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THE BOOK -Blood Promise
by Richelle Mead
Bk. #4 of Vampire Academy
First published in 2009 by Razorbill
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
EDITION I PURCHASED -Paperback, 503 pages
Published in 2010 by Razorbill
My Rating: 5/5 stars
THE PLOT -Guardian 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.
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?
Shadow Kiss, the previous novel in this amazing series, has one of the most powerful last lines I've ever experienced. Those 10 words set the tone for the absolute... epicness that was Blood Promise. After discovering that Dimitri has been turned Strigoi, Rose sets out on the impossible task of tracking him down and fulfilling the promise she made to him: if he was ever turned, she would kill him. Forbidden love is one thing, but the phenomenal twist that Mead incorporated into her story is something that I've never experienced before.
The dramatic change that Rose has undergone since the beginning of Vampire Academy is even more apparent in this installment. The death and heartbreak this girl has experienced is unlike anything I've witnessed in YA literature and I have to give credit to Richelle Mead - not every author has the guts to put their characters through half of the trials that Rose alone has experienced. It's an incredible breath of fresh air, and I have to say that, thus far, this series has helped me come a long way as far as rediscovering my love of reading is concerned. I just hope that Rose gets some semblance of a happy ending after everything she's been through. I don't know if that's even possible, but if there's one author that can manage the impossible, it's Richelle Mead. Her writing never fails to impress me.
Dimitri is a character that I've loved since the beginning of the series, so you can imagine how my heart broke when we discovered he'd been turned into a Strigoi. Of course, he's still as badass - even more so, in fact - as he was when he was a dhampir, but there's something horrendously cold and calculating about him now. I think the worst thing about Strigoi Dimitri, however, is the parts of him that didn't change. Though everything he does is laced with menace, his mannerisms and certain parts of his personality are the same, and that hurts. I don't want to associate this cold creature, hell-bent on either killing Rose or turning her, with the warm, protective guy who could happily get lost in western novels and loved Rose fiercely.
Sydney is a character we met whilst Rose was traversing Russia, and I have to say that I absolutely loved her. With her appearance came the introduction of yet another element of Mead's unique mythology: the alchemists, a group of humans that help dhampirs and Moroi out in a lot of ways, despite their distrust and borderline hatred of the supernatural. It's clear that the alchemists are only doing what needs to be done to keep humans ignorant, but it's not as though they don't get any personal gain from the job. Unfortunately, we don't really learn anything about the unit as a whole, but Sydney herself was pretty cool. She never pretended to be or feel anything other than what was true, and she was pretty blunt about it all. I can't wait to find out more about her in Bloodlines.
Despite being inside Rose's head for 500 pages, I can't even begin to understand the emotional trauma that the events of this novel imparted upon her, but Mead's writing definitely helped. Her style is so personal and easy to read, and the way she integrates new characters flawlessly is definitely a highly coveted gift. I have yet to meet a character in this series that I disliked because of the way they're written.
Another aspect of this novel that I enjoyed was the forays into Lissa's mind. Seeing her downward spiral following Rose's departure was interesting, especially considering the reasoning. With the introduction of Avery Lazar, I started to worry about Lissa. I never trusted Avery - she seemed too manipulative, and the relationships she had with both her brother and her guardian were... odd. There was always something about her that bugged me, and when I found out what it was, I was definitely surprised. Regardless of that, however, I think that the fact that Rose can still help Lissa from thousands of miles away is proof of the bond they share, and despite thinking both Rose and Lissa should have been more affected by the distance, at least they both had reason - dangerous distractions.
Overall, this is a fantastic installment in an already amazing series, and I can't wait to see what happens next. With the amount of loose ends and new characters being introduced left and right, I can't even begin to imagine a conclusion to this series. But with two books remaining, I'm definitely excited to continue the journey.