Sunday, 5 December 2010

Vampire Academy: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead, book #4 VA series

February 2010, Puffin
512 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Young adult, Paranormal

Vampires (still in there, more of them, fangs showing too), a few adult situations and innuendo, lots of violence, lots of heartache, areas with constant tension, tissues needed, occasional strong language

Summary from Penguin

How far will Rose go to keep a promise?
The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir's Academy was the deadliest ever in the school's history, claiming the lives of many. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them - including Dimitri. He'd rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa-the one she has sworn to protect no matter what-and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago.
But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?

Nayuleska's thoughts
I'm a little in awe of Richelle's writing skills. What she does to this book is pretty neat. There are lots of big revelations at the end of the book that made me feel like I'd walked into a lamp post. Looking back, I feel that I should have made the connections sooner. I know I forgot to mention in the review for book 3 about Rose and Lissa's powers growing. I hoped they would grow some more, and I guessed they had to since there are still another 2 books to go after this one. How they grow in this installment blew my head away. Wow!!! The tricks are really neat and hold a lot of potential for Rose and Lissa. Equally I think this is providing brilliant material for the next series in the VA world.

My heart was in my throat from the beginning. I knew how hard it was for Rose to accept Dimitri was Strigoi. She went quite crazy in wanting to take revenge - it takes her a while to realise just how crazy with grief she was. I kept secretly hoping that Dimitri hadn't really been turned, that it was an undercover operation. Yes, I realise this sounds silly. You don't act Strigoi. He was Strigoi. And oh I hated him. I could see why Rose was struggling with her feelings because he still felt good. But he isn't. And she learns that. She plots and plans and finds a way out. That isn't even the end of the book. The end had me wanting to bawl my eyes out. Leaving the academy to hunt for Dimitri meant that Rose and to leave Lissa. That hurt her. She couldn't be there as Lissa turned nuts. She didn't even know what was going on, only that something wasn't quite right. Thank goodness for Adrian, and a few new characters who turn out to be good friends. As for Rose's new benefactor, the revelation about him was supremely unexpected and very welcome.

The emotional pain that Rose goes through really got to me. Not only her, I saw the pain of Lissa and other characters who struggled to cope with Rose's actions, and also their own actions. Having spent more time learning about their lives, I was affected more by events now than I was in the first book. All of them have changed. They've matured in a lot of ways, but they all have faults in their personalities too. Faults which lead them to make silly mistakes, some which appear irreversible. Vampires may not live our world (apart from in our imagination), but everything Rose suffers we go through. I think it would be hard to find someone who can't relate to Rose after reading this book.

Another point I'd like to cover is how Richelle covers a few sensitive issues in this one. The self-harm isn't really there, but she does deal with alcohol (and the effects of it, although it's a bit different for magic users). I liked how domestic abuse was explored - I felt it portrays the mixed feelings of the victim well. I have a feeling this will be explored further in the next book (I read the blurb on the back of the book).

Final conclusion
I'm so glad I'm reading these all in one go and not waiting for each book to come out. Blood Promise keeps layering up the magic in Rose's world.

Be sure to check out books 1-3, Vampire Academy, Frostbite, and Shadow Kiss. (links to follow soon)

Richelle can be found on her website here


Tara Maya said...

Ooh, that sounds really good. But I guess I ought to start at the beginning of the series.

Nayuleska said...

Yes, it is a good idea to start at the beginning if you can.