I know, I know. There's been a huge gap between my reviews of the first three Vampire Academy books and this review of the fourth one. All I can say is it's been insane this month with the holidays and the Cybils reading, my little boy's birthday, and my anniversary, etc. On the bright side, it has all combined to give my thoughts time to percolate somewhat on Blood Promise. I had been warned in advance that, give my reactions to the first three books, this one might not be my favorite. At the same time others encouraged me with the promise of a measurably higher Adrian quotient in this installment, which might well factor into shoving the Siberian chunkmeister that is this book to the forefront of the series. Either way I was very interested to find out just how Rose handled the fallout from the painfully messy end of Shadow Kiss.
A WARNING: beyond this point lie unavoidable spoilers for the series. Proceed at your peril.
Rose is leaving St. Vlad's once again, this time on her own and possibly for good. Against everyone's wishes, she leaves her best friend and charge Lissa behind and heads for Siberia, where she is certain Dimitri would have gone after becoming Strigoi. Once there Rose manages to infiltrate the local dhampir culture and relentlessly hunts for someone to direct her to the home and family Dimitri described to her in such loving detail. Eventually she succeeds and is forced to meet his family and explain to mother and sisters just what happened to their beloved son and Guardian. Meanwhile, back home, Lissa and crew are failing rather spectacularly to cope with life without Rose and post-attack. Lissa and Christian are on the outs, there are a couple of interesting new characters in town, and Adrian is the only one who seems to grasp what is happening. He appears in dreams to Rose, urging her to tell him where she is and to impress upon her the importance that she not throw away her life and that she return as soon as possible. Everything, of course, changes when Rose finally encounters Dimitri once more...
So there were some ups and downs with this one. I missed St. Vlad's. I really did. I like the school, I like the world Richelle Mead has created there, and the majority of this book took place on the frozen planes of the Middle of Nowhere, Russia. Since I am no longer a Rose/Dimitri fan, it was not a fun process watching Rose relive all their precious moments together in the presence of his family and mourn for what seemed like endless pages the loss of the love of her life. Honestly, Dimitri sort of fell out of my head with surprising rapidity what with being absent for so much of the book and then present in his evil
Angel Strigoi form. I looked forward to every scene in which Rose psychically eavesdropped on her comrades back home and her dreammeets with Adrian most of all. Call me crazy, but the dude gets more interesting with each passing page and, for the life of me, I can't understand the undying Dimitri lovetorch everyone seems to be carrying. Along those same lines, why must they all persist in being so oblivious? These are smart kids. Sure, they're blinded by love and daily scrapes with death and dismemberment, but I would think by now they'd have learned to trust each other a little bit more than they do. Most of all I was bothered by a particular turn Rose's character takes in the latter half of the book. I mean it rubbed me so wrong I was livid. And, though I feel things ended on a strong note (minus one annoyingly predictable twist at the very end), I hated seeing Rose that way. Perhaps I'm merely too impatient and things will progress more apace in the next installment. My anger on her behalf does seem to indicate I'm on her side. We shall see.