Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Shadow Kiss (VA #3) - Richelle Mead

Shadow Kiss is the third book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. It was published on 26th May 2009 by Puffin and is 336 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.

No matter how many times Rose Hathaway tells herself that it’s wrong, she can’t stop having feelings for her training instructor, Dimitri. As soon as Rose graduates from St Vladimir’s Academy and becomes a full guardian, both she and Dimitri will protect Lissa, Dragomir princess and Rose’s best friend. Lissa must always come first but if Rose and Dimitri fall in love, will that always be how it happens?

After killing her first Strigoi, Rose is quickly on her way to being an amazing guardian but she has bigger things to worry about than graduating. Lissa and Rose's sworn enemy, Victor Dashkov, is on trial for his freedom, Rose is having personal problems and is seeing ghosts. The ghosts are trying to warn her but no one else will listen. Everyone thinks that she is beginning to lose her mind. Even Dimitri doesn’t believe in ghosts. Will Rose be able to convince her friends that she isn’t crazy before it’s too late? Something bad is coming and Rose is going to have to choose between life, love and the two people who matter the most to her.

What I thought
After reading the first two books in this series, I couldn’t wait to read Shadow Kiss. After what happened in Frost Bite, I was extremely excited to see where Richelle Mead was going to take the story and what would happen to all of the characters I had quickly begun to love.

Ever since killing her first Strigoi, Rose has had some problems. She can feel a darkness surrounding her and she’s not acting like her usual self. Instead of being happy for Lissa and Christian, Rose begins to feel resentment towards them, knowing that she and Dimitri can never truly be together. She’s getting angry at the smallest things and has a hard time in controlling her temper. Also, she’s seeing ghosts. Everyone pretty much thinks that she’s insane but after seeing one particular ghost, Rose knows that they are there to help and warn her of immediate danger at St Vladimir’s. The addition of ghosts was one of the things that I liked the most about this book and a lot of thought was put into the reason why Rose was able to see them.

Rose and her other novice guardian friends go through their practical assignments, protecting a particular Moroi from surprise attacks from teachers and other guardians. I really enjoyed the twist that Mead put on this. Rose was so sure that she was going to be protecting Lissa that she was more than shocked to find out that she had to protect Christian. Everyone knows that her and Christian don’t get on very well at all so I was interested to find out how well both of them would cope. The assignment is far from easy though but not due to Rose and Christian’s feelings towards each other. I felt really sorry for Rose during this part of the book because no one would listen to her, people only added to the thoughts that she was losing her mind.

Rose has a lot going on in this book. Not only does she have to protect Christian, Adrian is still pursuing her, her mum is at the school and then there is her relationship with Dimitri. Although this could seem like too much in one book, it was done extremely well, giving enough time to each aspect. I never felt like one part overpowered another, except for maybe Rose’s relationship with Dimitri at times. Not that this was a bad thing of course. I love Dimitri so I was really happy to see their relationship finally develop and to see them happy for a while. Both Rose and Dimitri have a hard time dealing with their relationship, knowing that it is wrong and they shouldn’t be doing what they are but cant help themselves. What I like about their relationship is that even though there is so much going on, they still make time to talk and tell each other what’s been going on and how they’re feeling.

We get to see quite a lot from some of the secondary characters in Shadow Kiss. I really enjoyed seeing Christian and Rose put together for their field experience as well as getting to see a lot more of Adrian. I liked Adrian from the very beginning so it was good to see him getting a bigger part in this book. The bond that Rose and Lissa share makes it possible to see other parts of the story that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Too many books tell a story from the perspective of multiple characters now so I think this is a great but different way to get that same effect.

I’m beginning to think that Mead is the Queen of cliff-hangers. A MASSIVE battle breaks out at St Vladimir’s and there are many losses on both sides. I certainly didn’t see this one coming and as I reached the end of the book, I felt my heart break into a million pieces. I actually cried. It takes a lot for a book to make me cry and it very rarely happens. It wasn’t just a little cry either, it was full on blubbering and not being able to see anymore because of the amount of tears. Damn you Richelle Mead for making me cry that much.

So far, Shadow Kiss has been my favourite in the series but I think that each book will just keep on getting better as the series goes on.

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