Thursday, 20 January 2011

Book Reviews: Vampire Academy - Blood Promise and Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead.

* Please note: in my reviews for the  Vampire Academy series there are spoilers for previous instalments of the series.

Product details:
Publisher: Puffin.
Paperback, 493 pages.
Release date: February 4th 2010 (first published 2009).
Rating: 4½ out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Series: Vampire Academy #4
Other books in series: Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss.

How far will Rose go to keep her promise?

The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them. . . including Dimitri.

He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?

If Vampire Academy piqued my interest, Frostbite made me fall in love and Shadow Kiss got me addicted, then Blood Promise is the book that ripped my heart right out! OK, so maybe I’m being a tad dramatic, but, make no mistake, this book is heart-wrenching and emotional, and while I loved it for the new depth and sophistication it adds to the series, I had to take a little time out after reading it.

This book is set in the aftermath of the huge Strigoi attack that took Dimitri away from Rose and changed her life forever. Rose has travelled to Russia to hunt down, and ultimately kill the newly-turned Strigoi, Dimitri. It hurts me even to type that sentence! Can I just say that I can’t believe the direction Mead has taken with this series. It’s genius, but pretty difficult to come to grips with at the same time!

On her travels in Russia, Rose meets a whole new cast of characters, including Sydney, the Alchemist, mysterious and powerful Abe, and Dimitri’s family, who she stays with for a time. I loved the inclusion of Dimitri’s warm and welcoming family. It was so great to find out about his background and his origins. Rose maintains her connection to the Academy through Lissa and their bond, and also through Adrian, who can visit her dreams. Naturally, things are not running smoothly back at Saint Vlad’s. There is a new girl on the scene, called Avery, who has taken somewhat of an unhealthy interest in Lissa, and also in Adrian, which makes Rose a little jealous. Hmmm…interesting!

Of course, everything in this book is building up to the moment when Rose and Dimitri finally meet, and oh, that scene took my breath away, as did a few others that followed! I guess we have to consider Dimitri as the enemy now, although Mead makes that very difficult for us and for Rose, as elements of the old Dimitri are still there. For example, he still pretty much has the same swoonworthy good looks although as with all Strigoi he is deathly pale, and his eyes are rimmed with red. Also, he still refers to Rose as Roza from time to time. Le sigh. It’s an impossible situation for Rose to be in, and it’s difficult for her to keep her focus. She knows she must kill Dimitri and free him from life as a Strigoi, but with him looking all dreamy like he does, that’s not an easy task. This leads to some great plot twists, and some epic fight scenes too!

This one is a great read. It’s slow to start, as we’re surrounded by new people and places, but once things get going, it never lets up. I really felt for Rose in this one. The book left me heartbroken for her. Mead leaves just enough of the old Dimitri there that the reader can’t entirely consider him as the enemy, which makes things difficult to say the least. The ending, though, is one of optimism and hope for Rose, as she makes her way back to Saint Vladimir’s Academy to set a new plan in motion.

Product details 
Publisher: Puffin
Paperback, 479 pages
Release date: May 18th 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Series: Vampire Academy #5
Other books in series: Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise.

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s—and to her best friend, Lissa Dragomir. It's graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives outside of the Academy’s cold iron gates to finally begin. But even with the intrigue and excitement of court life looming, Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri. He's out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance, and now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won't join him, he won't rest until he's silenced her...forever.

But Rose can't forget what she learned on her journey—whispers of a magic too impossible and terrifying to comprehend. A magic inextricably tied to Lissa that could hold the answer to all of Rose's prayers, but not without devastating consequences. Now Rose will have to decide what—and who—matters most to her. In the end, is true love really worth the price?

Spirit Bound opens with Rose back at Saint Vladimir‘s Academy, about to graduate, and enter into her destined life as a guardian. That’s not all that’s on her mind, though. Her lost love, Dimitri, is after her, and he’s out for the kill. Can she save him from eternal life as a Strigoi? What of Adrian, her new boyfriend? Yes, they are now dating, and things are hotting up, but are her feelings for him real, or is she just trying to move on from Dimitri?

After all the action and emotional turmoil of Blood Promise, this one was a little slow to start for me. Also, Lissa features quite a lot here, and if I am going to be totally honest, let’s just say that I liked that she didn’t appear too frequently in the last book. While I am a huge fan of Rose, I have to say that Lissa isn’t my favourite character. She plays a huge part in this book though, and redeems herself somewhat for her earlier selfish behaviour, so I will forgive her from some of the personality traits that irk me. Also, more Lissa means more Christian, which is always a good thing in my mind!

This book mostly takes place at the Royal Court of Queen Tatiana, which means that the graduates of Saint Vladimir’s have more freedom and with that comes more opportunity for Rose and Co. to find trouble.  They find this in abundance, with an elaborate prison break, which sees the reintroduction of a very important character from the first book in the series. This prison break is all centered around Rose’s mission to free Dimitri from his undead state, but it seems that Dimitri does not want to be freed. In fact, Dimitri is quite vicious in this one, and that led me to developing a bit of a thing for Adrian…

Oh yes, call me fickle because I am. I haven’t changed allegiances. Ultimately my heart belongs to Dimitri. Heck, I was crying over the guy in the last book, but here he just annoyed me. I’ve been warming to Adrian with each book, and now I totally get what all you ‘Team Adrian’ girls see in him. I fear he’s going to have his heart broken by Rose, though. However, he is much more appealing than Dimitri in this book, although Dimitri has that mean and moody thing going on that I love. I’m a little torn.

There is a major twist towards the end of this book which lands Rose in a lot of trouble and which completely blindsided me. I did not see that one coming! There are also major secrets revealed about Lissa’s family which sets everything thing up for a truly amazing finale in Last Sacrifice. I can’t wait to read that one. Richelle Mead has created a truly wonderful series with great characters. It has become one of my favourites and  I can't wait to see how it all wraps up!


  1. I loved Blood Promise. I enjoyed Spirit Bound but thought the plot twists got out of hand. I still can't wait for Last Sacrifice though - hopefully I'll get it through the library soon. I am Team Dimitri, but I've really grown to love Adrian.

  2. Love your reviews for this series. It is one of my favourite series. Love Rose and Dimitri together but I can see why she wants Adrian :)

  3. Oh yes, you're totally addicted lol. I have the first three of this series on my shelf but haven't got to them yet. I will do one day... they sound fab!

  4. I need to read the rest of the books in the series asap - I have just read the first. I finally finished The Hunger Games series so hopefully, I will finish this too.

  5. @Alison - the plot twists were a little crazy! I figured out the twist with Lissa's dad early one, but not the other one! I just started reading Last Sacrifice. Loving it!

    @Nic - I feel the same about Dimitri and Rose, but Adrian is pretty yummy too!

    @Slowest Bookworm - totally addicted. I dunno why I put off reading this for so long!

    @Misha - you'll love these. I still haven't read The Hunger Games. Can you believe it?!

  6. Absolutely fabulous reviews Leanna! Blood Promise ripped my heart as well, I had a lot of trouble reading that book because I'm so in love with Dimitri. I warmed to Adrian as well, how could you not in Spirit Bound, but I will always be a Dimitri girl. I could have slapped him when he was fawning over Lissa though and pushed Rose away. Can't wait to see what you think of Last Sacrifice!

  7. I can't believe I've only read book 1 so far! I promise that book 2 and beyond are up soon on my ridiculous queue ;)

    Great reviews (both of them), Leanna! I definitely need to continue this series now!

  8. I fell in love with Adrian as a character right away though I still thought Rose and Dimitri were perfect.

    I actually haven't yet Last Sacrifice yet either. I've got to get around to it!


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