Series: Vampire Academy #4
By: Richelle Mead
Published: August 25th 2009 by Razorbill
Edition: Hardcover, 503 pages
Categories: Vampires, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult, Paranormal, Magic/Spells/Incantactions/Curses, Vampire Academy Series
Rating: 3.5 Cupcakes (Rounded up to 4 Cupcakes) - Simply Delectable!
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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 will 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?
***Careful – there are spoilers if you haven’t read books 1-4!***
My Thoughts: I liked the fourth installment of the famed Vampire Academy series, but I'm not in love with it. While reading it, I enjoyed each page and every trial and tribulation that Rose faced; however after finishing it and picking up book #5 ... I don't know, it felt like a filler book. What I mean by that is... Rose had to do what she did - she had to go after Dimitri and kill him. She had to leave the Academy. I understand all of that. But back in Montana, Lissa was left in the hands of Avery Lazar, who happened to be a spirit user as well ... who was using her influence to turn Lissa into a rebel so that she could kill her, and bring her back as her own minion. I just feel like that wasn't a necessary story line minus the chasm now formed between Lissa and Christian.
Don't take that as me saying I didn't like the book as a whole, because I did. It's got the same gut-wrenching, heart-string pulling, action-packed insanity that the first three books have. Those are all of the factors that kept me engaged and not willing to put the book down so that I could get some sleep! With each book Rose continues to grow, and become someone that surprises even her at times. She spent a lot of time in the first three books giving to others, giving herself for the benefit of those she loves and cares about - which is what a Guardian should do. But now we find Rose doing something for herself, and in a sense for Dimitri as well, as she is going to carry out a promise that she had made to him. Rose has to get closure for her relationship with Dimitri. She needs to finally realize he is gone, close the book, and begin a new chapter. Of course, nothing goes that easy for our dhampir heroine. Oh no. First she has to become Dimitri's blood whore, take on a houseful of Strigoi, and finally face the facts - she has to stake Dimitri once and for all ... or face death or worse - Dimitri turning her into a Strigoi like him.
While in Russia, Lissa spends time with Dimitri's family and watches scornfully as they celebrate his memory at the memorial service in which they all gain closure - everyone except for Rose. Rose also meets Sydney, who is an Alchemist, as well as Abe "Zmey" who turns out to be Rose's father. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I figured that out the second I saw his name. But that really didn't change my feelings on the book, I just happened to have put those few pieces together from the previous book(s). I am hoping that we get to see more of Oksana as well, because I really enjoyed her character as well as her husband. The fact that a dhampir and Moroi can be married and living together while bonded gives us hope that when Rose gets back to the Academy and keeps her promise to Adrian, that just maybe they can figure out how to work their forbidden relationship.
Overall, I think for a mid-series book this one gave us enough of what we needed, wanted, and craved and is carrying us over to book five just fine. As I've said prior, I'm happily surprised at how much I've come to love this series and feel like the characters are friends I go to school with (if only I were a kick-ass dhampir!!)
If you've read the first four books, let me know what you thought!