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Saturday, September 5, 2009

'Blood Promise' (Vampire Academy #4) by Richelle MEAD

From the BLURB:

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? 

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

‘Vampire Academy’ is one of the best YA series I have ever read, and ‘Blood Promise’, the 4th book in the series, is just further proof that Richelle Mead is deservedly one of the reigning queens of the Urban Fantasy genre.

‘Blood Promise’ had a lot of hype surrounding it – mostly because of the explosive cliffhanger at the end of ‘Shadow Kiss’, which had Rose Hathaway dropping out of school to kill the man she loves. Richelle Mead definitely had a hard task ahead of her to live up to the expectations of that Grand Canyon-sized cliffhanger.

The best way I can think to describe the book is to compare it to one of my all-time favorite TV shows; ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. Remember that season 3 opening episode, ‘Anne’? Set a few months after Buffy killed Angelus, the love of her life, and fled Sunnydale… we pick up with Buffy waitressing in a diner under the pseudonym ‘Anne’. She’s really just going through the motions, mimicking life, just trying to get through the day nursing her heartache and guilt.

Well, that’s kind of the somber tone permeating ‘Blood Promise’. Rose has found her way to Russia and is fighting Strigoi (vampires) while also searching for her red-eyed lover. She frequently lapses into bleak moods as she traipses through Dimitri’s homeland and muses over their love affair as well as all the things now lost to them.

Also dragging on Rose’s mind is Lissa. In setting out on a mission to free her lover’s soul from vampirism and eternal damnation Rose has left behind her bondmate and best friend. While on her Russian exploration Rose checks in on Lissa through their spirit-bond, which allows her to slip into Lissa’s mind and see through her eyes (without her knowing it). During these ‘Being John Malkovich’ moments, Rose sees that Lissa and the flirtatious Adrian Ivashkov are moving on with the help of party-girl Avery Lazar who is the daughter of St. Vladimir’s new headmaster. Avery seems to be taking Rose’s place as Lissa’s new bestie and Adrian’s new crush.

I have to say, the parallel storyline of Rose’s search for Dimitri and Lissa’s high-school dramas felt a little odd at times. I have never really warmed to Lissa as a character, which isn’t surprising because from the first book Rose and Lissa’s friendship has been strained by secrets, resentments and pent-up frustrations. And since the books are currently being told from Rose’s perspective, as a reader we side with her and understand her struggles with the dhampir/Moroi master/slave society.

But in ‘Blood Promise’ Rose is setting out on such a heartbreaking, weighty task. She is going to kill the only man she has ever loved. Meanwhile, the plot occasionally veers off into teen-melodrama with Lissa’s story and it detracts and distracts from Rose’s more compelling and serious mission.

Regardless, Richelle Mead has written yet another edge-of-your-seat drama that seamlessly blends fantasy and romance for the YA audience.

I read this book in a few hours because I could not tear myself away from the story. Richelle Mead writes fantastic action scenes that read like screenplays for the vivid direction.

In this book Mead has also introduced some fabulous new characters – from Dimitri’s Siberian family to the mysterious Abe/Zmey who is following Rose around Russia. I really hope these become recurring characters, because some great and intriguing back-story was given that has me eager to meet these characters in future books. Mead also does a fantastic job of expanding on the character of Adrian. In previous books he has been little more than a drunken flirt on Rose's periphery. In this book we see a different side to him, and he suddenly becomes a very legitimate love interest for our girl Rose.

** SPOILER AHEAD **

My one complaint has to do with the ending. Yes, it does end on another cliffhanger, that doesn’t bother me. What was frustrating was the fact that nothing was properly resolved in ‘Blood Promise’. By the end, nothing has changed. The story is in exactly the same place as it started out, and the lack of resolution and progression is keenly felt.

Regardless, I did enjoy ‘Blood Promise’, and I fully intend to troll the Vampire Academy chat boards to further dissect and speculate on the events in ‘Blood Promise’

4/5

6 comments:

  1. I kind of read this with one eye open because I really want to read this series soon..but it sounds like I won't be disappointed!

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  2. I haven't finished this book yet, so I didn't read your spoiler, but I am LOVING this series! I'm starting to really like Adrian too, and I dont' know why but I don't like Avery - nothing I can put my finger on, just don't like her!

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  3. I really loved Adrian in this book. I was never a fan of his before, but in 'Blood Promise' he really steps up and Richelle Mead beautifully sets him up as a potential love interest. He was once just the chain-smoking drunk on Rose's periphery, but Richelle Mead reveals hidden depths in this book.

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  4. Now that I've finished the books, yes I do like Adrian very much, she's really made him a sympathetic character.

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  5. Do you think it is possible in Spirit Bound that we discover Dimitri and Adrian are half brothers..Dimitri's father was royal and all Dhamphir children take their mothers name. Maybe Adrian will cure Dimitri Because he loves Rose and wants her to be happy. Also, I think Dimitri will be a Moroi when he regains his humanity, that leaves the option for him and Rose to have children. Richelle mead mentions children alot for it not to mean something.

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  6. I am in love with this series and Dimitri as well. I really hope they can get together at the end of this book and Lissa can find a heathly way to channe the side affects from spirt but not into rose.

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