Thursday, January 6, 2011
Pages: 503 (paperback)
Published: 2009 by Razorbill
Recommended for: people who've read the previous Vampire Academy books
Synopsis: Dimitri's heart has gone dark.
Now Rose must journey to the ends of the earth to find--and kill--her one true love...
Or has the time come to join him?
Bound by love, but sworn to kill... 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. 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?
I'm very much in love with this book right now. I finished Shadow Kissed, the third book in the VA series, a few months ago and doubted I would go on to read the next one. Then all the Last Sacrifice hype exploded onto the blogosphere, and I started thinking 'Wow, the last three books must be better'. Good thing I decided to give the series another shot.
Blood Promise begins with dhampir Rose Hathaway traveling to Russia to find her love Dimitri... and kill him. Dimitri's Strigoi (Dracula-esque, evil, undead vamps) now, and Rose has no idea where to start her search. I'm all for no spoilers, but she pretty much treks across Russia in her search for Dimitri, all the while fretting about Lissa, her best friend who she left alone and unguarded back at St. Vladimir's Academy. Rose ends up in Dimitri's hometown searching for clues, and while she doesn't find the man himself, she does find his family.
The thing that sets the Vampire Academy series apart from all the other vampire books out there is the complexity of the vamps' secret world and culture. In this fourth book, Richelle Mead shows us the dark side of dhampir life, as well as the positive angle to Strigoi existence (since they're not really living ;) ). I knew and everybody else, I'm sure, also knew from just reading the summary that eventaully Rose would have to run into Dimitri and he'd pull a Darth Vader and be all 'Join me, Roza, on the Dark Side, live forever.' But I was surprised to find that I actually kind of bought into all the good parts of becoming Strigoi. I mean-- live forever, eternal youth, awesome reflexes, a love that lasts forever? And becoming Strigoi is the only way that, at this point, Rose can possibly be with Dimitri. I'm sure Richelle Mead's got some huge deus ex machina in the last two books that I haven't read, but as of now, I really felt Rose's sorrow at losing Dimitri and fear and determination at the possibility of having to kill him. Rose is such an awesome MC-- she's strong and opinionated, and she makes me laugh or cheer for her-- never groan and sling the books across the room because of some stupid mistake.
I've read a lot of reviews from people who say this is just a 'filler book', and yeah, I'm going to have to agree somewhat. I didn't feel like there was any drastic change from the beginning to the end, or any one event that absolutely had to happen. And, yes, a lot of the new characters in Russia are people we may or may not ever meet again in the series, but truthfully, Blood Promise is just a really fun, enjoyable book. It's not a jaw-dropping, revelation-a-page series installment like Catching Fire or a thought-provoking dystopian, but it's definitely worth the read. There is one revelation towards the end that really made me smile and a couple of moments where I was literally tearing through the pages, hell-bent on finding out how in the world Rose would make it out alive. The 500 pages flew by for me, making this a very addictive read. I can't wait to get my hands on Spirit Bound!