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Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

It's one roller coaster ride reading all these Vampire Academy books back to back like this. I'm actually starting to have trouble keeping the events separate and compartmentalized in my head. It all feels like one headlong rush to me. I maintain that the world itself is the real draw. I like how cold it feels, how dangerous and yet limned with the hint of hope and possibilities. The characters are full of potential and somehow keep their hooks in me despite the fact that I still feel parched in the depth department. Shadow Kiss is the third installment in Richelle Mead's very popular Vampire Academy series and, though it's taken me awhile to get around to reading them, I have blown through them without a backward glance.

Rose isn't the same girl anymore. Having bagged her first Strigoi and watched her friend die at their hands, she endures the ceremonial tattooing process with an almost detached stoicism. The moment was in no way, shape, or form the way she imagined it would be. Dogged as ever, she presses forward with her studies, her training, and her dedication to her friend and charge Lissa. Despite the fact that she's now regularly encountering the shade of her dead friend around every corner. And having trouble controlling unusual mood swings. And not assigned to Lissa for her Guardian practical training. Instead she gets Christian and her friend Eddie gets Lissa. Having bonded with Eddie (and Christian to a degree) through the events at the end of Frostbite, Rose manages to keep her lashing out to a barely contained level and directs her rapidly disintegrating attention to keeping Christian safe. As her anger rises, her last shreds of composure are shot to hell by regular contact with both doomed flame Dimitri and new St. Vlad's resident Adrian Ivashkov.

This is the thickest Vampire Academy book yet, and I was pleased with that fact initially. I've been wanting "more" and hoped this third volume with come through for me. In some respects it does. I like how Rose finally turns her attention inward and, when pressed, pays some attention to what's going on inside. I'm also glad she's making a few friends other than limpid Lissa and dour Dimitri. Though I never really bought the whole Mason thing, I thoroughly enjoyed watching her interact with Christian, Mia, Adrian, and particularly Eddie. The mutual respect and willingness to work together to protect their assigned Moroi lent a nice maturity to their actions and the calling and burden of the Guardians. I've enjoyed the history of St. Vladimir and his shadow kissed partner Anna from the very beginning and I liked how that played out in this more modern story as well. However, I have to say it was mostly a slog getting through Shadow Kiss. Those interesting bits were overshadowed by so much telling, so little showing, and a healthy dose of predictability. These drawbacks kept me from fully engaging. I kept wishing book two had been the longer one and that there were more scenes with Adrian in them. I saw the end coming a mile away and, as it mirrors a certain event in a certain TV series I followed religiously, I threw back my head and groaned when the fateful moment finally came. I was so not okay with it. So. I know this was everyone's favorite, but for me that spot is still held by book two. Will I be picking up the fourth book? Yes. Why? Because I am an Adrian junkie. And, yeah, I want to find out what happens to Rose. You'll be hearing from me soon.


  1. This is why I have the hardest time reading series...but maybe I'll give this one a shot. :)

  2. I love this cover. It's so much how i picture Rose, instead of the Angela Jolie rip off on the first cover.

  3. Oh, if you think you loved Shadow Kiss, just wait until you read Blood Promise!

    Though, I do have to say, I think I like the old covers better.

  4. Raspberry, it is hard stringing yourself out like that for years on end sometimes. I am, of course, completely addicted to a number of them. But some volumes do hold up on their own better than others. Depends on the author and series, I think.

    Diana, I did have a hard time getting past that resemblance on the first cover. And actually the first thing I thought of when I saw this cover was the cover for RAMPANT. Something in the ruthless, haunted determination in their faces, I think.

    Robolobolyn, I'm hoping BLOOD PROMISE is better. It's certainly longer. But I am a bit worried about having to follow Rose on her promised mission. Have the feeling it's going to be like watching a train wreck in slow motion. We shall see.

  5. Anonymous2:09 PM

    I'm sorry the books aren't working for you completely. The world Mead has created is a real draw, as you said, and I really enjoy reading about it.

    My favorite book in the series is Vampire Academy. I admit Rose drove me a little nuts in Frostbite, Shadow Kiss and Blood Promise. While I was reading Blood Promise, I did ask myself why I love the series so much. (It was my least favorite in the series.) I think I'm the only reader who believes Rose becomes more whiney and less mature as the series goes on. But I'm still looking forward to Spirit Bound. I think it's because I love the academy setting and the idea of dhampirs protecting vampires.

    FYI: Scooper speaks has a post about a 70% off sale at Dorchester publishing. I checked it out. I bought 3 Hard Case Crime novels and 4 CL Wilson novels for $20 including tax and shipping. I'm not even sure I'll enjoy CL Wilson, but she's on my to-read list and I figured I couldn't go wrong with 70% off. (I'm assuming the books are new, not marked up bargain books, since every book on their site is 70% off.)


  6. I have to say I'm loving your recap / review of the series. I think we had pretty similar reactions so far - am looking forward to your review of the fourth!

  7. Anonymous2:12 PM

    Just read your comment to Robolobolyn about your concerns for Blood Promise. I think some people liked seeing Rose away from the academy. I didn't. I'm now convinced BP won't be the book for you, but I do hope I'm wrong. K

  8. Karen, your least favorite...that does not bode well for me. I'm actually halfway through and the jury is still out. So much memorializing of Dimitri....So much Siberia...sigh.

    Thanks for the tip on Dorchester's sale, btw! Awesome. I am very interested to hear what you think of the Wilson books. I read the first one and, well, I don't want to ruin your read. So just let me know. :)

    Li, hehe. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Nice to hear someone else reacted similarly. I hate feeling like I'm the only one.

    1. I didn't. I'm now convinced BP won't be the book for you, but I do hope I'm wrong.


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