This book is the fourth book in the Vampire Academy series. As such there WILL be spoilers pertaining to earlier books in the series. Fair warning.
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 503 pages broken down into a prologue and 30 chapters.
Story: Rose left St Vladimir’s Academy at the end of Shadow Kissed. She is now in Russia, hunting down Dimitri, fully intending on killing him. She thinks he’ll have headed back to the town where he grew up after he was turned into a Strigoi, but she doesn’t know the name of it. So she goes on a Strigoi killing spree, which, luckily for her, attracts the attention of Sydney, an Alchemist – the group of humans who clean up after the mess the vampires leave in their wake. Sydney, who thinks Rose is an evil creature because she is a dhampir, is able to take her to the small town. There, she lives with Dimitri’s family for a time, sharing their peaceful way of life. But the sinister Abe is trying to get her to leave Russia and return to America – Rose can only assume someone at the academy is behind his threats made to her. So she leaves, with a group of unpromised guardians who hunt Strigoi, heading instead to the largest city in Siberia where she nows believes Dimitri will be hiding. She’s right, but when she attracts his attention, can she bring herself to kill him? Especially considering he has a proposition for her.
Thoughts and impressions: The most annoying thing about this book is all the repetition. It was in books 2 and 3 as well, but not as much as here. The first four chapters – and certain later chapters to a lesser extent – seemed to be constant repetitions of events leading up to this book. Why do authors do this? Why don’t they trust their reader to remember that at the end of the previous book the guy our heroine loves got killed and turned into an evil undead vampire? Does she think that between books 3 and 4 we’ll have forgotten Dimitri and Rose made love? That Lissa is the last Dragomir? Precisely what dhampirs, Moroi and Strigoi are? Not only are points from the previous books constantly being summed up, but all the endless repetition about Dimitri was enough to have me pulling my hair out too.
Must kill him, the new Dimtiri looks like him but it’s not him, must find him, must resist him, want his bites and kisses, but cannot let him have his way, must kill him no matter the cost… on and on it goes. I get the point! You don’t need to repeat it several hundred times.
Moving on, I’d figured out who Abe was pretty quickly, but Rose, being Rose and thus dense, didn’t cotton on at all. I would have preferred some form of resolution with Dimtri’s family after she left Viktoria mad at her and just walked out on all the others. Maybe this will be returned to in future books, but I doubt it.
I didn’t like Lissa’s timeline in this book. Rather than following the same timeline as Rose, as it usually does, Read spent her time recounting Lissa’s past actions. A couple of days would go by for Rose but only a couple of hours for Lissa. She should have found a better way of showing Lissa’s story at the same time as Rose’s because I just don’t buy that Rose can “fish around in Lissa’s head” for whatever had led up to current events. I thought she was pretty much stuck with Lissa’s present thoughts and hadn’t even realised that she could access her memories of the past. I don’t like that development, I prefer the present thoughts.
Having said this, I did not suspect the truth about Avery. But that might have just been me being more concentrated on Strigoi Dimitri than Lissa going off the rails.
Style: As with in previous books, very colloquial. I think the style is actually going downhill somewhat. This could be to do with the speed Mead is churning out her books, preferring quantity over quality. Once again, it needed to be edited a lot better than it was.
Final verdict: Not entirely happy with this one. It lived up to the standard set by books 1 and 2 but not that set by the ending of book 3. Filled with filler, it lacked excitement, though it certainly contained a lot of emotional pain. 3 stars.
Extra notes: Bad language is quite frequently used the same way as most teens will use bad language. Sex is not present but it is mentioned several times and there are some scenes where the two characters become ‘close’.