Let be known that this is the third book in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series.
Mead fans know what this means.
It means that this is the book that will have you crying. It will have you throwing the book across the room, cursing at Mead for putting you through such intense emotional turmoil. This is not (repeat: is not) an exaggeration. This is the honest to God truth. The third book in a Richelle Mead series is always a bad OMG WTF WHY?!?! Book.
I've read "Shadow Kiss" previously. I read it last year. Still, I was very angry with Mead.
I knew what was coming, knew how the ending would play out -- and still. Still I was angry and heartbroken.
I will do my very best to write this review without any spoilers of the previous books, but as this is the third in the series, it may be hard to do -- I will try to warn in advance if something spoilery is about to be said.
"Shadow Kiss" finds Rose a bit more mature than the first two books. And why shouldn't she be? After all that she's been through, it makes sense that she'd have grown up a little. She's fought against the Strigoi, she's lost friends and she's lying to her best friend about her feelings for her older instructor.
Rose, who has made her first kills, begins to learn what it means to really be shadow-kissed. She begins to question her role in Lissa's life as well as her purpose in life and the choices that others seem to have made for her. As she questions her lot in life, she's haunted by ghosts and is dealing with the upcoming Guardian graduation and trial for Victor Dashkov.
Then there's there ever growing threat of the Strigoi --- a threat that is steadily moving closer and closer toward St. Vladimir's Academy. As Rose runs into battle, she faces the biggest choice of her life to date: Lissa or Dimitri.
One of the things I love about this book is watching Rose grow. Not just her questioning the things around her, but how she handles herself in the face of adversity and how she keeps her wits about her when shit hits the fan.
But remember, this is the third book. The thing that I hate (which I can't mention without spoiling the story), I also secretly love. I love the emotional drain Mead puts me through. Finishing this book leaves a person exhausted physically and emotionally. By now you're attached and emotionally invested in all of these characters, so when Mead puts her characters through the ringer and then kicks them while they're down -- yea, you get angry.
This is my interpretation of Mead's third book in the Vampire Academy series (and this is probably a good interpretation of the third book in any of her series): "Hi, I'm Richelle Mead. Here's my book, it's like the heroin of the reading world, only more addicting. When you get to the end, I'm going to take that heroin away and leave you with the shakes, a cold sweat and no alternate form to sate your addiction."
Reading "Shadow Kissed"….it was like the pearly gates of Heaven opened up and the moment I was about to step inside, an evil Richelle Mead threw me down into Hell, laughing maniacally.
So, thanks Richelle. Thanks a lot.
But, if you're a fan of the books that keep you emotionally invested to the point of insanity, this book is amazing. Depending on your taste for masochism, will depend on how you rate this book.
Me? I'm a glutton for punishment.
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