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Blood Promise is the fourth book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. It was published on 26th May 2009 by Puffin and is 336 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.
Books in the Vampire Academy Series
1. Vampire Academy
2. Frost Bite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
5. Spirit Bound
6. Last Sacrifice
The recent Strigoi attack on St Vladimir's Academy was the largest and most dangerous that the school has ever seen. It forced everyone to take note of what is really happening after the deaths of students, teachers, Moroi and guardians. Facing a life worse than death is Dimitri, who was taken captive.
Rose and Dimitri promised each other a long time ago that they would both rather be dead than Strigoi so Rose knows what she must do. Forced to leave best friend Lissa, Rose takes off on a mission find Dimitri and save him from himself. Along the way, she must be the bearer of bad news when she meets Dimitri's family and finds out that there is a lot more to life than St Vladimir's. The biggest question of all on Rose's mind is whether or not she will be able to do what is needed to keep her promise to Dimitri. Destroying the love of her life will be the hardest trial Rose has ever faced.
What I thought
I have to start by saying that Blood Promise is by far my favourite in the series so far. I have really, really liked each book that came before this one but if I had to give them a star rating, they would have all been 4 stars. This is a definite 5 star book.
I felt for Rose so, so much in this book. The love of her life was captured and awakened by the Strigoi and is now everything that she has been taught to hate. Even though Rose has been away from St Vladimir's before, she had Lissa with her so this is her first time in the real world all by herself. If that wasn't enough, she is travelling through places she has never been to and doesn't speak the language, putting extra pressure on her mission. I really enjoyed visiting all of the different places that Rose went to and I thought that descriptions of a couple of places in particular, like Dimitri's house, were fantastic. I could really imagine him growing up here and baking bread after his mother made him do it himself. This part of the story made it possible for me to connect with Dimitri a lot more.
Although Rose has gone off to Siberia, her friends back at the Academy haven't been forgotten. Due to the bond that Rose and Lissa share, Rose is able to check in on everyone and find out what is going on. I would have missed finding out what Lissa was getting up to because she has been such a large part of the previous books. Another good thing about bringing in the other characters was Adrian being able to visit Rose during her dreams. I love the way that he acts, always so full of himself but he is slowly beginning to show his true colours and let the softer side of him come through.
I really enjoyed meeting Dimitri's family and finding out where he came from. It was so nice to see that even though they had never met Rose, they instantly made her feel like one of the family, even before they realised just how much Dimitri meant to her. I think this gave Rose a lot of time to grieve and realise exactly what happened. If she had stayed at St Vladimir's, she wouldn't have had the chance to do this and it would have ended up doing her a lot of emotional harm. A lot of the characters that Rose met along the way were extremely interesting, especially Sydney, the Alchemist and Abe who I hope we find out more about later on. There was something about him that I just couldn't put my finger on and I couldn't quite decide whether he was going to turn out to be a good guy or a bad guy.
Dimitri was fantastic in Blood Promise. Obviously turning Strigoi means turning into a complete badass at the same time. As a guardian, Dimitri was hard but caring at the same time. It was clear that he cared a lot for Rose and wanted what was best for her and I really did like this side to him. On the other hand, I am a sucker for a bad boy and I don't know if you can get much badder than a Strigoi. I was a little worried about how this was going to play out between Dimitri and Rose but I wasn't disappointed at all. I could completely understand everything that Rose did while she was in the situation with Dimitri and I didn't feel like it went beyond stupid at any point. The passion between the two was very believable and even though I knew what was happening was wrong, I couldn't help but still want it to happen a little bit. During this part of the book, I felt my heart break multiple times and just when I thought everything was over, another turn would shock me.
Once again, Richelle Mead leaves us with a massive cliff-hanger. This time, the story was left quite open in terms of the possibilities for what could happen in the next book. I was pretty certain that one thing was going to happen but a lot of other things were quite vague, leaving me excited for the next instalment. I don't think that there was anything that I disliked about this book and that is a massive reason why it is my favourite so far. There is loads of action, passion and mystery surrounded many of the characters. I hope this carries on for the last two books in the series.
*May contain spoilers..read at your own risk!
In Blood Promise, Rose travels to Russia in hope of tracking Dimitri down, so she can carry out his promise. While doing so, she gets caught up with his family, who I really liked meeting. I love how, as well as the main plot, Mead has weaved in lots of other twists, I think the one regarding Dimitri's youngest sister Victoria and another of his sister's who is pregnant is just..I can't even describe it. Shocking might be a word one would use, but it's disgust I felt when Victoria was horrible to Rose after she tried to help her!! Especially after she had countlessly said how much she loved having Rose around. Le sigh.
As well as the Belikov family, Blood Promise introduces us to lots of new characters, we meet two more Spirit users like Lissa, an 'Alchemist' who sounds quite scary if I'm honest, and another person who I would *not* like to meet in a dark alleyway:
I love Rose's determined mind as she goes on her journey to fulfil the promise she and Dimitri made to each other. I really admire her loyalty to him, and that she will risk her life because Dimitri would've hated what he had become. She finds out things she never would have dreamed of..and there are plenty of awkward situations she get's herself into on the way.
When she finally finds Dimitri the situation is anything but ideal. It was such an upsetting thing, to see how much he had changed, but Rose was eager to look past that because there would still be that rare moment where she'd almost forget about this new Dimitri and look into the eyes of the old Dimitri; the gentle, caring Dimitri that she was in love with. Those scenes were extremely intense and made me realise how much I loved thinking about the two of them together. Their relationship before was touching, but it was heart-wrenching to see how it had transformed into something completely twisted (when you look at it in the right light) and I just wanted to grab Rose and hug her tightly.
Richelle Mead has done it again. Blood Promise is an addicting read, as we follow Rose Hathaway on her adventure. It left me wanting more and more, it made me laugh and cry and it totally messed with my mind. I felt we got to really *see* all the characters for the first time; Rose's mother actually showed some emotion *gasp* and Adrian's dedication to Rose really shines throughout the novel.
But two words about the ending..CLIFF HANGER!!!!
At the end of Shadow Kiss we find out that Rose is going to hunt down Dimitri, who has recently been turned into a strigoi, in order to kill him and release his soul, as they had promised each other they would do if it ever happened that one of them turned strigoi. She travels to Russia, thinking that he may have returned to his home country. Here she meets his family and another moroi/dhampir pair who are bonded after the moroi saved the dhampir's life. She feels at home here but after falling out with one of Dimitri's sisters she leaves with a band of strigoi hunters to a nearby city where many strigoi are known to live. It is here that she comes face to face with her worst nightmare - Dimitri as a strigoi. This then leads to Rose having to make the hardest decision of her life. Meanwhile, through her bond with Lissa, Rose can see that Lissa is sliding out of control and has to deal with the guilt of knowing that there is nothing she can do to help her best friend from across the other side of the world.
I have to say that I was very excited to be starting this book after reading the cliff-hanger from Shadow Kiss - I was very glad I had this one to hand so I could start reading it straight away. However, I did not like this book anywhere near as much as I liked the others in the series. The first part of the book, where Rose is travelling through Russia in search of Dimitri's home town and then her time with Dimitri's family, was very slow reading and I found myself having to force myself to carry on as I really wanted to find out what happened in the book. I think too much time was given to Rose's grieving and her memories of Dimitri. I understand that Rose is grieving for the man that she loves but it is not something that I really want to read about for a third of a book, plus it did start to become a bit repetitive.
It was not until Rose met up with Dimitri that things became more interesting for me. But even though the plot was a lot better from this point on, I'm afraid to say that I did not like the character that Rose became. I can't really say much more than this as I do not want to give away what happens, but she is not the strong female character that I had grown to love. Also, there is a distinct lack of any action in the first two-thirds of the book, which is another thing that I loved from the previous books in the series.
However, the last third of the book is completely different from the first part of Blood Promise and becomes a lot more like the rest of the series. Rose snaps herself out of whatever is preventing her from making the right choices and she becomes a lot more like the old Rose. Plus, there is enough action in this part of the book to more than make up for its absence in the earlier parts. There is also another brilliant cliff-hanger that would make anybody want to read the fifth book in the series.
Overall, I was not very impressed with this book, but I could see how it was essential to the storyline and I am glad that I did make the effort to read it. I will still definitely be reading the next book in the series when it is released but I will be keeping my fingers crossed that Rose will not lose her way again.
This is the fourth book of the Vampire Academy series by best selling author Richelle Mead. With this being the fourth book in the series, there may be some minor spoilers for those who have not read any of the series so far, but I'll try to keep them to a minimum - however, one big spoiler cannot be avoided, as the review simply wouldn't make sense without it's inclusion
At the end of the last book, Dimitri, Rose's friend and fellow guardian, became Strigoi against his will, and promptly disappeared. Rose knows Dimitri well enough that she knows he would hate being a soulless killer, and remembering a conversation between them where Dimitri told her he would rather die than turn Strigoi, she sets out for Russia, and Dimitri's childhood home, in order to kill him and give him peace.
This isn't an easy decision - can Rose really kill the man she loves, even if he has changed . And how will Rose's friends, including Lissa, the last of the royal Dragomir line, manage without rose to defend them? How will Rose cope with a life away from the orderly routines and regulations of the academy, with only her own intuition to guide her?
Lets define a couple of terms that are going to crop up in this review . Moroi refers to a vampire who was born into it, a vampire who is still, for all intents and purposes, mortal. These vampires feel from willing donors, and those from powerful royal families (of which there are several) are protected by guardians .
Guardians are usually Dhampirs - half human, half Moroi , and they benefit from increased instinct and strength. Their job is to defend the Moroi against their biggest threat, Strigoi.
Strigoi are not born, but turned - either against their will by another Strigoi, or by choosing to deliberately take a life. They are evil, bloodthirsty, and begin to lose all sense of their former self the minute they turn.
With this book being set in Russia, and initially focusing on Rose as she goes about her mission on her own, this book has a very different feel to the others - different scenery, different customs, and lots of new characters to meet . We learn more secrets of the vampire world, and discover a hidden underworld where 'blood whores', humans who are addicted to being fed from, are rife. We learn more about how the noble and rich families operate, some of it not entirely pleasant, and overall this book has a much darker feel , especially when we meet the mysterious and sinister Abe, a Moroi who has two guardians, almost unheard of for a non royal.
He seems to be following her, intent on getting her out of Russia and back to the school . He also seems keen to find out what Rose is doing in Russia in the first place, and it's not clear until the end of the book what his motives are, or who has asked him to follow her .
I like the way the bond between Rose and Lissa is used to keep us up to date on the goings on back at the academy, as well as Arians gift for visiting dreams . This provides a very interesting dual plot line, as it's clear that things are not going too well for Lissa without Rose, as she begins to go further and further off the rails, largely in the company of new-best-friend Avery . The bond and the dream hopping could almost seem like they were planted conveniently in past books in order to allow just such a double plot to develop, but both tactics are used sparingly in the book and with good reason, which prevents it from seeming a cheap and convenient trick.
I particularly like the new character of Sydney - the only -pure human to be introduced to the series so far . It's really interesting to get into the head of a human who knows about the Dhampir, Moroi, and Strigoi, and see her reactions to various situations, as well as her feelings . She actually shows a small amount of prejudice at the start, branding Rose as bad and dangerous as the Strigoi, and not differentiating much between the three vampire races at all . It is interesting to see how her views and attitudes change throughout the novel, and to see her become much more open minded . It was also great to see prejudice dealt with tactfully in a teenage book .
Roses interactions with Dimitri -turned Strigoi are highly emotional, and I felt really well handled. We can see that Dimitri has changed for the worse drastically, but we can still see bits of the Dimitri Rose has come to know and love, even more so after she spends time with his family. We really get to appreciate the difficulty of the decisions she has to make, and the temptation to be selfish and do the wrong thing .
This plot has so many twists and turns, and so much to it that it is almost overwhelming . There is so much going on in this book, every scene leads somewhere important and I found it impossible to put down, reading the whole book in one 6 hour sitting. I was thrilled with the ending, which was such an unexpected surprise, and which left plenty of scope for the next book without leaving me feeling I'd been cheated of a satisfactory conclusion.
The best of the series so far in my opinion, and a full 5 stars!
This is the fourth book of the Vampire Academy series by best selling author Rachel Mead.
The previous book ended emotionally, and by the end there were too many horrific situations that Rose just couldn't cope with. After Dimitri turned Strigoi (by force), Rose knew she had to hunt him down and kill him, for they had a conversation where they acknowledged with each other, that they'd rather die than turn Strigoi.
Rose leaves the Academy, and by doing this, she also leaves her best friend Lissa, her bound partner who she'd always wanted to protect. But Rose grieves for Dimitri, and she knows that he needs her more than Lissa does.
And so starts the beginning of Rose's quest, a quest that eventually leads her to Dimitri, a reunion that is emotional for Rose, for she is torn in two, for she doesn't want to kill him, but she knows she must.
We're also given insights into Lissa's life, as Rose regularly visits her in her mind, which allows the book to not just be about Rose, but sort of connects everything together.
I won't give too much away, so will stop at there, but this book is definitely an excellent read, and although we're back to square one at the end, circumstances change such that we know we're in for a treat in the next book.
I knew Mead was going to be good, but I didnt think she'd be that good.
You'll be in for a real treat. And by the end, you'll realise that Rose's problems have just begun...