Synopsis: Rose knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa - the last Dragomir princess - must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken...
Then a strange darkness grows in Rose's mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy's iron gates. The immortal undead are closing in, and they want vengeance for the lives Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most...but will her choice mean that only one can survive?
Date Published: November 13, 2008
Published By: Razorbill
Number of Pages: 443
I'm going to start this review off by saying that I genuinely do like reading the Vampire Academy series. It's light, fluffy vampire lit that's not meant to be taken too seriously. But there were a few things in this installment in the series that irked me that I just have to get off my chest. As a result, this review will probably come across as negative but that doesn't mean that I'm not enjoying this series. It just means that I'm being nitpicky and overanalytical and bitchy. But I'm still entitled to my opinion.
So let's start off with what I did like about Shadow Kiss. First, I liked how the world was expanded when Rose, Lissa, and co. had to travel to see Queen Tatiana. We got to see the inner workings of the vampire Court (and, also, a vampire court) and it was a really compelling part of the story. I also loved the interaction between Rose and the Queen. It was so cool to see Rose stand up to this major bitch. Not sure it was the wisest decision, but it was badass to read about nonetheless.
Also, I'm loving Adrian's character. (More please!) He's a Bad Boy but in a sarcastic, funny way not in a dark, brooding way. As far as I am concerned, he is criminally underused in this story. I'll admit I like him a little bit more than Principle Love Interest Dimitri Belikov. Adrian's just so much more fun.
And that's one of the problems I wanted to talk about - the romance between Rose and Dimitri. I don't know if it's because I'm over the whole 'forbidden love' trope or what, but I am not really invested in their relationship. Like, at all. More and more, it's starting to feel a little bit 'Twilighty' to me. I get it, you guys are so in love with each other, and you'll die without each other and blah, blah, blah but honestly? I cannot figure out why they like each other. I mean, Dimitri doesn't seem to have much of an actual personality. Besides the fact that he's stoic and responsible (except he's not) and he likes cowboy novels. But Rose is all like 'oh, he's such a badass' and 'OMG he's so hot' and 'oh, I cannot possible love anybody else.' And I'm still trying to figure out how she appeals to him.
So, these two are inexplicably in love and it all builds up to the Cabin Scene. If you've read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you haven't and don't want to know, stop reading because SPOILER ALERT!
Rose and Dimitri have sex. And it is the most boring thing ever.
I understand that it's Young Adult and, typically, sex in YA is only alluded to or written in very vague terms. But, come on. I've read kissing scenes that were hotter. This is an actual line that was used: 'I wish I had the words to describe sex, but nothing I can say would really capture how amazing it was.'
Well, try, honey, because right now, I am drier than a bone.
So that's my rant about the romantic aspect of Shadow Kiss. A couple of other quibbles:
-Rose starts to see ghosts - but she doesn't tell anybody at first because she thinks people won't believe her. Seriously? In a series about vampires and magic and the undead, ghosts are unbelievable? I'm sorry, but that's stupid. I felt like it was just something added in to stretch out the plot.
-the Strigoi are the most boring evil vampires I've ever read about it. They don't seem that scary and, even though they are considered so dangerous that Moroi have to be guarded throughout their entire lives - apparently they're not that hard to kill.
Let me end this review with something positive. I liked the twist at the end and I'm really glad Richelle Mead made a bold choice as to what direction to take the series in. I think the next few books will only get better. At least, I hope so.
Sorry for being so bitchy. Feel free to argue with me in the comments.