Wednesday 12 November 2014

Book Review - Blood Promise

Blood Promise
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #4
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 4th February 2010
Publishers: Razorbill (Penguin)
No. Pages: 322
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Rose Hathaway's life will never be the same. The recent attack on St. Vladimir's Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose's neck, a mark that says she's killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters.. Dimitri Belikov.

Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life's vow to protect Lissa - her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess - or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She'll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake - and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend - can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

It's common knowledge that Shadow Kiss was not the book I had expected it to be and because of that, actually continuing with the series was a very big question I had to easy. Would the series improve from whatever well I thought it'd fallen into, or would it continue to dip in my ratings and opinion until it wasn't worth discussing it. It wasn't until I was back in the library, staring at a copy of Blood Promise that I decided to finish what I started, and while Blood Promise was definitely not a saviour, it also wasn't as disappointing as Shadow Kiss was, and because of this, I'm confident I will finish this series. How I feel about it when the ending comes still remains to be seen.

Lets get back to Blood Promise. Now, much like Shadow Kiss, the actual plot behind the novel was, not necessarily unidentifiable, just- easily forgotten in the very slow and very unadventurous pace. Don't get me wrong, I'm far from expecting action constantly through the series, but I'd definitely like to have more than just a page of action per 150 pages of an almost 500 page novel, because without more, the novel does feel like it's unnecessarily long and it makes it lack some intrigue and therefore entertainment too. The worst part of Blood Promise though is that, in my mind and through my entertainment, the book is split into three sections, a good section, a section that seriously made me doubt why I'd ever started the series and liked Rose, and then a really superb section that most definitely rescued this series from being thrown at a wall. Let us get into it.

Section One: The first, lets say 240 pages was really quite okay when you take away the pacing from the scenario. It was lovely to see Rose interacting with other new people, and the introduction of these new people was equally enjoyable. Meeting Sydney (I'm aware, she's an important character, don't bombard with Bloodlines love just yet) was wonderful, she had this wariness about her seniors which Rose does not have, but she's also much more open to Rose than other characters would have given her credit for. Her dynamics with Rose were also really good to watch, the extra knowledge about Alchemists and Vampires and how the societies came to part was a wonderful edition, because I confess, I hadn't really seen it missing in the world building, but it definitely provided something more. Rose's dynamics with Dimitri's family was also really lovely to see, and what I appreciated was how honest and raw Rose's emotions were portrayed - yes, she might not have been official with Dimitri, but she did love him and through some her memories of him, memories we as readers haven't been able to see before, it was clear just how much chemistry they had, and I'm pleased to say that this first section was really saving the series after Shadow Kiss. I had faith in Rose and Dimitri's feelings, I could really connect and relate to Rose's need to safe him and the humour and snark she had throughout, keeping hold of her firm character traits was really quite enjoyable. Sadly, it's when she leaves Dimitri's family that things go a little - well, a lot downhill for me, and slightly ranty.

Section Two: In the simplest way of saying it, Dimitri and Rose find each other and everything goes downhill from this point. Bare in mind, before this, I was the most on board with their romance than I've ever been, I'd found their connection believable, I'd found their feelings honest and the tension between them was equally passionate as it was adorable, but while I can see the route Mead tried to take with this section, and I can see why so people found this book heartbreaking, I really began to hate everything I'd ever come to love about the series. The Rose that was firm and strong, independent and capable just rolled over, FOR LOVE. I'm all for love and romance people, but it felt as though every strength Rose had, everything in her character I'd come to appreciate and love, her snark, her humour, her never wavering decision making and her strong feelings about Strigoi just went out the window, for Dimitri. I should have been swooned. I should have been heartbroken about the impossibility of their situation. I was annoyed, angry, frustrated and really heading to the point of no return. I'd expected so much more from this section, from Rose, yet I couldn't help but feel let down. Keep your head on though, section three hit me between the eyes.

Section Three: This is where one of my favourite features of this novel come in. I've never really appreciated the bond Rose and Lissa shared in this series because they'd always been together, in the academy, yet in this novel, they were separated, and it was this separation that made the connection between the outside world with Rose and the inside world with Lissa connected. Never before had I noticed how cleanly Mead uses this feature to give readers Lissa's perspective on specific scenes, her own emotions about Rose and Dimitri, Rose's leaving, her feelings towards Christian and her own passion to want to protect others, herself and those closest to her. I feel like, more than ever, I'd learnt more about her as a person in this novel, even if during some of these moments she was influenced, but that is too much of a spoiler for me to divulge, so you're safe there. Her development was wonderful to watch, and the fact that Mead manages to show this perfectly by using the bond between Rose and Lissa is really fantastic - I was ashamed I hadn't appreciated it more previously. The actual action in this third section though was unbelievable and it pulled me right back into what I adore about this series; the action, the violence, the dedication to keep others safe, the politics, it's really got some fantastic features when the plot itself isn't dragging or hidden by romance. The development between friendships, between relationships and between enemies was drawn so perfectly in this section, I almost can't fault it.

There is plenty in this novel that I thoroughly enjoyed; I enjoyed watching the friendship between Christian and Rose grow and develop, I really appreciated Adrian more in this novel than ever before, even developing a bloody huge honkering bloddy sexy little swoony crush on him, the development and knowledge behind spirit users and the politics involved was fascinating to read about, the relationship between Mother and Daughter and even Father was really quite wonderful to see, even if I did crack that plot twists just before the reveal, even the development of Dimitri in this novel I enjoyed - seeing both a lighter side to him through the eyes of Rose's memories to the darker more sinister side of him through the second section of this novel was really quite intriguing, but in truth, it also effected how easily I connected to him, which in turn, affected the romance. I had issues with the second section, huge issues, glaring issues which almost resulted in never finishing this series, but I'm not a person who gives up easily. This series is putting me through the ringer, I'm up and then I'm down and I will not give in until I can say I've finished it. While Blood Promise still feels miles away Vampire Academy, it definitely redeemed some of my faith in the series, and continuing doesn't seem as daunting a task as it once did.


  1. Blood Promise is not exactly my favourite of the series,but I loved the fact that it was different from the other books.The setting and new characters were really interesting.Especially Sydney!-Okay I'll try to control my love for her and Bloodlines as much as I can:)-She is really a fantastic character.Adrian and Sydney have great chemistry and dynamics.
    I am sure you'll love Bloodlines even if you didn't like Vampire Academy.

    Mishma @ As the page turns

    1. Sydney was definitely a nice edition to the story for sure..
      I'm not sure on Bloodlines yet, it's on put-down-for-now at the moment, who knows? :)


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