The Ruby Circle is the sixth and final installment in Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series. It picks up about a month after where Silver Shadows ended. Sydney and Adrian are living in the Moroi court, the only place where they can be assured protection from the Alchemists, who are still intent on punishing Sydney for her marriage to Adrian. Meanwhile, everyone is searching for Jill, who disappeared without a trace at the end of Silver Shadows.
Like the previous two books, The Ruby Circle is told from both Adrian and Sydney’s perspective, and Mead continues to handle the dual perspective well, staying true to the inner voices of the characters that we have come to know over the past five books. We also see how Adrian’s continued hallucinations of Aunt Tatiana speaking in his head are affecting him, and how much he continues to struggle with his use of Spirit.
There is a lot going on in this book. There is the search for Jill, the continued problem of the Alchemists, and another problem involving Nina and her ongoing attempts to locate her sister, Olive. At times, the novel feels rushed, as Mead is trying to balance many different, interconnected plots. Overall, though, she handles it well, and the different threads intersect in ways that feel natural and realistic, while still not being completely predictable. The book also successfully delivers many of the things that fans have come to expect from a Vampire Academy/Bloodlines book: romance, great dialogue, plenty of twists, and an ending that is, without giving too much away, satisfying for all of our favorite characters.
However, there are aspects of this book that were disappointing, especially when compared with the other books that Mead has written that are set in the VA universe. For one thing, many questions are left unanswered. There are some big questions that are still left unresolved by the end. Also, because Mead is attempting to do so much in this book, there are things that fall through the cracks, or that don’t make complete sense because it feels as though she is trying to wrap things up too quickly and cleanly. It seems as if she might be intentionally leaving things open for another spin-off, but as she has said before that there are no immediate plans for another series, these unanswered questions are just frustrating for the reader.
The writing also does not feel as strong in this book as it does in the previous ones. While the previous Bloodlines books have done a good job at keeping up suspense, this book does not have quite the same affect. This probably goes back to the fact that there is just too much happening that the proper attention can’t be given to everything. This is one book that I think could have benefited from being longer.
Overall, The Ruby Circle is a solid ending to the Bloodlines series. While it wasn’t perfect, it was still enjoyable, and I will definitely read any other books or stories in the VA world that Richelle Mead publishes in the future.