Vampire Book Club's Reread Challenge. SPOILER warning, this review contains some spoilers for the previous books. No spoilers for Shadow Kiss though. Previous reread reviews: Vampire Academy, Frostbite.
If Vampire Academy and Frostbite were un-put-down-able (and they were) I don't know what to call this one. Some series are falling off the tracks by the time they hit book three, characters changing beyond realness, plots not as strong as they were or feeling like they've lost direction. Not so here. Shadow Kiss is the strongest book of the series at this point.
Rose is changing, growing up, but she's also facing new, bigger dangers and changes she can't control. I loved Rose from page one of VA. She's a smart, sassy, rebellious, kick-ass kind of girl. No waiting for the guy to come save her here! But there is no doubt she's not quite the same girl she was at the start of the series. I really enjoy her development over the course of the book, how she reacts to certain situations and she realises things are not quite what they always seem. She shows a more vulnerable side, just a little, and it shows her confidence is really growing, without inflating her ego. She's more settled and sure of herself, even when she's feeling lost. Okay, that probably doesn't make any sense at all, but it's how I feel about her and I'm not sure how else to try and explain it.
There are some answers to left over threads from VA and Frostbite given here, as well as many new questions appearing. But it's all connected, to varying degrees, and heading towards a place where you know big bad things lie. Perhaps the most impressive part of this book though, is not the character development, the addition of a new key player or two, but that I knew what the outcome to the book would be, long before I read it, and it still shocked the hell out of me.
I was reading it and filled with a sense of dread that just kept growing because I was thinking this one big thing would happen, but also constantly telling myself I had to be wrong, because surely the author wouldn't go there. But Richelle did. And did it perfectly. I didn't want 'it' to happen, not even close, but I knew it absolutely had to happen, because otherwise, where would the series go? It changes everything for Rose, and ends the book on a killer cliffhanger, but there is no doubt for me at all that it's exactly what had to happen and that the book (and series) is that much stronger for it.
There are so many great elements to this book that all together make it awesome, I can't possibly manage to really give many, let alone all, of them justice. There's further exploration of the world; a deeper look at spirit and it's strength; more romance; lots of action; lots of careful, fitting character changes and development; and like I said, some big, shocking twists.
What else can I say? I adored every moment of Shadow Kiss. Vampire Academy is one of the strongest YA paranormal series out there. Nothing about it is typical or cliched. A spectacular story and equally spectacular continuation of the series! Bring on the rest of it! Rating: 10/10
Honestly, I know I had a lot (too much) to add in this section with the first two, but here, I really don't because I feel pretty much exactly the same about this book as I did the first, second and third times I read it. It never fails to make me cry, to tear me up inside, and have that sense that it really couldn't have gone any other way than what it did.
As always, I felt the foreshadowing was perfectly placed, not just for the final twist here, but for certain things that are still to come. The ground work for future events works just perfectly as well. The development of Rose and Lissa's friendship is fantastic. I love that it's so complex and not always straight forward or easy. Friends fight, that's reality, and Richelle doesn't ignore that or make the fights childish, bratty stuff. The problems they face are very real, very serious. Same goes for all romantic involvements. Rose and Dimitri. Well, what can I say past I still adore them. More than ever. The development of their relationship and the chemistry between them is quite possibly my favourite thing about this book. And that's saying something because there is a lot to love about this book!!