Rose Hathaway’s life will never be the same.
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?
This was such a hard book to rate for a good number of reasons.
Okay, I want to start off by firmly putting it out there that I am not, by any means hating on this book. Though I love this series and the characters that inhabit Richelle’s world I didn’t love this installment. Was I disappointed? Yes. But, that doesn’t mean I hated ‘Blood Promise’ and want to tear it apart into tiny little shreds. This was not a 1 star read, it was flawed but there were some redeeming qualities that saved ‘Blood Promise’ and bumped it up to a solid 3.5 stars.
Before going into the fourth installment in the ‘Vampire Academy’ series I knew that ‘Blood Promise’ was going to be our game changer. I mean after the heart shattering, gut wrencher of a cliff hanger in ‘Shadow Kiss’ how could it not? Our kick ass protagonist Rose Hathaway is on a quest. Dmitri is worse than dead – he has been turned strigoi against his will and it’s up to our girl Rose to save him and honour his last dying wish. Despite it’s rather mixed reviews I had high hopes for ‘Blood Promise’. A road trip with Rose Hathaway to Russia to kill Dmitri? Um, yes!
But here’s the thing – Rose isn’t the kick ass heroine we all know and love. Rose is shattered (much like us). Not only has she lost the love of her life, she has to kill him; which is much easier said then done. We all know Dmitri was a god-like-warrior when her was a guardian – so it’s not hard to imagine him as a strigoi.
So basically ‘Blood Promise’ is your classic protagonist-hits-rock-bottom installment.
You know – that one book in every series ever when suddenly things aren’t going our heroes way or they’ve lost the love of their life and they don’t have the energy and hope to push forward. Now don’t get me wrong, when done right this can be the epic game changer of the series that pushes our protagonist onto a new path and sets the ball moving for the final confrontation between them and the antagonist. It can be a powerful, epic, emotional journey (Think ‘Heir of Fire’ or ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ by Sarah J. Maas) but most times it’s this installment that’s either hit or miss. Boy can this one really makes the reader struggle.
For me ‘Blood Promise’ was a lot like Stephenie Meyre’s ‘New Moon’ or ‘Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix’ – my reading experience mostly consisted of me basically bribing and pushing myself to keep turning the pages. Despite its compelling premise, I found the first 300 pages of ‘Blood Promise’ boring. After the epicness that was ‘Shadow Kiss’ I wanted a bloody, gut wrenching showdown between Rose and Dmitri. Instead I got a whiny, weak Rose tracing all over Russia giving us emotional (but rather pointless) flashbacks and angst over Dmitri. Now I’m not saying a girl can’t hurt over her significant other’s death but it wasn’t griping and emotional in a good way like ‘Heir of Fire’. It was just downright depressing and hard to push through. I felt as though everything – the characters, the pacing and writing were all off in this one leaving the story muddled, bland and very, very long.
Now before you think “hey? I thought she said she wasn’t going to hate all over this book?” don’t worry – I will continue this series. After all, I haven’t invested this must time and effort in getting through ‘Blood Promise’ only to give up now. Besides, the other reason this was a hard one to rate was the fact that there were parts of the book I enjoyed, even loved.
Even though things got really weird really, really fast when we met evil Dmitri he was still sinfully hot and I was intrigued by this new darker version. He was blood thirsty, manipulative and didn’t hesitate to attempt to use and abuse Rose or use his new found strigoi abilities and manipulation to try and convince our girl to join him in the land of the undead.
I also loved those few glimpses we got of Lissa, Christian and Adrian back at the academy. Seeing Lissa struggle to move on without Rose kept me from hitting my head against the wall on a great number of occasions. Through the murky, dark waters of Rose’s journey Lissa’s gave us snapshots of the ‘VA’ we had come to know and love through the previous instalments.
But, what really saved this 2 or 3 star read and bumped it up to a solid 3.5 were the last 200 or so pages. That plot twist with Lissa’s storyline – so did not see that one coming! Now that was the ‘VA’ I was waiting for! Jealousy, compulsion, betrayal and bad ass fights – this is what I was so patiently waiting for and boy did Richelle deliver. The last 200 pages brought back all the feels reminding me of the ‘VA’ I love and so desperately needed really saving ‘Blood Promise’. Finding out who Rose’s father was, seeing the squad and Janie Hathaway again was all worth the wait and slow push through the first 300 pages. What a shocking twist of revelations!
It was these revelations back at the academy as well as that explosive fight scene between Rose and Dmitri that left me with a wicked grin on my face leaving me pumped to continue onto ‘Spirit Bound’ now that Rose is back where she belongs and newly reunited with her squad. Despite ‘Blood Promise’s’ flawed beginning it was still, in the end, worth the read. I still believe it to be the weakest link in the series so far but not a complete and utter waste of an afternoon. 3.5 stars.