Thursday, April 12, 2012

REVIEW: "Blood Promise" by Richelle Mead

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
(Vampire Academy #4)

Young Adult--Paranormal--Vampires
Penguin/Razorbill--August 2009
Paperback, 503 pages 


How far will Rose go to keep a 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?


Blood Promise begins right where Shadow Kiss left off.  A massive Strigoi attack has left St. Vladimir's Academy trying to deal with the multitude of casualties (Moroi and dhampir) including Rose's mentor, and lover, Dimitri.  She knows that Dimitri has, more than likely, been turned into a Strigoi against his will.  Now, she is heading off to Russia to find him and fulfill the promise they made to each other about not wanting to live their lives as a Strigoi. 

Through Rose's adventures in Russia and Siberia, readers get to see a wider view of Mead's complicated and original supernatural world.  There are lots of new characters and new ideas being thrust as Rose while she tries to find Dimitir.  This provides her with real-world training and helps her mature rapidly.  She can no longer be the impulsive, carefree teenager she once was.  Rose must know use what she has learned both at the Academy and from Dimitri to survive and accomplish her goal. 

One of the most poignant plot points is the journey to Dimitri's hometown where Rose meets his mother, grandmother, and sisters.  This provides her with a deeper understanding of dhampir culture away from guardian training.  Readers and Rose have heard about communities where dhampirs live together without Moroi and provides an interesting perspective on Moroi/dhampir relations.  In addition to the non-fighting dhampirs, Rose also sees rogue dhampirs who fight Strigoi without allegiance to the guardians.  This allows her to see the positive and negative effects of becoming a vigilante like she has always threatened. 

Rose also gains a deeper understanding of Strigoi in this book.  She is searching for Dimitri and this forces her to interact with quite a few Strigoi.  The violence of their lifestyle is shown in all its brutal glory as well as the allure of their undead freedom.  Readers have heard and seen bits and pieces about the Strigoi, but this book provides a true look at the inner workings of this culture and why it can be so seductive and dangerous.

There are many new characters that Rose meets in Russia and Siberia.  The two most intriguing are Sydney the Alchemist and Abe Mazur the mysterious Moroi.  Alchemists are a group that is new to Rose and she learns quite a bit about their mission to keep Moroi/Strigoig/dhampirs existence from the human population.  Sydney seems to be a difficult character to like at first, but I found her rigid personality to be a fun foil for Rose.  Abe Mazur is a flashy Moroi who has taken an interest in Rose and seems to have connections throughout the world.  I look forward to seeing more from these two fabulous new faces in the Vampire Academy world.

In terms of old characters, most of the book follows Rose's adventures so there is little about the gang back at St. Vlad's.  But, readers do get to see some through Rose's connection with Lissa since the guilt that Rose feels for abandoning Lissa in Shadow Kiss forces her to keep watch on her friend.  Primarily, readers see Lissa deal with the shame of not helping Rose and of trying to deal with the darker side of her spirit powers without her.  This is one of the first times that Lissa is forced to show her strength and it made me like her character a little bit more.  We also continue to see Adrian, who communicates with Rose through his dreamwalking abilities.  This is sweet, humorous friendship that has a deeper undertone which is fascinating to read about.   

This book has a nice balance between action and drama with lots of twists and turns being thrown at the reader.  The events of Shadow Kiss have turned Rose's world upside down and readers are watching her deal with these developments.  Characters are changing and the adventures are getting more dangerous as the series slowly head towards its climax.

Rating: 5 Stars

Vampire Academy
1. Vampire Academy
2. Frostbite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
5. Spirit Bound
6. Last Sacrifice

1. Bloodlines
2. The Golden Lily (To Be Released 2012)

1 comment:

  1. This may have been my favorite of the series. It's where I learned to love Adrian! But also, I loved Dimitri's family!!

    Thanks for reminding me how much I love this series :)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books


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