Thursday 24 January 2013

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Title: Blood Promise
Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-141-33186-7
Pages: 493
Series: Vampire Academy #4
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased

St Vladimir's has been attacked and as a result Rose has lost everything she holds dear. She had to choose between Lissa and Dimitri and has now journeyed to Russia to fulfil a promise to Dimitri. As Rose travels she doesn't realise the horrors and revelations in store for her, nor does she realise just how much danger she has left Lissa in and it quickly becomes clear that the risks are greater than ever before.

This is the fourth book in the Vampire Academy series (after Vampire Academy, Frostbite and Shadow Kiss) and if you're new to the series I'd recommend going back and starting with the first book. This review is also likely to contain spoilers for the earlier books.

I was really looking forward to this installment after the dramatic end of the previous book, but I have to say I ended up a little disappointed. The book has a dark and at times dismal feel and is much heavier in subject matter than the previous installments. The storyline is divided between Rose's quest to find Dimitri in Russia and Lissa's school life at St. Vladimir's which means there are two entirely distinct plots at the same time. The plots are well written and both build to dramatic endings, although I felt Rose's dragged at times.

Rose has travelled to Russia in search of Dimitri, essentially in order to kill him. Along the way she is introduced to Sidney and the existence of Alchemists who have existed for hundreds of years to protect humans from vampires (both moroi and strigoi) and their dhampir guardians. Syndey took a lot of getting used to as she is pretty bigoted against non-humans at the start, although I gradually warmed to her and ended up liking her a lot by the end of the book. Rose also meets Dimitri's family and experiences what life is like for dhampir's who choose not to become guardians.

Rose also learns more about spirit users and being shadow kissed and her reunion with Dimitri is dramatic. At times it felt like Rose stayed too long in certain situations and that is where the storyline felt dragged. One thing I loved that I didn't expect to was little flashbacks to Rose and Dimitri at happier times as these helped lighten the overall darkness of the storyline.

Meanwhile back at St. Vladimir's Lissa has befriended new girl Avery on the prompting of the Queen. It's interesting to see her reactions to political manipulation, and also how Lissa chooses to act when Rose isn't around. It quickly becomes clear that rather than being a bad influence, Rose was the only thing helping Lissa make good choices and before long her relationship with Christian is on the rocks and Lissa is putting herself in real danger.

All in all this was an interesting read and I'm looking forward to Spirit Bound.

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 8/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 42/50

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