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4.6 out of 5 stars
Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5)
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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I find it very challenging to review this book because it was good in so many ways that can't be explained without spoilers. But worry not, this review is Spirit Bound Spoilers Free. I will do my best to express you the passion I felt reading this book, but I'm afraid it's beyond what words can explain.

Spirit Bound starts back at the Academy, it's finally graduation time and Rose has only one more challenge in front of her: The Trials. A final exam planned by guardians to test their ability to protect Moroi "in the real world". But what worries Rose the most is the after-graduation. She always thought it rimed with freedom but reality hit her in the face. She will spend her life protecting Moroi and her own desires won't matter anymore. There's not only the weight of responsibilities though, she knows Dimitri is out there, lurking in shadows, waiting for an opportunity to kill her.

In this installment, Rose is more determined than ever and will use extremely illegal ways to reach her objectives. Desperation to save Dimitri, while she still can, drives her actions and consequences won't be light. She is not risking only her future and her life but also the ones of people she loves.

When we love a book, we all say "I couldn't put it down", well in this case, I loved the book so much I HAD to put it down and take deep breaths because it was just too much. Love, Passion, Treason, Fear, Sadness, Grief, all these emotions laid on paper in a so intense way it almost became unbearable. At times I couldn't believe my own eyes, events happening in that book triggered reactions in me that are beyond words!

I really love both Rose and Lissa for their very distinct qualities, and even though they are very different, they have one thing in common: they would do anything for each other.
Adrian is as snarky as ever but we get to discover a new side to him. I really like the guy and it's clear he cares about Rose and I loved to watch them together.
Dimitri, oh Dimitri! He broke my heart in Blood Promise and Spirit Bound wasn't any easier. At times I really felt like hitting him in the head to knock some sense into him and even though I would have a lot to say, I won't spill the beans and ruin surprises. I will mention though that chapters 20 and 24 nearly killed me.
I was glad that Abe was in SB, he didn't play a major role but it was nice to have him around and I think he will have a bigger role in The Last Sacrifice.

The end is as usual a cliff hanger, if suspense could kill Richelle Mead would be in danger of trial for massive murder, because I really don't know how I will be able to wait until December to know how this epic story ends.

Vampire Academy is my favorite series and Richelle delivered. Spirit Bound was action-packed, full of surprises, emotions and magic. I was in awe so many times during this book, it really was fabulous.
I think Shadow Kiss is still my favorite of the series because I'm such a romantic but Spirit Bound is very close second.

I really hope Rose will have her happy ending in The Last Sacrifice (even though the title doesn't point that way), she's been through so much, she really deserves her happily ever after.

If you are looking for spoilers, you can stop by my SB discussion post: [...]
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50 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I don't even know where to begin with Spirit Bound. I've been waiting for this book for a while and was really anxious to read it, so it was sort of a disappointment in parts and I really liked others.

If you read this series from the beginning, you get to this book prepared to Rose and her way - stubborn, impulsive, selfish and unselfish at the same time, high-handed, courageous, sharp-tongued, amongst other adjectives. What you're not prepared to is seeing Rose go back to her old ways after everything she's gone though in the previous installment. She's back to being the same Rose from the first three books just a little meaner and more bad-a s s. She hasn't really grown up as you'd expect, she keeps going head first on everything and no worries about consequences, this time she even puts her friends in danger because of that. Though this may be seen as courage, I have to say it's lack of thinking most of the time. Yes, she's brave, but she never puts herself on other people's shoes. She has her ideas and wants to impose it to everyone else, and when things don't go the way she wants she throws tantrums. I've seen that there will be just one more book in this series and it would be really sad if it finished and the main character didn't get to grow up in the process.

In terms of plot, I really thought it was weak though it had various aspects to it. You get three main locations with specific events in it, the court part was the worst of it, in my opinion. You get pages of Rose trying to think, brooding in her room (or wandering), not talking to anyone, having fits, while nothing really happens. She's always snapping, conflicted about Adrian, suffering for Dimitri, but no action really takes place. There's no big mystery to be revealed, nothing to keep us going. Then, finally the pace picks up, you feel like serious things are about to happen and...the book ends. Just like that! When you finally get involved in a real plot, there are no more pages to read. It's frustrating, to say the least.

The feeling I got by the end of this installment was that I was only allowed to read half of a book and they haven't published the other half yet. If I'd known this prior to reading I would have probably waited for the other one to come out and read both at once. I feel a little cheated after waiting this long only to get something I felt was incomplete. Having said that, I will definitely read the next one.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
In Richelle Mead's fifth installment to the VAMPIRE ACADEMY series, Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5) takes the reader back to St. Vladimir's Academy where Rose and Lissa are preparing to set out into the real world. Dimitri, still in his Strigoi state, is stalking Rose with the intent to kill her; Rose is frantically searching for a way to use spirit to cure him; and both Lissa and Rose are graduating and moving on to court, where Rose's guardian role will be assigned and where Lissa hopes to move into her royal role as the last in her family's line.

SPIRIT BOUND was a marked improvement over the past two books, and I was excited for that. Mead's writing style remains easily readable, and pacing was better, with the resolution of Dimitri's Strigoi state (one way or another - no spoilers) resolved within the first half of the book. Lissa's character grows in many ways, including her role in court, her personal strength, and her willingness to take risks for others. Adrian and Christian also develop as characters, with each getting more attention in this book; their wry and humorous dialogue adds much to the story.

Even with these strengths, the book fell short in other ways. The plot is unsurprising with resolutions to many points that you can see far in advance, and other events are so implausible that it takes away from the credibility of the story arc. The book ends with another cliffhanger, with a set up that comes out of nowhere and makes the book feel unfinished. Even though pacing picks up soon into the book, the first 100 pages are slow, with lots of backstory and reiteration from previous books. As for characters, Rose's development seemed stunted throughout. She shows no compunction about putting her friends and fellow guardians in mortal and professional danger for her own ends, and she acts out multiple times like a petulant child. While her actions annoyed and frustrated me, I couldn't decide whether it was 1) good characterization to show Rose's traits as they are or 2) bad characterization because she doesn't grow or change. Also, while it was nice to see Adrian play a significant role, he becomes little more than a simpering fool for Rose, despite her recurring misuse of his feelings.

Overall, the Vampire Academy series continues to be leaps and bounds ahead of other YA paranormal series, but it still could see some improvement with more consistent pacing, fewer predictable plot points, and more character development for Rose. I hope that the final book in the series, Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, Book 6), brings the resolution everyone been looking for, along with some significant growth for Rose.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
You know when you read a series, and you get such anticipation for the book that your expectations become amazingly high and then you read then book and you go...well that was ok. Well that was NOT this book! I can't believe all the places Richelle Mead takes you with this story. The roller coaster your stomach takes because there are so many twists and turns.
I really dont want to say much because it'll give away so much.
But if you have enjoyed the other books in this series thus far then you will definitely not be disappointed!!
I would definitely not read this book if you haven't read the 4 others before it though.
I will always advocate for Richelle Meads writing because it is just amazing, and has a way of just sucking you in.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I became a fan of the Vampire Academy books for their unique take on the vampire canon: Richelle Mead's vampires are either living vampires, the magic-wielding Moroi, or Strigoi, vampires that have become evil by killing humans. The Moroi are protected by dhampirs, half-human, half-vampire guardians. Their universe is heavily influenced by Russian culture: Russian-style family names, snippets of Russian, Russian Orthodox churches, and Russian folktales wind through the five books in the series. The first several books Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1),Frostbite (Vampire Academy, Book 2), and Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, Book 3) detail the bond between Rose Hathaway, dhampir Guardian-in-Training, and her Moroi charge Lissa Dragomir, last of the Dragomir royal family. Rose and Lissa share a psychic link that allows Rose to see things through Lissa's eyes (but it only works in one direction). Rose is also "shadow-kissed;" brought back from the dead, she sees ghosts, while Lissa is a rare spirit user, able to heal grave injuries, manipulate people, and charm objects.

In the first three books, Rose, Lissa, and some of their classmates at the Academy, including Adrian, the consummate sexy bad boy and fellow spirit user, go on a series of dangerous adventures involving Strigoi plots. These books were filled with action, plenty of kick-butt adventure, camaraderie, and hot romance between Rose and her mentor Dimitri. In Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, Book 4), Rose literally went to the ends of the earth trying to rescue Dimitri. Now, in Spirit Bound, the penultimate Vampire Academy book, things have taken a downhill turn for the series.

There were simply too many improbable moments that required massive suspension of disbelief. The foremost: imagine a couple of college-aged kids getting away with an impromptu break-in at Fort Leavenworth with no one the wiser despite high security and dozens of guards. Epic fail. Or Rose's turnaround on her formerly spunky, independent self: when her former relationship with Dimitri doesn't have the fairytale ending she'd envisioned, she becomes a "blood whore" to Adrian for all the wrong reasons and keeps stringing the poor guy along throughout the book. Much like Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga), Rose's supposedly-important graduation is but a flash in the pan so the novel can get down to other business. There are a lot of Moroi politics that bog the book down to the detriment of what should have been the central story. And again similar to Breaking Dawn, past characters are randomly thrown in for cameos, and then promptly disappear again with no real purpose. There's also a super-high body count of Guardians and Moroi as Rose relentlessly pursues her dream of restoring Dimitri, which she pretty much shrugs off, even though those deaths were preventable.

Spirit Bound just wasn't a pageturner for me; I read it out of a sense of duty to the Rose, Lissa and other characters I knew and loved from previous entries, but the spirit of derring-do and butt-kicking that made Rose such an appealing heroine have been replaced by a moody, angry, whiny young woman who suddenly decides that the "real world" after graduation might be more than she wants to deal with. I'm hoping that the final novel Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, Book 6) is an improvement over Spirit Bound.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I was reading earlier reviews and couldn't understand why so many of them were not actually writing about what happened in the book.... now I understand, it's nearly impossible to write a spoiler free review, so much goes on right from the beginning.

Rose is now dating Adrian, while I understand her need to move on and his of love, I really think she should have waited to start a new relationship until the entire thing with Dimitri was settled be it by stake or spirit. I just knew that was going to be a problem later.

Lissa has promised to help Rose bust Victor out of prison, but she is still terrified of him after being tortured for her powers, she also no longer has Christian at his side (last book they broke up) so sometimes she feels just as alone and confused as Rose does.

Graduation means bigs changes after taking a wild 'girls weekend' cough cough to Vegas Rose is threatened with desk duty for the rest of her life, she thinks the Guardian Council is kidding until she realizes they aren't. Then it hits her, this is the big league, she might now get Lissa as her Moroi, but it never hit her before that she might not become an active fighting Guardian, there's a lot of stuff to do around the Court. BUT during the girl's weekend she and Lissa do find what they're looking for in regards to Dimitri, the only problem is that it's impossible to go through with, there is no way... Adrian is hurt (understandably) that Rose is still looking for a way to save her ex, but think about it, what does Rose expect to happen really? Dimitri is saved magically and then he comes running into her arms? What about Adrian? Or if he can't be saved is she really going to have to guts to kill him or watch him be killed? It's a horrible situation and by activity dating some one before she's ready, she's made it that much more complicated.

Ok here's where this spoiler free review is going to get complicated. What happens next in the book is impossible to describe without giving away other secrets. It just is, so many things are interconnected, and so many things happen that I just can't give away anything more.....

For those of you who want just a hint of spoilers look below for those of you who don't STOP READING!

Dimitri takes Lissa and Christian captive to force a show down between him and Rose.
Lissa and Rose learned that a spirit infused stake can heal the Strigoi, however it has to be wielded by a spirit user, Lissa can barely punch let alone stake someone.
The Court has changed the law so all Dhampirs graduate at 16 now. Is the Queen doing this selfishly or for her own good?
Some one is after Rose besides Dimitri, someone in the Court who has set her up for Treason.
Adrian and her almost do 'it'. Ahhh!
Lissa is convinced to train, yet gets captured before she can learn anything.
The Showdown between Rose and Dimitri is indeed epic.
Something happens at Court that will change everyone's lives.... especially Rose's.

The ending is abrupt. It comes upon you suddenly and without warning. Rose is going to trial for Treason, her father is her lawyer, and all the evidence points to her, the ending for this trial can only go two ways, death or innocence, and a lot of Moroi members of the Court want to see her die.

Good luck! You won't be able to put this one down or stop reading it until you're done.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I read all five books pretty quickly so this review is more of a series review rather than Spirit Bound review. The series is good enough to keep me going. I keep downloading and reading these books so they have some redeeming qualities. The author has created an interesting world, which is what I think keeps me going.

However, I find the main character to become increasingly annoying throughout the series. Rose is "badass," but she becomes more self-absorbed throughout the series as opposed to less. I usually want to like the main protagonist or grow to like them throughout the life lessons she/he learns. This series is the opposite. I actually like Lissa and Christian more than I like Rose. Another sign that shows the series is lacking is my disinterest in whether Rose ends up with Adrian or Dimitri. At first, I cared but as time goes on, I find that the story has been written in a way that has caused me to feel pretty neutral about the outcome. The writing is decent but can be annoying. The descriptions of rooms, scenery, etc. does nothing for me. A lot of the time, I just skip it and go to the dialogue.

I don't mean to slam this series. I recommend reading the first one and seeing if it's your cup of tea. I don't think it's a stellar series but some may connect with the series and Rose more than I have. Like I said, don't read this review and move on. Try the first book. The series is entertaining enough but I wouldn't re-read it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
***This review has spoilers! Proceed at your own risk!!***

This book was probably the most painful to read of the five (with the possible exception of Blood Promise), but I still thought it was fantastic. In terms of character development, it might be the best one yet. I want Rose and Dimitri to be together so badly, but if it had happened immediately after he turned back to dhampir, it would have been unrealistic and untrue to the characters. Of course Dimitri would feel this level of remorse, of course he wants to put a distance between himself and the people he loves. This intense guilt and vulnerability is a whole new side of Dimitri, but it's completely believable and makes his character that much more complex. I look forward to seeing his emotional progression in the next book...hopefully he'll get some knight in shining armor action scenes that will help him snap out of this (completely understandable) depression.

As for Rose, I hate that she turns to Adrian (or Mason, in the past) every time Dimitri hurts her. I don't want her to be with Adrian or anyone except Dimitri. It is so obvious that Dimitri is her soul mate. But...Rose is immature - she's still only 18 - and also insecure, not to mention rash, impulsive, and occasionally petty. These are not her finest traits or her most important ones, but they are still part of her character. So while I was tempted to skip over all the mushy parts with her and Adrian...especially that scene towards the end after Dimitri rejects her in the church (ughhh) - I could understand her choices and I think in the end, it will make her union with Dimitri (which is inevitable! it has to be!) all the more powerful. Rose is a very strong person in many ways, and her few negative traits make her more real and in a way more lovable, from the reader's perspective.

One more thing about Rose, which has been mentioned in a few other reviews: I do hope there will be some heart to hearts with her and Dimitri, or even Lissa, about her own personal guilt for the consequences of her pursuit of and inability to kill Dimitri when he was still a strigoi. A lot of people died as a consequence, and while I think we can all agree that Rose did the only thing she could in trying to save Dimitri, I do feel like we need at least a scene or two where she expresses some guilt. Hopefully this will happen in Last Sacrifice.

Lissa! I cannot say how thrilled I was that Lissa finally got a chance to fight and that she was the one to save the day. Her role as the gentle, soft spoken, sweet best friend was getting a bit boring. She is really coming into herself and her powers. Dimitri was right when he told Rose in "Shadow Kissed" that Lissa is stronger than Rose realizes. As for the closeness between Lissa and Dimitri after she saves him, which some readers were bothered by, I think it is very fitting and poignant. Rose's jealousy is natural, but Lissa was right when she chastised Rose for her persistence in talking to Dimitri. Rose's personal frustration and grief at feeling "invisible" in Dimitri's eyes is painful for all of us. But it's petty and childish of Rose to put her own emotions above the greater good--in this case, giving Dimitri time to heal and making sure she doesn't create any scenes that would make him appear dangerous and to others who still view him as a potential strigoi. Rose doesn't ever handle jealousy very well, whether with Lissa or Dimitri, so her behavior isn't surprising. But it's one of those traits that she needs to grow out of as she continues to develop and mature.

I can't believe we have to wait 7 months for last sacrifice! If I had the option to turn strigoi, I might seriously consider it, in order to spare myself this anxiety! (can't imagine a strigoi would get too worked up over the suspense of waiting for a new book...)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just love this series. I think it has to be one of the best YA vampire series written to date. I was so engrossed and involved in the story and fell in love with the characters. I saw the growth of the characters as well as the writing as the story progressed. I mean, I went from hating Rose in the first novel to becoming her biggest cheerleader, and I went from neutral to totally in love with Dimitri's character. That means something to me. The author and her writing is that good. With that being said, this novel was heartbreaking for me. I even cried. This is how emotionally involved I am with the characters and really testifies to the greatness of this series.

Now, let us get as to why I gave this novel 3.5 stars. Mostly it had to do with Rose and Dimitri's relationship. After he is healed by Lissa, I just wanted to knock some sense into him. He becomes so grateful to her, is in awe of her and refuses to see Rose. I was thinking he was falling in love with Lissa as a side effect of her healing him- that's how heartbreaking it was. After everything Rose did and sacrificed for him, he was thankful to Lissa and pledged his life to her. WTH? Rose did most of the work and brainstorming. She was the one who believed. She was the one who broke Victor Dashov out of jail, so he could take them to his half brother, Robert, a spirit user who knew how to heal Strigoi. But nobody even tells this to Dimitri. They just keep telling him that Rose did the work, but nobody would tell him all the details. It was so FRUSTRATING. I hope that Dimitri gets to know in the final novel because it drove both Rose and I crazy! I totally understood where Rose was coming from. Her jealousy, anger and frustration at Dimitri. After all she did for him. He was more nice to her when he was a Strigoi because at least he acknowledged his love for her.

Most heartbreaking of all is when Dimitri tells Rose that love fades and that his love for her has. This breaks her heart and she goes crying and ends up almost sleeping with Adrian as a result. Dimitri does redeem himself a little bit in the end when the Guardians come for Rose in order to arrest her. He tries to protect her and fights some off, but she stops him in order to protect him and goes with the Guardians. She finds out that Queen Tatiana has been murdered and she is the prime suspect. AHHHHHH, what a twist! Poor Rose never seems to get a break. In the end, her father ends up being her lawyer, and she is charged with treason since killing the Queen is considered treason. And the punishment for committing treason is you guessed it-execution! Again, poor Rose. From her emotional turmoil with Dimitri to now this. Like I said, it was just heartbreaking. I haven't read the final novel yet, but I really, really hope Dimitri redeems himself further and comes into his senses. I hope he realizes just how much Rose has done for him! I cant wait to read the final novel, and I really wish that Dimitri and Rose resolve everything and he finds out everything, so they can be finally together. And so that I can give it 5 stars because this is a stellar series and really excellent writing. I am going to read all of Richelle Mead's work as a result of my love for the Vampire Academy series.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
But... It's somewhat disappointing. Especially since Mrs. Mead's potential is well known. She is a talented writer, but this book fell flat.

There were just too many plot holes, too rushed, less organized and lots of redundant dialogue.

It is my belief that most sequels that are good books have an unpredictable plot with predictable characters. The plot was predictable (other than the very end which made no sense), and the only predictable character was Dimitri as he the only one that acted consistent with his character.

Rose was erratic, as she usually is, but this time her actions were also brainless, which she usually isn't. Lisa was a bit too brave, for someone how was so timid all her life. Seriously, stake Dimitri? The "God" as Rose has called him in fighting?

Adrian was Adrian. He was entertaining before, now he's just a nuisance.
The rest of the characters didn't make much impression at all.

The plot, oh well, just so much that didn't fit. The masquerade was pointless, not even a decent filler. The card reading was even more pointless. The only thing that was interesting were the court politics, but since we only saw them through Rose's eyes, they were not, how do I put it, informative enough? Her politics involvement was summed up by "it's stupid" and "she is a bitch".

So, the end is the only surprise in the book. I hope the next and the final installment is much better than this one.
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