Is Rose’s fate to kill the person she loves most?
It s springtime at St. Vladimir s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since Mason s death, Rose hasn t been feeling quite right. She has dark flashbacks in the middle of practice, can t concentrate in class, and has terrifying dreams about Lissa. But Rose has an even “bigger” secret . . . .She’s in love with Dimitri. And this time, it s way more than a crush.Then Strigoi target the academy in the deadliest attack in Moroi history, and Dimitri is taken. Rose must protect Lissa at all costs, but keeping her best friend safe could mean losing Dimitri forever
The very worst thing about rocking up fashionably late to an already popular series is the spoilers. Especially when you are almost ten years late to join said series. It’s tough. Not only do you have to navigate treacherous and sometimes down right dangerous waters when trying to steer clear of spoilers, but if you have friends who were madly committed to the series you are basically doomed.
This was the case for me with ‘Shadow Kiss’. I had no intention of reading the ‘Vampire Academy’ series by Richelle Mead so my fifteen year old self didn’t worry about staying clear of said situations. So, I knew way before I even picked up ‘Vampire Academy’ or ‘Frostbite’ just what I was getting myself into with ‘Shadow Kiss’ and let me tell you – nothing, I repeat NOTHING could have prepared me for the pain and feels experienced when venturing forth into the third installment. I thought I was ready – I was not. Sheer Ruthlessness on Richelle Mead’s part – what a twist! Thank you for breaking my heart and crushing my soul like a grape. Now I’ going to sit in a corner and rock backwards and forwards until I can get my hands on ‘Blood Promise’.
‘Shadow Kiss’ was incredible and now by far my favorite installment in the ‘VA’ series (well, so far anyway!). The stakes (heeheehee pun intended!) have been raised taking this series to the next level on a number of fronts and man was it epic. Despite having the lengthiest word/page count of the first three installments, ‘Shadow Kiss’ just seems to fly by. I seriously couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and mainly because not only was this a great read but it’s just so easy to fall back into Rose’s familiar world. – Even if the first chapter recounts do get a little tedious after three installments. Nothing kills a reader’s buzz more than previous book recounts. Dear publishers, we are not stupid! We’ve read the first books and know what happens. Please do not insult our intelligence with boring retellings! –
As well as seeing the characters we all know and love again we also slip back into the compelling prose of the ‘VA’ world. Richelle Mead’s writing is simple and yet effective, layered with plenty of the snark and wit we come to expect from her. The action just keeps getting better and better, the banter even more hilarious, our beloved characters growing and maturing but still with plenty of our favorite steamy scenes heaped in between. Richelle has really developed this series, it’s not just the scenes and story that get better with each book, it’s her characterization, her writing and pacing. There was so much foreshadowing woven into each scene with the tension and action rising to a heart breathtakingly, gut wrenching climax.
But, at the heart of Richelle’s world is still our beloved, fierce heroine Rose Hathaway. Rose you seriously kicked some ass in this one! Rose was seriously feeling the pressure in this one. She’s a young woman trying to survive high school amidst fighting bad girls and evil strigoi (even nasty politics and royals). And, when she’s not dealing with these? She’s protecting her best friend Lissa, dealing with their bond, her growing relationship with her sexy mentor Dmitri and managing her grief after losing mason. To say she’s more than got her hands full would be the understatement of the millennia. Rose’s character also takes a much darker turn in ‘Shadow Kiss’. As the novel’s name suggests, we begin to see the negative side effects of Rose and Lissa’s bond begin to take hold of her. She’s trying her darn best to stay strong whilst spiraling down a very dark path. Seeing ghosts? Man I would have run screaming for the hills faster than you could say “blood”. But instead of cowering behind the sidelines like I would, our girl Rose swallows her fears of going “crazy” and stays strong. She really is something.
During the course of ‘Frostbite’ we were given a glimpse into the politics of the Dhampir/Moroi world and ‘Shadow Kiss’ gives us more and more. In ‘Shadow Kiss’ we begin to see Rose and many of her peers begin to question their place in their society. For centuries, Dhampirs had been dedicating and sacrificing their very lives to protect the ancient moroi and yet Rose, amidst the heartbreak and action starts to ask why. Richelle layers these statements and serious themes into our favorite world to raise questions about equality in society and we can see these same universal issues mirrored in our own. This is a series which takes risks – Richelle is not afraid to take on darker themes and those which are avoided like depression and mental health, sex and grief. Amidst these social tensions we have a young woman dealing with the loss of a friend and the guilt that comes with Surviving. It’s these moments, stitched and embedded between the banter, pounding romance and Lissa and Rose’s bond that help to make ‘Shadow Kiss’ rival it’s predecessors.
On a parting note, if like me you still have yet to take on this series – SNAP TO IT! Young adult or adults alike will relate to Rose, Lissa, Christian, Dmitri and Adrian. Whether your here for the steaming romance, the feels or the vampire lore you will not be disappointed. Highly recommend this series! 5 Stars.
– now excuse me while I go and dry my eyes from that god damned ending *sniffle*