Book #4 of the Vampire Academy series reread for Vampire Book Club's Reread Challenge. SPOILER warning. I can't review this without MASSIVE spoilers for Shadow Kiss (book #3) sorry about that, but it's just not possible for me. So skip this if you've not read that far. Like my Shadow Kiss reread review, I'm skipping attempting my own summery of the book: Goodreads description. Previous reread reviews: Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss.
Shadow Kiss was heartbreaking. It changed everything for Rose, because how could she not be seriously affected and tainted by what happened, or by the task now ahead of her? I know there are plenty of people who didn't like this book. They found it flat, or underwhelming, or too different, or many other things. That wasn't the case for me. I thought it was all handled brilliantly. In Blood Promise Rose is away from the Academy, away from Lissa, the man she loves is the thing he never wanted to be, and as far as she's concerned, it's up to her to save him the only way possible, by killing him and giving him true death. There is still some sass in her, but it's seriously tempered by her grief. Rose is still strong, still capable, but she's facing something bigger than she's ever faced before. She's barely 18, confused, broken and desperate to believe the reality she is facing, isn't true. And everything she does, every tough choice, every moment she hesitates, just....fits.
Rose's emotional state aside, there is still plenty going on. I love the change of scenery, seeing Rose out there in the real world, unprotected. We get to meet some awesome new characters, and some of whom I would love to see more of. I want to say which ones exactly, but I fear it'd be too easy for me to end up revealing spoilers, so I'll stay quiet. I thoroughly enjoyed Rose's interactions with the new characters. She learnt a lot from them, from seeing a different part of her world, outside the school. There is plenty of action still, especially in the second half, though I admit the first half does have a slower pace to it. I actually think that works in it's favor. For Rose to find Dimitri instantly would be too easy, then what would happen for the rest of the book? No, I think it works very well. There is a balance that had to be struck and I think Richelle got it pretty spot on. It gave Rose a change to explore her new surroundings and meet people who she needed to meet.
I lost count of the number of times I ended up in tears the first time I read this. I still cried repeatedly during the rereads. It's a heart wrenching book. There is fresh pain and grief, and memories of the better times. The contrast is startling, both brought tears. And every read of Blood Promise has left me feeling very conflicted. It's too painful for the book to be my favourite of the series, but it's a very important book and very well done. I am always left impressed, sad, and with a slight queasy feeling about the final couple of chapters. I think its the right way for the book/series to go, but they didn't, and still don't, fit comfortably with me for some reason. Rose just felt a little bit 'off' for lack of a better word. However, like I said, still the right direction for the series, maybe just a little sudden for me when I am still reeling from the rest at that point. The final couple of pages though, that last twist, I loved.
Overall, a fantastic book. Very dark, very painful, full of grief, but still brilliant. Left me desperate for Spirit Bound, wondering if maybe, just maybe, what I want more than anything could still happen. Rating: 9/10
Reread Thoughts - this hits spoiler territory, in a semi vague way.
Like with Shadow Kiss, my thoughts are pretty much identical to first time through. I love reading the flashbacks, Rose remembering happier times with Dimitri. They kill me because I know he's gone, but I love and treasure them as well because they're the real Dimitri. The guy I fell in love with right alongside Rose. They're what Rose should, rightly, cling to.
I still, no matter the rereads, can not stand evil, Strigoi Dimitri. It's brutal seeing him so twisted from what he was, and there's the point of those flashbacks, to show that a Strigoi is not the person they were. I completely understood why Rose wanted so badly for it to be him, why she let herself believe it for a while, but it was, is, hell to read it.
The one thing I've found rereading this that is really different, is that I was annoyed with the amount of time Rose spent in Lissa's head. Don't get me wrong, I like Lissa's side plot, and it's got important moments, but I've found that I just wanted to stick with Rose's story.
Oh, and on Adrian, I still do not like him. I know he cares about Rose, for real, and he's an important player plot wise. But I just can't bring myself to really like him. He's okay, and he has grown on me from Frostbite, but I still don't really like him and I can't particularly place why. I think he just rubs me the wrong way on a personal level with the smoking, drinking and some other things, because he's not the kind of guy I'd get on with in real life...