Thursday, December 4, 2008

Review: Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)

But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line--and choose between the two people she loves most.

Shadow Kiss, by Richelle Mead, is the third novel in the Vampire Academy series. Rose Hathaway, a dhampir student, is forbidden to love her handsome guardian, Dimitri Belikov. Meanwhile, she must also protect her best friend, Lissa, the last Moroi royal member of the legendary Dragomir family. Lissa has a special gift: spirit, which has inexplicable healing and compulsion powers. This is their last year at St. Vladimir's Academy, a private school for Moroi and dhampir children in the remote wilderness. Lissa plans to attend college, and Rose will become her guardian alongside with Dimitri permanently. Unfortunately, her feelings for Dimitri have become very difficult to ignore even if she's in the middle of her guardianship field experience. She must also face her worst enemy, Victor Dashkov, at the Moroi Royal Court.

Since her first Strigoi kills, Rose has never felt the same. She feels responsible for the recent violent death of Mason, a former classmate who had a major crush on her. No matter where she goes, she notices his sad ghostly appearance and suffers other dark flashbacks warning her that something evil and terrible is approaching the Academy. She can hardly concentrate in her studies with the dreams and panic attacks. Rose hates lying to Lissa, but who would believe her story that ghosts exist? Adrian Ivashkov, another spirit user and nephew of the Moroi Queen, has a major crush on Rose, which makes her life even more complicated. He becomes Lissa's mentor as they both uncover the secrets of spirit. Meanwhile, Christian becomes increasingly frustrated and jealous at Adrian for reasons even Rose cannot reveal because the truth would shock them all.

When the Strigoi surprisingly attack the Academy, Dimitri is unexpectedly captured. Rose must make a painful and ultimate decision. Will she choose to protect Lissa over her love for Dimitri? Or will she sacrifice Lissa to save Dimitri? No matter which path she chooses, she must do what is right for herself.

Wow! This series gets even better and more unpredictable. I love Mead's writing style because she is great on character and plot development. It took me only a week to finish this novel. I could not stop reading which is quite impressive. The ending is so sad that I became emotional. I won't spoil it, but I really feel for Rose. All this time she knew she would become a guardian, but the Academy attack changed her perspectives on life. Is her loyalty to the Moroi more important than her own feelings? Relationships are tested through novel, and some love triangles emerge (Adrian-Lissa-Christian, Adrian-Rose-Dimitri). Readers will learn how vulnerable Rose becomes as she endures being "shadow-kissed" (higher awareness of the supernatural and sensitivity to Lissa's spirit magic) because she came back from the dead. Although their relationship was forbidden since dhampirs cannot marry nor reproduce, Rose really loved Dimitri. It's also tragic that she leaves behind her friends, especially Lissa and Adrian. The next book will focus on how she will face him again in her incredible journey to adulthood and self-realization.

I highly recommend this series to teens and young adults. You must read Vampire Academy and Frostbite to understand the plot. Stay tuned for more updates. The fourth novel will appear in 2009.

1 comment:

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