Wednesday 23 January 2013

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

Title: Shadow Kiss
Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-141-32855-3
Pages: 443
Series: Vampire Academy #3
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased

Rose Hathaway knows the romance between her and her tutor is forbidden, and worse that it places her best friend Lissa at risk. As Rose enters the final stage of her guardian training she is surprised to find it more challenging than expected, and more surprised to realise moroi students seem to be appearing bruised and battered with no explanation. But forces beyond Rose's control are building at could put everyone she loves at risk.

This is the third book in the Vampire Academy series (after Vampire Academy and Frostbite) which follows the moroi (vampire) and dhampir (half-vampire) students at St. Vladimir's academy. I recommend reading in order as each builds on the books before. The storyline was interesting and well-paced and builds to a dramatic no-holds barred showdown that is action-packed and full of brilliantly choreographed fight sequences.

Rose's shadow-kissed nature takes a larger role in this installment as she begins seeing ghosts and for the first time I found myself feeling sympathetic towards her. I was disappointed because I was able to figure a lot of the shadow-kissed storyline out in advance and had that been the only plotline my rating would have been much lower. Rose's relationship with Dimitri also adds more pressure to her situation.

Vampire politics continues to feature heavily in the books as the characters visit the Court and meet with the Queen. Manipulations start to occur and Lissa grows as a character when she manages to avoid being manipulated while expressing her own opinions in a very astute way. It seems that she's really growing into her role as the last Dragomir and her self-confidence gradually grows as she realises that.

Despite the visit to Court, the majority of the action takes place at St. Vladimir's where Rose stumbles a selection of bruised students who all "fell" and Adrian has taken up residence to work with Lissa on their spirit magic. The dhampir guardian students are finally taking their field experience, each guarding a moroi from staged attacks by the instructors. The guardian training has always been one of my favourite parts of the story so it's great to see it take a greater role.

All in all, this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Blood Promise.

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

Overall: 45/50

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