Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #4
Release Date: August 25, 2009
How Received: Library
Summary: How far will Rose go to keep her promise?
The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir's Academy was the deadliest ever in the school's history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them... including Dimitri.
He'd rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?
At the end of Shadow Kiss, I hated the decision Rose made – I think it was rushed and that she didn’t think her plans through. She’d been through guardian training, so she should have known to not rush in.
Rose, my favorite character, disappointed me in this book. Yes, that Rose, the one I’ve been going on and on about; the one who practically bleeds epic-ness. I watched her mature in Frostbite and Shadow Kiss, so I expected more from her than this. She had no plans, didn’t know where the hell she was going – she could have been blindly stumbling around Russia for months, for goodness sakes! Nonetheless, I know why she did it, so I had some sympathy.
The separation between Rose and Lissa was flawless: both girls yearned for each other (not in that way), and kept wanting to check up on each other. I think this is one of the things that Richelle executed almost perfectly. There are a lot of new characters in the book, including an Alchemist, Dimitri’s family, and the mysterious Abe Mazur. I think the Alchemist really didn’t bring anything to the plot other than helping Rose around, but the last two I mentioned became essential roles in Rose’s “quest”.
The flash backs in Rose’s memories of Dimitri were like adding salt to a wound. I love Dimitri, I’m already depressed, and Rose insists on lingering on memories that will hurt her (and me).
I cried near the end of the book. I cried so much, as if I was experiencing Rose’s loss myself. I had no idea how much I actually felt for that character, or Rose’s struggle, until I found I had to quit reading for a while to cry it all out. But despite the Plan B we find out about for Rose’s happily ever after, I can’t help but want Rose and Adrian to get together. I feel like Adrian keeps getting the short end of the stick, ever since he was introduced in Frostbite.
A lot of the writing could have been cut out – there were a lot of unnecessary scenes that weren’t even essential to the main (or even secondary) plot. I’m so used to Richelle keeping up with that fast-paced progression, so I was actually shocked when I noticed about 100 pages could have been cut to make this a shorter read. And at the end, we were basically where we began at the end of Shadow Kiss. The only difference is that now Rose has a Plan B she can fall back on.
Cover Musings: I liked it. It wasn’t great, but it’s just Rose solo. What do I get from the face? Well, to me, the model looks desolate, which is exactly what Rose is feeling. She has to do something she doesn’t want, and that shows.
Once when I was in ninth grade, I had to write a paper on a poem. One of the lines was, "If your eyes weren’t open, you wouldn’t know the difference between dreaming and waking." It hadn’t meant much to me at the time. Now, three years later, I understood the poem perfectly. (pg. 1)
"No one had ever called me unnatural before, except for the time I put ketchup on a taco. But seriously, we’d been out of salsa, so what else was I supposed to do?" (pg. 38)
"Yeva sat in a rocking chair and appeared to be the world’s most stereotypical grandmother as she knit a pair of socks. Except more grandmothers didn’t look like they could incinerate you with a single glance." (pg. 111)
"Of course I like her. She’s a great person."
"No, I mean like. Not like."
"Oh, I see," he said, rolling his eyes. "We’re dealing with elementary school definitions of ‘like’." (pg. 197)
"Why did you come here?" he asked at last.
"Because you hit me on the head and dragged me here." If I was going to die, I was going to go in true Rose style. (pg. 291)
Okay God, I thought. Get me out of this and I’ll stop my half-assed churchgoing ways. You got me past a pack of Strigoi tonight. I mean, trapping that one between the doors really shouldn’t have worked, so clearly you’re on board. Let me get out of here, and I’ll... I don’t know. Donate Adrian’s money to the poor. Get baptized. Join a convent. Well, no. Not that last one. (pg. 412)
"We can retreat and retreat and let ourselves get backed into corners forever," she’d said once. "Or we can go out and meet the enemy at the time and place we choose. Not them."
Okay, Tasha, I thought. Let’s see if your advice gets me killed. (pg. 415)
I nearly dropped the plate I held. "You’ve asked me out tons of times."
"Not really. I’ve made inappropriate suggestions and frequently pushed for nudity. But I’ve never asked you out on a real date. And, if memory serves, you did say you’d give me a fair chance once I let you clean out my trust fund." (pg. 494)
Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: Out of the four books, this has to be my least favorite. I still loved it completely, but I didn’t love it as much as the first three. My emotions were every which way in this book, and I think that’s reflected in my haphazard, random review. Personally, I think a lot of what happened in the book could be cut; we basically end up where we left off in Shadow Kiss – the only difference is that now Rose has a crazy Plan B to fall back on. Some of the new characters didn’t even seem essential to the plot. And Rose was a huge disappointment because she showed way too much weakness for all the growing up I saw her do in the first three books.
Still, I’m very, very excited to see how the turn-of-events in Blood Promise turn out in Spirit Bound!