This is the third book in the Vampire Academy series. As such, there may be spoilers pertaining to earlier books in the series in this review.
Author: Mead has known a lot of success in a relatively short period. She’s currently got three series on the go. Vampire Academy, certainly her most famous work to date, is riding the vampire wave created by Twilight. It also has to be said that her hair is an amazing shade of red, very pretty!
Presentation: Quite a large paperback. The font is a relatively large size with wide spacing. There are 443 pages broken down into 29 chapters.
Story: Rose and her fellow dhampirs are being tested. They have to protect their Moroi charge from teachers pretending to be attacking Strigoi. Christian Ozera is assigned to Rose, much to her annoyance. Rose has a lot on her mind, though. These tests are only the start of her problems: Victor Dashkov, Lissa’s kidnapper, is going on trial and she and Lissa haven’t been invited to testify; she’s suffering from dark moods; and even worse, she keeps seeing Mason around school – but Mason is dead and Rose fears for her sanity.
Thoughts and impressions: Again, there was an awful lot of filler in this book. I don’t know whether Mead had a word quota or something, but I’m pretty sure that had this book been pruned, it would have been only 200 pages but it would have been an excellent read. There was too much lead up to the important parts.
The characters are incredibly dense at times, ignoring clues or little bits of information about Rose’s strange powers that are right under their noses only to get the light going off in their heads much later. Surely at least one of them would have thought of these things before they got that far. Rose keeps too much to herself, too many secrets, but expects others to spill all of theirs to her – this really frustrates me about her. She’s not a character that I can ever really see myself liking.
As I said, I didn’t like the first part of the book very much at all, but the last part – all the action - was excellent. I even found myself rushing to read those bits. It was a rollercoaster of emotions – it was the series at its strongest. The ending certainly opens up a lot of possibilities for the next book.
Style: Same as in the first two books. It is very colloquial, but this is understandable considering the narrator. Again, I didn’t feel that it had been edited as well as it should have been. Read comes up with some very convoluted sentences and it plays havoc with her syntax. She should opt for shorter ones where she isn’t liable to end up with her prepositions all over the place.
Final verdict: The first half of the book was, frankly, boring. It was all filler. The second half of the book was the best the series has been so far (after having finished the series, it was the best part of the series). In the second half, Read was shining – she went through love, fear, heartbreak and determination. I was really feeling Rose’s joys and pains as I hadn’t before. But the mediocre first half lets it down. 2 star first half, 4 star ending – I’ll meet in the middle. 3 stars.
Extra notes: Bad language is quite frequently used the same way as most teens will use bad language. Sex is present but not described in detail.