Shadow Kissed by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #3
It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She’s having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all…might be seeing ghosts.
As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose’s forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line–and choose between the two people she loves most.
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Well, holy heck, Richelle Mead. You’ve really blown my mind with Shadow Kissed. I’ve come to expect amazing adventures and emotional roller coasters for Rose but the third installment of the Vampire Academy series defied all of my expectations and my hopes. There were developments on all fronts – Rose and Dimitri’s relationship, Rose’s skill as a guardian and her understanding of what it means to be shadow kissed, Lissa’s powers, the war between the Strigoi and the Moroi, Moroi politics, Lissa and Christian’s relationship, and a bunch of new stuff, too. And yet the pages in Shadow Kissed flew by and I just couldn’t stop reading. And the book’s climax had some truly surprising developments and great action sequences. I’m so happy I have Blood Promise out as well.
One of my favourite parts of this book is seeing Rose grow, not only as a guardian but also as a woman. With her 18th birthday around the corner, and with the events of the previous two books, Rose is more mature in some ways, though she still has a lot of impulsiveness and outspokenness in her. She’s also a little haunted, literally by ghosts and emotionally by her confrontation with the Strigoi and the darkness in her aura. Rose is always struggling – it’s a hallmark of the series – but it’s nice to see her being pro-active in resolving her problems; whether she makes a good decision or not, she’s doing the best she can under the circumstances.
I also love that Richelle Mead isn’t afraid to up the stakes (ba dum bum – unintentional vampire pun!) yet again, escalating not only the war between the two vampiric groups but also ramping up Rose’s personal investment into the battle, particularly in light of events at the end of the book. I don’t want to talk about them too much in case there are others out there who, like me, didn’t start reading the Vampire Academy series until more recently. I’d hate to be the one to give away spoilers and ruin someone’s reading experience since the shock of what happens at certain points in the book is part of what makes them such effective plot points. Suffice to say, Big Things happen that fundamentally change how Rose looks at the world and it made me so excited to keep reading with the series. There are three books left in Rose’s story and, at this point, I can’t even begin to guess what Richelle Mead’s going to do to her next. I can’t wait to find out!