BOOK REVIEW: Blood Promise (Vampire Academy series, Book #4), by Richelle Mead

RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2009
SERIES: Vampire Academy, #4
AUTHOR LINKS: WEB / TWITTER / GOODREADS / FACEBOOK
PUBLISHER: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Purchased
BUY NOW FROM: Amazon

The recent attack on St. Vladimir’s Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose’s neck; a mark that says she’s killed far too many Strigoi to count. 

But only one victim matters . . . Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life’s vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She’ll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved? 

Readers who fell in love with Rose, Lissa, and Dimitri won’t want to miss Blood Promise, the much-anticipated, epic fourth novel in Richelle Mead’s enthralling Vampire Academy series.

MY REVIEW (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) 

Have I mentioned before how much I love this series? Well, even though I’ve said it for the past books, I’m hoping that Richelle Mead has something up her sleeve for the next two installments because after this novel, while I still love it, I’m not impressed.

Let me say this – I loved the whole Rose/Dimitri thing that was going on. What I do not love is that now that I’m so into the Rose/Adrian thing, Richelle Mead has decided that Dimitri still has to be in the novel. And now there’s the whole idea of saving the Strigoi, turning them back to their previous vampire state?

What??

I love Adrian. I think he’s traveled bounds and leaps from what he was like when he first entered the series. I really think that he and Rose could have something amazing. But now, Mead has ruined that, here at the end of the 4th installment of the Vampire Academy, Blood Promise, by saying, “Oh wait! Dimitri’s not actually dead! Let’s bring his annoying self back to the series for another book!”

Ugh.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a great series, but I worry about where it’s going to go from here. This definitely wasn’t the strongest book in the series. I wasn’t a huge fan of looking back at Rose and Dimitri’s past (which, really, for 2 people who never had a lot of time to spend together, they sure had a lot of history!) and it felt like the book dragged when Rose reminisced about her and Dimitri. It was all filler information – nothing really important considering that the readers already knew that Rose loved Dimitri. The reader also knows that Rose traveled across the oceans to kill him – why reminisce?

I do hope that Lissa and Christian can patch things up and I’m so glad that Avery is out of the picture. I’ll give Mead credit here because I really didn’t see that happening! Not until Lissa was about to throw herself off a building did I really see what Avery was up to. And I had no idea that Simon and Rees were both in on it. I love that Rose used the help of her new friends – Dimitri’s family and friends, that is – to help her save Lissa. Personally, I just thought that Avery was there to keep Adrian available, break up Christian and Lissa, therefore leaving Lissa and Adrian with each other where they could fill out Tatiana’s wishes and get together (rather than Adrian hooking up with Rose, a dhampir, who I think he should be hooking up with!).

Of course, since I love the Rose/Adrian thing, I’m glad that didn’t happen.

In the end, these are great novels and I appreciate the fact that there is only going to be 6 books in the series. It’s great knowing that the last book, which is to be released in December of this year, will be the end. As a reader, it’s nice to have some finality.

Meanwhile, I can’t wait for the 5th book to come out this month! Who’s with me?

BOOK REVIEW: Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy series, Book #3), by Richelle Mead

RELEASE DATE: November 13, 2008
SERIES: Vampire Academy, #3
AUTHOR LINK: WEB / TWITTER / GOODREADS / FACEBOOK
PUBLISHER: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
BUY NOW FROM: Amazon

Rose Hathaway knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa—the last Dragomir princess—must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken… 

But since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn’t been feeling right. Something dark has begun to grow in her mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy’s iron gates. And now that Lissa and Rose’s sworn enemy, Victor Dashkov, is on trial for his freedom, tensions in the Moroi world are higher than ever. 

Lying to Lissa about Dimitri is one thing but suddenly there’s way more than friendship at stake. The immortal undead are on the prowl, and they want vengeance for the lives that Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmare, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most… but will her choice mean that only one can survive?

MY REVIEW (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) 

I am absolutely loving this series. It’s just so different from other vampire books written for young adults – a little more mature, a little more involved, a lot more intrigue. All that good stuff.

In Shadow Kiss, the 3rd installment of the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, Rose is growing up. It’s been nice to see her change throughout these 3 books, going from someone who seemed destined to become a blood wh*re to someone who is dedicated in her calling as a guardian, being able to (almost) control her emotions and put the Moroi first (They come first).

Of course, I find that as the series goes on, I’m stuck in the middle of a pendulum with Dimitri on one side and Adrian on the other – as much as I love Dimitri and love the connection that him and Rose have, part of me really wants to see what would happen if Rose hooked up with Adrian. I know it’s just a book and all, but Adrian has a certain charm that Dimitri is lacking.

But then, I wrote that above paragraph BEFORE finishing the book and I have to say that while I started to expect what would happen, I didn’t think that Rose would turn Adrian down like that. Yes, I get that she has to kill Dimitri now, but still … what will the other books be like when it’s ONLY Rose and not Lissa, or Adrian, or Christian, or even Alberta or Janine. I guess I’ll have to read to find out, right?

Speaking of Janine, I really like how the relationship between her and her daughter, Rose, is evolving. At first it seemed forced – Rose resented her, hated her even – but now they’re both discovering that the other one is human and are almost to the point where they could have a decent mother-daughter relationship. Or, as much of a relationship that can be in this world.

The whole Mason thing was a nice touch – I really liked how Rose could say goodbye to him in the end. However, I felt like his part of the story made it all just a little too easy for the rest of the characters. I understand how Rose is shadow kissed and she has that connection with the dead, but Mason seemed to know everything. And it seemed too coincidental that a Moroi teacher just happened to have done extensive research on the caves behind the academy, making it easier for the guardians and others to find the Strigoi.

In the end, though, I love these books. I’m about to dive into the 4th book, Blood Promise, and I’m hoping that something good happens. If Richelle Mead’s other books in this series are any indication, I’m sure something will.

BOOK REVIEW: Frostbite (Vampire Academy series, Book #2), by Richelle Mead

RELEASE DATE: April 10, 2008
SERIES: Vampire Academy, #2
AUTHOR LINKS: WEB / TWITTER / GOODREADS / FACEBOOK
PUBLISHER: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
BUY NOW FROM: Amazon

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose… 

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. 

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

MY REVIEW (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) 

Oh Mason.

Because of something totally unrelated, I always find a soft spot in my heart whenever I hear that name. One of my favourite shows, Dead Like Me, featured a character named Mason and he was careless and reckless, much like the Mason in Frostbite, the second book in the Vampire Academy series.

As much as I loved the character of Mason, he irritated me. He seems a little too lovestruck over Rose – and as you know from my review of the first book in this series, I needed Rose to be with Dimitri. I’m a romantic, what can I say?

Unlike a lot of the “series” books that have been coming out, this series is more reminiscent of how the Harry Potter series works: You know the bad guys are out there and will always want to kill the good guys, but there’s always some kind of closure by the end of a book that you don’t feel like the author was writing any novel as a filler, but instead as a life lesson for the characters in that book.

So much happens in this second installment of the Vampire Academy series that I couldn’t put the book down and managed to finish reading it in a day. Call me crazy – I just love a good, intriguing story.

At this point, it seems normal to be calling vampires Moroi and their protectors Dhampirs, or Guardians. It also doesn’t seem as weird for one of the main characters, Rose, to have fed her best friend, the Moroi princess, Lissa. I was getting a little disturbed by all the talk of “blood wh*res”, but in the end, it served as a purpose for Rose to learn more about herself and, basically, grow up in the series. It’s amazing to see how far she’s come in her training as a Guardian that she no longer comes across as the daredevil little girl who will sleep with anything, but instead as a maturing young woman who now knows her heart and knows what she is and isn’t capable of.

There are new characters introduced in this installment and Mead does an excellent job of creating their characters. I’ll admit it, in other vampire novels there are people I grow so tired of – those little annoying things that make some characters make me want to throw my book across the room. However, even though there are things that I don’t like about the new characters – Adrian and Rose’s mother, Janine – they ended up growing on me by the end of the novel.

Of course, by the looks of it, there will be at least 4 more novels in the series, so my attitude could change! All I can say is that this is a very unique series of vampire-genre books that shouldn’t be overlooked. There’s love, loss, friendship, passion, and intrigue – all of which make up a great novel.