on December 7, 2010
In the past Rose has overcome every obstacle in her path, no matter the odds, but now she may just be facing the one thing that could bring her down. Permanently. She's to be tried for the Queen's murder, an almost guaranteed death sentence despite her innocence. Fighting for her life isn't her only challenge, she also must carry out the Queen's last mission. Rose must find Lissa's illegitimate sibling to ensure her vote before it's too late. In the end it will take every last one of her allies working together for any hope at survival, let alone a happy resolution.
Rose makes the choice between the two men in her life. I can honestly say that I was almost equally rooting for both of them. They both were good for her in their own way, but her choice really seemed to be the right one for her once all of her reasons were laid out. I felt really bad for the one that she didn't choose, but as soon as she made her choice it was really apparent why it wouldn't have worked with him in the long run. I'm hoping in the spin-off series he just might get a slice of happiness, he deserves it.
While it is bittersweet to say goodbye to Rose, I'm really glad she finally got her slice of happiness. I feel it ended well and my only possible complaint would be for the happily ever after to have been more thoroughly fleshed out. Don't get me wrong, the major plotlines are all tied up, but I couldn't help but feel I was missing something, as if there just needed to be a little more concreteness in the resolution. However, when I really think about it, the ending works as is because it fits Rose perfectly. She is always flying by the seat of her pants, and a completely planned out future just wouldn't work for her at all.
This book is one that you will definitely want to set a large block aside to read, as it will suck you right in. As I was reading it I didn't realize how absorbed I was until I looked at the clock and realized hours had passed. All of the characters have grown so much over the books, especially Rose and Lissa. In this book they really seemed to come into their own, and shine. Some of the ending events were a surprise, but I think everything worked out the way it should in the long run. At least the good-bye isn't really final as I'm sure some of my favorite characters will have a least small parts in the upcoming spin off series. All in all it was a very good book that I really enjoyed and highly recommend.
on December 7, 2010
*** The beginning of the end ***
It's here! It's here! The sixth and final instalment of Richelle Mead's epic `Vampire Academy' paranormal YA series. . .
I have been waiting, nail-biting and anticipating this final instalment for MONTHS! And now that it's finally here and I have consumed the book in one sitting my overall response is. . . okay. It was pretty good. I wasn't overwhelmingly in love with the book, I didn't hate it, but it won't make my 2010 favourite's list.
`Last Sacrifice' picks up where `Spirit Bound' left off. Queen Tatiana is dead, staked in her sleep - and all evidence points to Rose Hathaway. Now Rose awaits trial in the court prison, and it is very likely that she will be found guilty and sentenced to death. . . But not if Rose's friends have anything to say about it.
Dimitri, still recovering from his Strigoi-turn, is determined to break Roza out. Adrian, Christian and Lissa want to wade through political intrigue and find out who really killed Tatiana. . .
And Rose wants to get to the bottom of Tatiana's cryptic final message. A hand-written note warning Rose that danger lies ahead, and Lissa is not the last of the Dragomir line. . . she has a sibling, an illegitimate child who could change the course of Moroi royal history forever.
*** Big surprises ***
This is a MAMMOTH final instalment. Following in the footsteps of Stephanie Meyer's `Breaking Dawn' and JK Rowling's `Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows', `Last Sacrifice' is a whopping 594-page ending extravaganza. That being said, because it's 594 pages there's a fair bit of legwork on Richelle Mead's part; lots of scene setting and plot strategizing to set up all the players and orchestrate this grand finale. The first 200 pages seem quite slow, revolving around Rose's imprisonment, the political implications of Queen Tatiana's death and Lissa's standing in Moroi society. I would warn that the plot doesn't start to satisfyingly thicken until about chapter fifteen (page 236).
*** She said, she said ***
The book is broken up between Rose's perspective as she hunts for the lost Dragomir child, and Lissa's pseudo-narrative as she hunts for Queen Tatiana's (real) killer.
`Last Sacrifice' follows a similar structure to book #5 `Spirit Bound', in that the book is often split between Rose's `real-time' perspective, and her shadow-kissed bond with Lissa. The bond with Lissa allows Rose to pull a `Being John Malkovich' perspective-swap, and let her see through Lissa's eyes. I'm not a big fan of this tactic; Mead used it quite heavily in `Spirit Bound', when Rose was in Siberia and Lissa remained in St. Vladimir's. I think the reason this point of view structure doesn't sit well with me is because it means Rose and Lissa aren't actually in scenes together. I know the storyline calls for them to be apart, but I've always struggled with Rose and Lissa's bond (mostly because I can never get past the idea that Rose is slave to Lissa's princess) so not actually having them in scenes together means I am missing out on evidence of their devotion to one another. I know that's quite an outlandish response to have, and few VA fans share it, but it's just the way I feel. I've never much liked Lissa, purely because I think she puts Rose in a position of servitude (even if Rose wants to be there).
*** Stake, Treason and Plot ***
The good news however, is that both plots are equally fascinating.
The political storyline is wildly absorbing - not least of all because Rose is the accused murderer at the centre of it all. This plot sees Lissa, Christian and Adrian unearthing court secrets and political intrigues - sex, violence and royal assassinations are at the heart of their investigations. And the court politics runs nicely alongside Rose's hunt for the elusive lost Dragomir, with help from Dimitri and her Alchemist friend, Sydney. Rose's adventure in this book isn't as grand as past instalments - she travels to West Virginia instead of Russia, for example. But the stakes are higher than ever when the hunt for the missing Dragomir could potentially change the course of Moroi history. Even if I have never responded to Rose and Lissa's powerful `friendship', I appreciated the fact that they are both working for the other in this book - Lissa is trying to clear Rose's name, while Rose is hunting for Lissa's lost sibling. It's a nice compliment and balancing act that Mead juggles throughout. . .
*** I think I love you. . . ***
But let's not beat around the bush or walk on eggshells - what fans really want, what made the 12 month wait so excruciating and the prospect of this finale so delicious was the romance. Will Rose choose Adrian, or Dimitri?
Once upon a time, Rose's choice would have been simple. Dimitri was her teacher, mentor, lover and firmly set upon a god-like pedestal. Adrian was once nothing more than a drunken flirtation - a boozed royal amusing himself with Rose's affections. Then Dmitri became Strogoi and everything changed. . . Adrian became a true friend and shoulder to cry on, and then so much more. Rose's romantic entanglements got flipped around and turned inside out, and fans are desperate to know who Rose ends up with. Well, I will say that Rose makes a choice; Mead doesn't take the option away from her.
In `Last Sacrifice', Dimitri is still reeling from his Strigoi turning - and still standing by his `Spirit Bound' decision to stay away from Rose. Adrian, mean while, is as devoted to his little dhampir as ever. It's a tough choice for Rose, and a romantic triangle that Mead didn't write lightly. I loved that she built Adrian's character up from his first appearance in `Frostbite', making him a real contender for Rose's affections. Adrian was once a drunken flirt, but over the course of five books he has made some real changes and become an admirable character and fan-favourite.
Dimitri and Rose still have all the spark that's been there since book one, but Mead piles on the romantic obstacles for these two. . . The romance has been a big selling point of the Vampire Academy series. Rose and Dimitri's clandestine student/teacher affair was a risky and somewhat revolutionary coupling in the young adult genre (and hardly mainstream). But more than that, Mead's doses of romantic tragedy kept fans reeling and devastated. Richelle Mead clearly does not shy away from heartbreak or moral conundrums (as evidence when she sent Rose off to kill the man she loved). `Vampire Academy' marks the first of Mead's series' finales (with `Georgina Kincaid' and `Dark Swan' still continuing). Fans will be going into `Last Sacrifice' not knowing what to expect from Mead's wrap-up style - does she like happy-endings, or will she leave the series on a sombre note???. . .
*** Last Goodbye ***
And on that note, I will say that the ending was so-so for me. The foreword from Richelle Mead (which may only appear in international copies of `LS', to clear-up a name-change error) deflated what could have been a dramatic ending. . . I can't go into too much detail, but if you read the foreword from Ms Mead you will see that she makes mention of the much-anticipated VA spin-off series. Because of this small mention, the ending of `Last Sacrifice' is more of a whimper than a bang, purely because that foreword gave away what could have been a curveball ending for some (like those who haven't been reading spoilers about the spin-off).
I was also a little disappointed by the romantic wrap-up. I expected. . . more. The romance's conclusion ended up being a little more `teen melodrama' than anything else, and instead of a dramatic scene we get a lot of inner monologues and heart-to-heart's. Which is fine, but for the finale a bit ho-hum when not coupled with memorable action.
*** So long, but not farewell. . . ***
The good news is the spin-off series cast of characters become apparent by the end of `Last Sacrifice'. . . and I dare say a few fan favourite's will be coming back for more! And it looks as though the `Vampire Academy' title will be relevant once again, as the spin-off will most likely take place back at Vladimir's Academy - YAY!
The `Vampire Academy' series has been a hallmark of the young adult paranormal genre. It has been an epic series of love, hate, violence and kick-ass girl heroics. This series is a work of unparalleled teen brilliance and Richelle Mead has cemented her place amongst not only the teen heavyweights, but paranormal-writers. If you haven't read this series yet, then you're doing yourself a disservice. Even if I wasn't thrilled with the finale, I can appreciate the series as a whole and will forever count it amongst my all-time favourites.
on December 8, 2010
I absolutely fell in love with this series and was eagerly anticipating this final book. While I am happy with most of the book, as well as the ending, I was left with more questions and felt like there were missing pieces that should have been included. With this being the final book for Rose, I had hoped to get a little more out of it. I loved the amount of Dimitri in this book. I was disappointed with the lack of his presence in SB so this one was more thrilling to me. The book was happy, sad, and funny at different times. I know many people are disappointed with the way certain people were left hanging (Adrian, Jill, Eddie), but I think they will all be joining Syndey in the spin-off series (Bloodlines). Some other things I enjoyed were Lissa's newfound strength, the severed bond (it was killing Rose), closure of the love triangle, Sonya Karp, Rose's growth, Dimitri finding himself again, and Adrian's anger (didn't expect that reaction). Here are some things I thought were lacking:
Rose/Dimitri: I know they had a lot of time together in the book, but the real stuff didn't come until so late in the book and it left me wanting more interaction between them. They should have talked more about what happened in Siberia, the cabin, her achievements during her trial/graduation, how much she actually did to get him back, her time with the Belikovs in Baia, how she felt when he said "love fades, mine has" and so much more.
The Belikovs: I would have rated this with another star if they had been included in the book. I know they were not meant to have a huge role in the series, but I fell in love with the family and I think they deserved some paragraphs. Even if they were not present, I think Rose should have talked to Dimitri about his family and whether they know he was brought back to life. Although I'm sure Yeva knows.
Abe/Janine: I love Abe's personality and was happy to see a little Janine in this book. I was disappointed that we never did find out what Abe truly does for a living. Also, I was hoping for a more elaborate conversation between them and Dimitri. How do they really feel about this relationship that clearly started back at the academy? We will never know.
I guess we have to make our own assumptions since this is clearly the end of Rose's story. Richelle has stated that this is the last book for Rose and she will only have a cameo appearance in the spin-off series. My guesses for the next book are Sydney (which is a given), Adrian, Eddie, and Jill. Too many things were left unanswered for those four. I know all series must come to an end, but I was hoping for a little more out of this book. Instead I was left with more questions. Although some will be answered in the next series, I know that others will not. It did not have quite the closure I was looking for but I guess you can't make everyone happy, right? Overall it was a good book, just lacking a few chapters in my opinion...
on March 10, 2011
What can I say about "Vampire Academy"? My interest in the books soared like a crescendo, reaching its peak with the 4th installment "Blood Promise", in my opinion the best in the series, in which the two protagonists Rose and Dimitri faced each other in an eerie Russian landscape. My interest and sense of wonder persisted, though somewhat dimmed, in the following chapter- Spirit Bound- to deflate, like a halogen balloon loosing its air, with the final book. Don't get me wrong: in the last book the story lines remained good and the denouement in which the Moroi's political future was decided in a bold move, was quite exciting. However, after reading several of the reviews I decided that, rather than add to all the praises, I would write about one character I found absolutely compelling. A character I have seen, against all odds, grow through the pages, after he first appeared in "Frostbite".
Adrian, a rather spoiled, rich, unencumbered college drop-out bon viveur, strikingly handsome, falls in love with our heroine and because of this love, undergoes an often overlooked but profound transformation. He is in my eyes the most interesting character in these novels. In spite of his upbringings in an environment where political intrigues and self-interests replaced morals and values, and having been raised to rely on others for his protection and needs, Adrian becomes a dependable, generous, honest and unselfish friend- by choice not duty. Over and over we find him ready to jump in- perhaps not with muscular strength, perhaps not with "Godlike" reflexes- but with whatever else he has to offer. He puts his money- conveniently- at the disposal of his "little Dhampir" who uses it shamelessly. He volunteers his freshly developed healing abilities, almost to the point of collapse, to cure wounded Dhampirs after Lissa's rescue from Dimitri the Strigoi. He uses his compulsion gift to help Rose's escape and to mask Dimitri's appearance. He proves his courage when he fights a full-fledged guardian, without any training of his own, to defend Lissa. He uses his connections- when they are needed- to help his friends. Yet, all of these endearing qualities and unselfish acts that could have been inspiring and redeeming enough in the eyes of so many, are easily discarded by the most important person in his world.
It almost seems like the author, after building up this character, looks for some inadequate reasons to justify Rose's choice. I read in one of the reviews that Dimitri should have been out of the picture after the ultimate duel on that bridge over the Ob. I think he should have been too. How could he make amends for all the deaths he caused in the Dhampirs, the Moroi or even the human worlds- even if he did so as a Strigoi? How could love endure after what he did to Rose? How could he remain in "favor" and get his great job when Eddie Castile could not be forgiven? It makes absolutely no sense. I hope Adrian finds a well deserved and more rewarding place in the upcoming series and most of all a girl who will appreciate his irresistible charm.
And to conclude, I'll say a word about Rose, the "badass" main character and her fall from grace. Rose, who ultimately turns out to be so disappointing with her deceptions and weak rationalizations. All the way to the end Rose, like a little girl, continues to believe that saying "sorry" will erase the damages she causes by using and manipulating people unscrupulously to reach the only goals that matter to her: insuring Lissa's safety and getting her man. What a pity! She could have been such a heroine! She has yet to redeem herself in my eyes. She did not make a choice between the two men in her life: she never had to. There was never a real struggle. She used one when it was convenient, discarding him once the one she had been chasing after all along finally relents.Yes, she did save the day- doing what she had trained all her life to do-, but in the end, well, I found her quite unconvincing. And these flaws in Rose's character ultimately make the difference between a "so so" ending and what could have been a great one.
on September 22, 2014
This book pissed me off. First, it was boring. Sure, there were lots of interesting things going on in the book, like the solving the queen's murder, finding the other Dragomir, etc. But it was all bogged down with useless and long-winded descriptions, Rose's whining, and an obnoxious love triangle.
The part that irritated me the most was Rose's whining. She whines about have to sit still, under the radar in a crappy hotel with no cable. First world problems much? I suppose the author was trying to build upon Rose's impulsive act-first-think-later nature, but I had expected that the main character would at least mature some throughout the series and see reason. Instead it seems she went backwards. In the first book, Rose and Lissa are on the run, hiding from the people who want to take them back to school. And they are able to do this for 2 whole years. In this book, Rose doesn't even last a day. She also shows that she doesn't trust any of her friends to handle the problem. She feels the need to help them, because that is in her nature, or so the author wants us to believe. Really, in my opinion, it felt more that she couldn't trust anyone to get stuff done without her, and she hated be left out. Like a whiny little brat.
Almost equally as annoying was the Rose-Adrian-Dimitri love triangle. As far as characters go, I definitely preferred Adrian over Dimitri. I was slightly torn over who I wanted Rose to end up with. However, in this book I really did not like Rose's character at all. So while I knew Adrian loved her and I wanted his character to be happy [with her], I felt Rose didn't deserve him. And so I was fine with Rose and Dimitri ending up together, in fact I knew it was inevitable. But the way it was handled was disgraceful.
Adrian is one of my favorite characters in the series, but this book just crapped all over him, especially in the end. *Spoiler* Rose cheats on him. With Dimitri. Because Soul Mate, Love Aura, Spirit Magic bulls***. And when she and Adrian have their breakup conversation, or however you classify their ending confrontation, the author tries to convey how much remorse Rose feels about it, but she doesn't succeed. I honestly don't feel like Rose felt any remorse whatsoever for sleeping with Dimitri while still dating Adrian. I only think she feels guilty for hurting Adrian, and even then I think she would do it again in a heartbeat. After cheating on Adrian, she keeps trying to justify her actions, but there is no justification. I mean, when she and Adrian have their confrontation, she has the gall to try to turn his rage back on him? By saying they would not have worked because he is a victim and uses her as a crutch? If she truly felt remorse, she would have let Adrian have his say, and left it alone.
This whole thing even spoils Dimitri's character for me. Truthfully, I have never been a big Dimitri fan. I don't dislike his character, I just found him to be rather boring. The only descriptions of him are of Rose's totally biased view of him being god-like. Not super deep stuff. But I had the sense that he was honorable and wise, and I did not have a problem with him and Rose ending up together in the end. So when Rose wants to sleep with him and he counters by very nobly saying he will not take a woman when she is with another man no matter how much he loves her, I found that very noble and very in character. But then, Rose manages to convince him to abandon his morals because `love.' Like, they couldn't keep it in their pants for 2 more days until she breaks up with Adrian? Seriously? A guy who has been described as having crazy-good self-control, being wise beyond his years, and striving for honor, can't wait to sleep with his supposed true love for 2 days? The way this whole situation was written in the book would have sat fine with me if Rose and Dimitri would have simply kissed - passionately kissed even. But them sleeping together brings it to a whole new level of un-likability and disbelief.
This book left a very bad taste in my mouth. I know Adrian and Sydney get to continue their stories in the Bloodlines series. As much as I want to read more of Adrian's character and see those two fall in love, I don't think I can handle any more of Richelle Mead's writing. I probably won't be reading anything else by her.
**EDIT 22 October 2014** I got bored and ended up reading the Bloodlines series (at least the books that are out right now). I think they are much better than this series. Mead's writing seems to have improved, as her characters are more fleshed out and likable. If, like me, you liked Adrian in this series, you should check out the Bloodlines series.
on December 19, 2010
Ok, first off - how the HECK am I supposed to write a review without including HUGE spoilers?? I tempted Fate the day LAST SACRIFICE was released and ended up having emergency surgery. I hear you say "Well that sucks!" and believe me, you don't know the half of it. It took a good 5-6 days before I was able to read it, meanwhile each day I would cautiously use the Internet, avoiding the mere mention of the book like the very PLAGUE. I didn't want ANY hint/clue/suggestion/teaser/OMGSH rants to take away the full experience of reading it so that's my gift to you - dear review reader. I will now try to attempt the impossible and GUSH about how much I LOVED/ADORED/RELISHED/LOST MY HEART/TREASURED/WENT CRAZY OVER this book. Hmmm... maybe I should stop right there because doesn't that say it all? *taps finger on chin while thinking* You know what? Keep reading, I want to rant a little about the storyline and characters and honestly, what VA review wouldn't be complete if I didn't fall completely over myself about my LUST CRUSH Dimitri? Okay, let's proceed.
If you're like me, you've followed this amazing series from the very beginning, getting to know Rose, Lissa, Dimitri, Christian and Adrian as they come against some pretty steep challenges. Each of the books has been filled with new love, friendship, loyalty, triumph, heartache and betrayal that leaves each reader with a whole mess of emotion. *backspaces about five sentences - "sorry spoilers about previous books"* One thing that stands out LOUD and CLEAR throughout the series is that Rose defines what being a friend means. She moves Heaven and Earth for each of the ones she loves, sometimes desperately fighting the odds in an attempt to save them. So what better way to end this AMAZING series but for Rose to be the one who needs saving. LAST SACRIFICE finds Rose in jail, charged with the murder of Queen Tatiana. She's obviously innocent but with piles of damning evidence, it doesn't look good for our beloved heroine. Okay - I'll give you one spoiler - through a well coordinated jail break, Rose finds herself whisked into hiding with *sigh* Dimitri and others. Rose wouldn't be Rose if she didn't have some other plan up her sleeves and for the rest of the story, I watched as she went about finding KEY evidence for her defense and a shocking truth that when revealed would set the Moroi Court on its EAR!! Loads of adventure, drama and action, all the while Rose and Dimitri navigate their feelings about each other.
I think this is about the time where I need to stand up and applaud Richelle Mead because this storyline was by FAR the best of all six! I was totally engrossed in the story, fighting tired eyes for hours so I could finish it all in one sitting. I forgot the world, forgot my family (big kisses to my patient hubby) and even forgot I hurt. The author added so many wonderful touches and insights to the story, special glimpses that left me feeling COMPLETELY satisfied at the end. I felt like I sat down to dinner and was served a succulent 10 course meal that FAR SURPASSED my wildest expectations. I knew I was going to love the book but once I was done, I was still floored.
Rose will always be one of my favorite heroines because for me she has always been so incredibly real. She is far from perfect, with her own set of flaws but what she has that sets her apart is an amazing amount of PASSION. She has a lot of heart for a character and a constant desire to protect the ones she loves. She may not think things completely through at times but whatever she does, she gives herself 100% and watching the journey she's been on through series has made for an amazing read. She really showed a level of maturity in this book, faced a lot of hard truths and showed a great willingness to listen to her heart and not be swayed by guilt. She spent A LOT of time with Dimitri *cheers* and I loved watching how she dealt with the redefining of their relationship. She had a lot to lose, ultimately her life and I loved how she defined herself as a survivor - she was able to motivate herself to change and act and didn't rely on someone else to be her savior. She is very strong woman and can I just say - like always, she kicked some serious ass!
This book proves that the book Gods heard my plea because my BELOVED Dimitri is all through this final book and I was able to completely gorge myself on him. Here's another strong character that has been through Hell and is now trying to sort himself out so he can move on. I have always LOVED/LUSTED/OBSESSED/PANTED/SWOONED/HUNGERED after Dimitri and I want to give a huge thank you to the author because I have desperately missed him. I hurt for him throughout the story because I knew there was so much he wanted to say to Rose but he didn't believe he could. I was giddy for him when I saw him become the strong Guardian I've always known him to be when danger struck and he needed to step up and dominate. I held my breath it seemed the entire book, waiting like the hopeless romantic I am to see whether he'd get back with Rose because no offense to Adrian but I'm a Team Dimitri girl. I think that was one of the biggest questions I had with the book - who would Rose choose - Dimitri or Adrian. Both sexy men in their own rights, both men who loved her deeply. How about you lean in REAL close to your computer screen and I'll type in who she chooses... you have your eyes up close to the screen yet? *pauses* Okay here it is... she chooses...... *DELETES THE NAME* Mwahahahaha. I told you - no spoilers!
Just a little side comment that I loved and really appreciated about the book was the author having Rose spend a lot of time in Lissa's mind. It makes a lot of sense since everyone was back at Court trying to find out who the murderer was and with Lissa taking part in royal business, I got to see things that we normally wouldn't have had access to in the other books. It showed a wonderful side to Lissa, showed her developing into this strong woman who had a more confident, take charge attitude. It gave me the relieved feeling that she was able to stand on her own feet and if need be, could take care of herself. To me it showed a real balancing out in her relationship with Rose, leading them to a place where things could be shouldered more evenly. I'm hoping that as the author begins working on the branch off series, that we'll get to see more of this independent Lissa.
Although it's completely depressing that the series has officially finished, the author wrote this final book in such a way that I can sit back, smile and feel content. There were A LOT of shocks throughout the book and there were times where my heart hurt for the characters but ultimately, it was a PERFECT way to end the series. For those who haven't read LAST SACRIFICE or any of the books, here's the deal - drop everything you're doing and START reading! Seriously, this is THE series to read and I can totally see myself pulling out my cherished MUCH read copies out in the future for my grandchildren and great grand children to read. A breathtaking finish and for one last time - I LOVE YOU DIMITRI. Happy reading!!!
Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker. Originally written in December 2010, rewritten and reposted in March 2011.
BEWARE: There are spoilers here not just for Last Sacrifice, but for the entirety of the Vampire Academy series!
After the cliffhanger ending of Spirit Bound, Rose is set to stand trial for the murder of the Moroi queen Tatiana, the great-aunt of her boyfriend Adrian. However, her friends and family don't plan to let hr go on trial. They break her out with the help of some explosions and she goes on the run with her Lissa-appointed bodyguard Dimitri. Their plan is to get her somewhere safe until she can be proven innocent, but Rose has her own mission: find Lissa's illegitimate half-sibling. Meanwhile, Lissa works hard at court to clear Rose's name, find Tatiana's true killer, and maybe even become the next queen.
When I first read the book and wrote the review for it in December 2010, I was on a cloud of euphoria and not thinking very clearly. None of my favorite characters died (even if two of my favorites were given serious crap), the series had what I thought was a good ending, and it was eleven at night. I just wanted to write my review and go to bed. That was a mistake. Without a critical mind in my head, I reviewed this book, the book I anticipated more than any other in 2010. This time around, I've got my head on straight.
First comes the good parts: Lissa. each piece of the story that showed what she was doing at court and her growth as a character were amazing. From what I know, very few fans liked Lissa at the beginning and I didn't care much for her either. Now she's my favorite female character. She underwent staggering growth in six books and I'm proud of the person she's become. This girl's cutting is long behind her; now she is true royalty, a woman who can stand on her own without leaning on Rose to support her. I think she'll make an amazing queen. Too bad I won't be able to see it for myself.
The expansion into the world of the Keepers, the Moroi and such that live in caves away from civilization, was fun while it lasted. I don't see any reason why it was there other than set-up for the spin-off (because you know that's exactly what this is), but I liked it. Angeline, a dhampir girl in the Keeper world, was an interesting one and it would be a crime if she didn't appear in the spin-off. We do learn who Lissa's sibling is and anyone who figured out Mead's style will know who it is. That doesn't mean it can't still be a shock, though.
Now then, on to the bad... And there's a lot of it. First stop: Adrian. He'd had so much bull thrown at him over the course of the series and he didn't deserve any of it. Adrian was always more compelling than Dimitri, especially in the later books, because he's (figuratively) human. He has his issues and problems and his character has such life, but he's given such horrible treatment. This guy funds your trip to Siberia so you can kill the guy you love (or try and fail, more accurately) and then you repay him by cheating on him and using his credit card for things like a hotel in Las Vegas? Wow... I'm glad they broke up. Adrian deserves better than that.
What I hate worse is that he won't get over his heartbreak on his own. No, everyone and their kitchen sink knows by now that people are already making calls of "Adrian/Jill!" and "Adrian/Sydney!" and "love triangle!" because everyone knows it will happen in the spin-off. Allow me to make a statement to counter one I saw a Vampire Academy fan make once: FALLING IN LOVE IS NOT THE ONLY HAPPY ENDING. Apparently, it's not a happy ending until they're in love with someone. Conquering a massive case of heartbreak and being free to live life without that burden does not seem to count. Other Vampire Academy fans really make me angry sometimes, you know?
I really thought this would be one paranormal book where the female love rival wouldn't turn into a raging bitch. She didn't get the guy, but Tasha seemed like a true ally of Rose's and a friend who could be trusted. Tasha was my favorite female character until now (Lissa pushed her off the pedestal) and I hated to see that her character became the villain. Well, we can always try again elsewhere... I should have expected it. For Pete's sake, I'd read the fifth Georgina book a few months earlier and the same thing: love rival/friend to main character turns into a horrible person over the guy they both like.
A series-wide problem that became obvious to me in this book is how women would use a man's feelings for them to get stuff done. There were at least two instances in this book and what Rose got Adrian to do for her in previous books would account for many more. I advocate the equality of men and women. That's what being feminist is about. In this series, women are often painted as manipulative creatures that are above men and act like puppeteers. Whether real or fictional, women do not need this kind of image! Why is playing with the heart, something most can agree is an unforgivable crime, so common within these novels?
Thinking over this book again, I suddenly realized it: I hate Rose Hathaway. Adrian's speech at the end of the novel was dead-on. Over the course of the series and especially the last two books, Rose became a manipulative girl trying to pass herself off as a hero and left a lot of collateral damage behind on the way to her happy ending with Dimitri. Whatever Jill wanted to do with her life is pretty much screwed now, Eddie will be lucky to get any sort of job after what's happened, and Adrian's got one heck of a broken heart. She just brushes all of this off with "you're only a victim because you're letting yourself be one." Again, NO!
Let it be known that I am delusional. I loved this series so much at the beginning that my poor inner child can't accept the ending as a natural one and I made up two scenarios that explain the mess it turned into. One: The news of Dimitri becoming Strigoi drove Rose insane and her mental instability accounts for her thoughts and actions from Blood Promise onward. Two: Avery's spirit magic did something to Rose's brain during that fight and everything that happened from that point onward is because of that. I liked Blood Promise, so I use the second explanation. Either way, Rose stopped acting like Rose and that's how it fell apart.
Make fun of me. Comment and tell me how pathetic I am. I don't care. All I know is that this wonderful series that I fangirled and pushed on everyone I could (even my mother!) fell apart sometime around Spirit Bound (or Blood Promise, but I liked that book and didn't notice if it happened in there) and I will not invest my money in the spin-off or its first book Bloodlines. I read the Georgina and Dark Swan books too, but I'm not reading anymore of Mead's books after the final Georgina book comes out. I'll leave Dark Swan unfinished and look it up one day. Why keep reading when I know the series will eventually implode? It happened in Georgina, then in Vampire Academy, and it will happen again.
on October 27, 2011
SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW!!!!!!!!!!
I have mixed feelings about this book. I really enjoyed the first four books of the series, but I feel like it started slipping in the fifth and I lost interest in Last Sacrifice. I had to struggle to finish it and just couldn't dig in like I did the first four.
From reading other reviews, I am apparently in the minority when I say I am not fond of Adrian at all. I found him to be really annoying and I didn't feel the chemistry between him and Rose at all. The one and only time I really liked him was his last scene in the book where he tells off Rose! I felt the entire time like she was using him and while she was fond of him, she wasn't in love with him. The almost sex scene between them was almost unbearable to read, especially when Rose decides to "blood whore" herself to him. It's harped on OVER AND OVER throughout the books that letting a Moroi drink your blood during sex is dirty and taboo, then Rose just does it because they don't have condoms? I hated that scene.
While Dimitri was less interesting in this book, he was awesome in the first four and I felt like there was something really awesome between him and Rose. In this book he kind of moped a lot and just wasn't as sharp. I still feel like he and Rose had WAY more chemistry than Rose/Adrian and I'm happy she chose him. I liked that he felt guilty and didn't want to see her, but I hated that he felt so indebted to Lissa when all she did was stake him... Rose spent months doggedly searching the world for a way to bring him back and because Lissa stakes him, she "saved" him? She never would have known to do it if it wasn't for Rose, and she did it FOR Rose, not for him. I don't get the logic.
I had almost zero interest in the whole queen murder plot. I feel like the author had Rose spend WAY too much time in Lissa's head. One of the cool things about a first person narrator is that you find out things when the character does. Having half the novel be from Lissa's point of view (well, Rose "watching" through Lissa's eyes) seemed like cheating.
Overall, the whole series is great... this book just did not live up to the first few. I still recommend the series and this book.
on December 17, 2010
THERE ARE MANY SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
It felt like one really important point was overlooked here. Rose often dreamed and was even forced to live it by Avery, getting away and leading a life of her own choosing with Dmitri rather than a life of servitude to Lissa or any other Moroi. This is a huge point that is brought up in the series and is never resolved. Just because she gets her promise mark does not mean she doesn't want another life for herself. (She did it when it seemed as if nothing could bring her and Dmitri back together.) It is almost like it is passive resignation to a life that was planned for her by virtue of her birth but never by her choice. I think that she and Dmitri needed to talk about what they wanted from life and make this decision to be guardians and not together rather than ignore the reality that they are giving up their life together in servitude to others.
Dmitri goes from almost catatonic with grief and remorse to I love you with too much ease. The few bouts of struggle seem unlikely to yield the turnaround in behavior that they do. Rose is siphoning spirit off Lissa at an alarming pace and only has one huge breakdown? This also felt wrong. Why introduce the people living in the woods and not have them help the story along with either info on the lost Dragomir (I actually thought s/he would be living there in hiding at first)or help clearing Rose of the murder? In the absence of this help, maybe this group should have been saved for the spin off and not bogged down the pace of the story.
Rose and Dmitri never talk about what happened between them in Siberia, even though she forgives him, they should have spoken about all of it. Or his subsequent stalking of her. He never acknowledges the love and strength it would take for her to try to end his Strigoi existence by death or by spirit cure. He never talks about how hard it must have been for her to kill so many Strigoi looking for him. They never talk about her challenging final exam. They never talk about their one sexual experience in the cabin. (The perfect time for that was their second time together.) All of these things could have been addressed in the road trip and would have felt more honest in bringing Dmitri to redemption than "your hair is beautiful" did. Therefore I propose the series really does require one more book about Rose. One that hashes out these points, has Abe and Janine talk to them both about what went on in their past relationship and brings in Dmitri's family.
As observed by other reviewers, there was no mention of Dmitri's family at all. I would have expected most of his family to get on a plane and support him based on Rose's word alone. At the least a phone call should have been part of the story with a planned trip to follow.
The other thing that really bothered me was ending the book feeling like Rose simply did not care about the fate of her many friends. Adrian's conversation with her broke my heart but needed to be done. But once he points out the sacrifices of so many of her close friends on her behalf, she doesn't even say "I'll look into that tomorrow" she just shines it over. She was somewhat selfish throughout the series (which is appropriate for her age) but she was always loyal to her friends and this lack of interest in their well being didn't sit well with me. I understand the author wanted to leave questions for the new series, I just wanted Rose to acknowledge that she would now try to help her friends out of the jams she had gotten them into.
All of that said it is easy to complain when the hard work that went into it wasn't mine. I did love the book, I guess I wanted more of a balance of action and relationship in line with Patricia Briggs. I am grateful to Mead for writing the series and the effort she took in making me care about the characters and keeping me addictively flipping pages to see what would happen next. I look forward to any new books set in this world and hope that she will reconsider relegating Rose to the background and acknowledge that she can have books set in this world that are about Rose and books that feature other characters at the same time (see Kelly Armstrong's women of the other world and Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson/alpha and omega).
on December 26, 2010
I've enjoyed the previous books in this series, despite the fact that I felt like the main character complained like a child A LOT. The action was good, often the dialogue was alright, and I could almost appreciate the characters' struggles. However, starting with the last book and continuing on until the end of this, I was highly disappointed with the direction of the story.
For someone as bitter and acidic as Rose has always been, she sure seems to have everything turn out peachy keene in the end for her, and never takes the time to fully appreciate or reflect on it, or even experience personal growth. In fact, I personally think the smartest thing she's ever said comes in this book when she says, "I suck," to a friend after screwing up royally (yet again). At the end of the series, she is undoubtedly the exact same person as she was at the beginning.
She also doesn't actually receive any serious repercussions from her irrational, childish, and impulsive behaviors--rather, she is often rewarded for them, which in my opinion will give impressionable reader's the idea that life might actually work like this. It doesn't. In real life, if your lover emotionally and physically abuses you, the scars don't go away in a month because that lover is suddenly transformed into the person he was when you first met. They cripple you for years. This is just one example of the unrealistic character development in this series.
However, despite its flaws the books have always been quick, exciting reads. Rarely does the author bore with details, and every once in a while she can land a surprising punch or two. Fans of the reformed Dimitri will enjoy this book, and most of the character's stories are firmly set onto paths that make their future predictable and provide a little sense of closure. Fans of Lissa will no doubt have seen her ending coming since the first book, and rejoice.
Personally, I'm exhausted by Rose and am grateful she's finally giving it a rest. I've enjoyed the ride, but this series needed to end. By the last twenty pages of the book, some of the fans that have grown a little weary of the never-changing characters may find that they're skipping entire pages because they've all read it before. Yet, up until that point the mystery of who-done-it is still unknowable and interesting enough to keep people's attention. Die-hard fans will most likely be squirming with impatience for the next story of this world, and I wish them good luck with it.