Series: #3 in Vampire Academy
Release date: November 13, 2008
Read it in: 4 days
Holy. Freaking. Crap. I just finished this book and I'm pretty much speechless right now. I can't even... wow. Haha, this was one of the craziest book endings I've ever read, and I am really understanding now why everyone is so in love with this series!
First of all, I was so happy to finally see Dmitri and Rose get together, after holding back on their feelings for each other because of their duty as guardians to the Moroi. We all knew that they were meant to be together, and it's so satisfying to see things finally happen between them! Of course, their relationship takes a huge turn for the worst (to say the least) but still, I'm glad that I got to see them have the chance to at least let each other know how much they love and care about one another.
We also got to learn more about the larger, outside vampire world in this book-- the Moroi Royal Court, all of the politics and corruption going on, the power struggle between the Moroi and the Dhampirs... it was really interesting to see that bigger picture. At this point in the story, there is a huge argument going on about whether the Moroi should fight and defend themselves along with the guardians, or continue to rely on them like they always have. These larger dynamics really help to flesh out the story and the world of Vampire Academy.
I'm pretty sure I will never get tired of Rose's snarky attitude and remarks. This girl seriously had me laughing out loud throughout the entire book, even though the plot itself dealt with many heavier and darker issues. I think that Rose's humorous point of view balances perfectly with all the serious themes this series deals with.
But I would have to say that probably the best thing about reading this series-- and what makes it so interesting-- is seeing the characters develop and mature throughout the books. Richelle does such a great job of developing her main character, Rose, and making sure that she learns from her mistakes and grows into a better person throughout the struggles and conflicts she faces. In Shadow Kiss, we see Rose growing up, taking on more responsibility as a guardian to the Moroi, and learning to not act on impulse. Reading from Rose's POV, we get to follow her throughout the story, get to know her strengths and weaknesses, and cheer her on the entire way. I feel connected to this main character-- and that's probably the #1 most important thing an author can do, is make her readers feel closely connected to the characters. Bravo, Richelle! :)
And OMGosh, the ending. I feel like I should have seen it coming, but it totally threw me for a loop. Like, I'm still in shock. I have no idea what's coming next in this series, but I'm pretty much dying to find out! And can I just say? Adrian turned out to be so freaking adorable-- even though he definitely has his flaws-- I loved seeing that vulnerable side to him and hope we see it more in the later books. I'm also looking forward to seeing exactly where Rose and Lissa's friendship goes from here, now that Rose has such a seemingly impossible task ahead of her. I think it goes unsaid that I am definitely planning to read the next book in this series really soon!