Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review - Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead - with or without spoilers!!

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3)Shadow Kiss
by Richelle Mead
Paperback, 443 pages
Published November 13th 2008 by Razorbill


It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all...might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose's forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line--and choose between the two people she loves most.


I have waited to write this review for too long. Some reviews just leap out of my head, you know? And some linger. I enjoyed Shadow Kiss more than any other in the VA series so far (and I've finished Blood Promise, now, too. Lol.) It's the character development... and swelling pace.

Rose has always been the main character in the series, but now she's central to even her own thoughts. She has issues to deal with and the theories about the ghosts are all relevant. I was certain they had something to do with her being shadow kissed mostly because of the title - ha! There are too many possibilities and I loved her brainstorming. I enjoyed her new, serious tone and her clearer perspective of those around her, like Christian and Adrian. She stops discounting their every move and paying attention to their very different characters.

There is a growing tension between Rose and Lissa that I found rather satisfying. Rose has always laid down her life for Lissa, who has not always been worthy. The relationship has never been healthy. It hasn't. I thought it was about time that questions were raised about it and Rose examined her own thoughts and feelings. Mead turned up the tension 'til I was squirming!

But she also turned up the HEAT!  Dimitri reacts to Rose's life being threatened and his own feelings in a very logical, very romantic... very swoonworthy way! I want to smack him over his reaction to Rose's apparently insane moments. He struggles to keep an open mind and listen - but he does! And then he does much more than that!!

The premise on Goodreads rather stinks. I pulled this premise (above) off Mead's website. Premises should not include anything spoilerish, you know? Grrrrrr  I spent quite a bit of the book anticipating the final scenes, which is ridiculous.

My Rating - 4.5. Shadow Kiss fast-paced & exciting with character depth & progression. I'm getting comfy with the author's style and I skipped right over reviewy-ish sections without missing a beat. If the author keeps growing on me like she is, I'll be back to re-read the entire series some day, and maybe I'll catch something I missed hopping ahead, too excited to read every word.

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3)Cover Commentary: This cover (above) looks like Rose has whiskers. I keep staring at it. I like this cover (left) much better. It looks Russian, doesn't it? It's the cover that was on my library copy.

Now onto MY spoilers!!!!  If you haven't read this book - STOP HERE!!!

I am reading this series because of raving fans, so I'd love to hear what you thought of this installment in the series!!

It's like every character started showing a deeper side, you know?  Mason's death impacted everyone deeply. I really loved that aspect. They are training to kill Strigoi... and it's understood that Strigoi are faster, stronger and more lethal... so obviously the people they train with, train under, look up to are ALL vulnerable to getting killed. And yet, it still effects them deeply. This big, widespread reaction really made everyone more approachable for me - the Moroi and the Damphir and the whole system. It gives their friendships a sort of desperate edge. They live day-to-day not knowing what will happen next. 

Which was the perfect atmosphere for the huge Strigoi attack!!!  Wow!

I thought my heart would leap out of my chest when Rose left Dimitri fighting untold number of Stigoi to go sound the alarm. I mean... I read that premise on Goodreads:
Is Rose’s fate to kill the person she loves most?
Strigoi target the academy in the deadliest attack in Moroi history, and Dimitri is taken. Rose must protect Lissa at all costs, but keeping her best friend safe could mean losing Dimitri forever…
Are you kidding me?!  I went into that love scene in the cabin with this in the back of my mind... Dimitri is going to be taken!!  And then she had to run from him, leave him alone to save the campus?!

Wow. I didn't think I'd survive that. Or rather, I was sure Dimitri was done-fer.

So I was keenly aware of Rose's enthusiasm for hunting down the Strigoi in the caves. I understood and I felt as passionate about rescuing Eddie, especially, but all the while, I was chanting "no, no, no" somewhere in the back of my mind. That was painful.

I did NOT expect Christian to actually step up like he did. I was open-mouthed-shocked. There's so much talk about Moroi using their magic, but they're so ingrained to run and hide, you know? I didn't expect anyone to actually do something! Of course... as soon as control was re-established, he was not allowed to continue. Oh, no... they chose other Moroi to throw at the caves. *sarcastic drawl*

Lol. I'm very much on Rose's side of things. She may have been overly dramatic in the first book, but she's got my support, now, 100%. Lol. 

The ghost thing was a really fun puzzle. The ghosts were completely new and unexpected and rather urgent to figure out. I felt like they were the key to unlocking new depths of possibilities. I was nervous that the royal Moroi would catch on and stop any progress that might lead to changes. I was nervous that they might find something bad... like Rose really needs to be dead, or something. Yikes!  I was hoping they'd find something usable and powerful. It was shocking how effective a warning they were - that they respond to the border magic.

Did anyone else notice that Mason refused to tell Rose where Dimitri was before moving on to his "peace" at the end of this book... and then Blood Promise begins with Rose going to where Mason told her to go?!  I understand the differences... no big deal. But... from what I saw of the ghosts, Mason describing Russia would be rather complicated. I was curious how she got the answer from him... and how Mason was so knowledgeable in the first place. I mean, why not ask the ghosts about Strigoi more often if it's so effective? But that's just the beginning of my review for the next book. So, I'll stop now.

Oh wait... I forgot to mention the cabin scene and Dimitri!!!  Ha!

That was amazing, wasn't it? I mean, they tossed all their reservations to the wind, but I love the reasons why!!  Dimitri loves Rose and decided that he loved her despite responsibilities and should's or should-not's. And... it was all very carefully YA. *ahem*  I have a feeling Mead could have added much more to that scene if she wanted to, but she used Dimitri's reserve in sharing with us. I was thanking her even while I was complaining. :-D

About the Author:

Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

More on her BIO page.

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Get Your Copy:

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See my review of Vampire Academy & Frostbite:

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)  Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2)

Did you see this?

Coming February 12, 2013:  The Indigo Spell, #3 in the Bloodlines series!

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)