrian, because it seems as if the author chose to make Sydney stronger while maybe unintentionally emasculating Adrian. I couldn’t see the balance between the two, even though their love held – their center held.

I suppose what ended up happening was the best outcome for him, but at the same time, I just felt as if the shift in the relationship was giving Sydney more power instead of allowing Adrian to grow to her level.  (Please note, this is not in regards to their professions.)

Besides the Adrian/Sydney arc, I did feel that a couple of the subplots didn’t bring the closure that I would have liked to see at the end of a six-book series. Some ideas were brought up earlier in the series that weren’t really resolved. And from a personal standpoint, I was quite dissatisfied with another couple’s subplot; actually, it was that subplot that had me hold off on writing the review immediately after reading the book because I was upset about it’s end game. I may have to write a fanfic about it just so I can satisfy my soul.

Despite the issues that I had with this final book, I still thought the overall series was better than the Vampire Academy series, and I did enjoy seeing Sydney’s changes from book one to book six.

Not all of it is bad.  In fact, most of it is pretty good.  Aside from Sydney and Adrian, we get to see some familiar characters from the Vampire Academy series again.  And I will say that I was absolutely giddy regarding one surprise that I did not see coming, which was big enough of a twist for me to keep this book at a solid 4 stars.

In conclusion, the main characters get a nice happy ending, but the subplots were lacking.

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