I’ve been steadily working my way through the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead ever since I got sucked into the first one. Hmmm…let me clarify, the books are fun and quick reads. The part of this process that is slow is getting the books from the library. There’s not a huge waitlist, but there also aren’t too many copies.
Blood Promise (2009) is the fourth out of six novels about Rose Hathaway, a dhampir (half-human and half-vampire), her best friend Lissa (a nice vampire with special powers), and her studly love interest Dmitri (a fellow dhampir). It wouldn’t make any sense to jump into this series on Book 4, and my review won’t be helpful for anyone who hasn’t read at least the first four books. I’m also going to be throwing spoilers around left and right. So if you have any interest, I’d recommend picking up Book 1 and starting from there, while forgetting the rest of this review.
At the end of Book 3 Dmitri has been turned Strigoi and Rose has just dropped out of school to keep her promise to find him and kill him. With no idea where he might be, Rose heads off to Dmitri’s hometown in Siberia to search for him. Along the way, she meets Dmitri’s matriarchal family, learns about alchemists (humans who help vampires navigate the world without giving themselves away), and kills some Strigoi. At the same time, Lissa is still in school, struggling with her separation from Rose, and facing her own challenges.
I really enjoyed the beginning of this book as the scope widened from campus grounds to an entirely new country and culture. I also liked that Mead used flashbacks of Rose and Dmitri’s that she hadn’t used in earlier books, so I felt like I continued to learn new things about their relationship. There was a bit of a lull in the middle as Mead set up all the circumstances she needed for her finale, but once the shit hit the fan, there was no going back, and I was hooked for the rest of the book. I think this is often a pattern with this series. It starts out well, slows down in the middle, then picks up again to throw you into the next book. I guess it would be better without the lull in the middle, but you can’t have everything.
I went into this book thinking that there must have been some misunderstanding, and Rose would somehow find Dmitri unchanged. I was surprised to find I was wrong and probably even more surprised when Mead turned Rose into a weak, bite-addict yearning only for the monster she came to kill. I wasn’t sure how she was going to get out of that one. It takes some nerves to turn your teenage heroine into a addicted “blood whore.” Mead constantly flirts with the line between interesting and inappropriate. Mead began with the illicit relationship between a teacher and a student and she takes it even farther here.
As I read this book, I was constantly imagining it in my head as a movie with the actors from the first film. However, I was disappointed when I looked it up and found that they’re not making any more Vampire Academy movies. Apparently the first one was a flop. Even though it’s not perfect, I find these books significantly more fun and entertaining than the Twilight series. It’s a shame that it never found its audience. Now I have to rely on my imagination to bring it to life.
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