Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

What if following her heart means Rose could lose her best friend forever?

Rose Hathaway knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa--the last Dragomir princess--must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken...

But since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling right. Something dark has begun to grown in her mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy's iron gates. And now that Lissa and Rose's sworn enemy, Victor Dashkov, is on trial for his freedom, tensions in the Moroi world are higher than ever.

Lying to Lissa about Dimitri is one thing, but suddenly there's way more than friendship at stake. The immortal undead are on the prowl, and they want vengeance for the lives Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love and the two people who matter most...but will her choice mean that only one can survive?

Ah, finally, the book that made me want to read this series. The ladies over at Book Smugglers reviewed it and it was intriguing enough that I went out and bought the first three the day after. When they reviewed, they dropped a spoiler that's a pretty big one. I will be discussing that down at the bottom, but will denote it so that if you don't want to know, you can skip over. :)

Wow...that was my first impression after reading this book. That and wiping away the tears that were pouring down my cheeks. Phew!

At the beginning of the book, Rose is dealing with the fallout of the previous book. Killing her first Strigoi and dealing with that takes up a lot of her time. Emotionally, she hadn't been ready for it, but honestly? Who is ever ready to kill anyone?

Her relationship with Christian takes a turn when she finds herself spending more time with him in an interesting turn of events. Because they were both there at the conclusion of Frostbite, they understand each other a lot better and there is a sense of cameraderie there that wasn't before.

Dealing with Dimitri also takes an interesting turn in this book. All throughout the series, there has been the underlying currents between them. There's a seven year age difference between them (she's 17 and he's 24), but that doesn't even make me uncomfortable because it is fought against hard-core by both of them. They know that their attraction to each other is forbidden, not just because of the age difference, but also because of their duties as Guardians (or guardians-in-training for Rose).

This book is definitely the darkest of the three. There are some crazy things going on and poor Rose. She finds out more about the relationship she has with Lissa. She also finds out why these crazy things are happening to her. It's a really fascinating twist and I won't spoil it for you, but let me just say I was pretty shocked when it was revealed. It explains a great deal and is one of those awesome moments of storytelling that just makes a person shake their head.

And there's Rose's relationship with Adrian. Adrian is a character that is introduced rather abruptly into the series, but he plays a pivotal roll in this book, revealing quite a bit about not only the Moroi, but also about Rose. It's fascinating to delve into this world; it truly is.

Now, for the spoiler revealed by The Book Smugglers. Trust me, it's a biggie, so I'm going to do it in white. If you want to know, highlight, if not, go on down to the end and my rating. :)


As the Book Smugglers revealed, something pretty major happens at the end of this book that even after reading the spoiler smacked me upside the head. However, I have a few things I want to discuss here. They state that Dimitri is turned into a Strigoi, but I'm not so sure and here's why. The last we see of Dimitri, he is being attacked by the Strigoi and one of them has bitten his neck. We see this fully from Rose's POV, so because it's rushed and she's in the midst of the fighting, it's assumed that he has turned. However, we're never shown. Instead, she speaks to Mason's ghost who basically tells her that Dimitri has been turned.

And that's my biggest quibble (and it's not even really a quibble). Even though Mason is dead and is revealing himself to Rose in ghost form, it is a known fact that he was seriously in love with her and that's also the main reason as to why he died. I personally think that he tells her that Dimitri was turned because he doesn't want them to end up together. Yes, I know he's dead, but come on! This is a YA paranormal romance, for pity's sake! Sheesh!

However, I did like the foreshadowing with the psychic. That was an interesting twist and it gave Rose & Dimitri a reason to push forward with their relationship. I felt the sex was handled well and I'm glad he was her first. *ahem* And I like the fact that she's willing to kill him if, in fact, he has turned Strigoi. Talk about an interesting twist.


And as for the end, well, since I hid the spoilers, I can't go into a lot of details, but I will say that it is one of the most dramatic endings I think I've ever read. Rose's last words to Lissa just about broke my heart, but it was well worth it, because I think it sets up book 4 quite well. *sigh*

So, all in all, I really, really enjoyed this book and have to thank the Book Smugglers for writing such a stellar review. These books rank right up there with the House of Night series by PC & Kristin Cast and for me, that is high praise indeed.

My Rating: A


orannia said...

ARRGGGH! I just finished Frostbite but I'm 28th in the hold queue for Shadow Kiss. the interests of protecting what is left of my sanity I read the spoilers.....and I'm crossing my fingers!

Great review BTW!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, this sounds great. I somehow think this is more a YA series, or am I wrong? Not that it would matter. Anyway, most of the time I have no problem reading spoilers. This time, I didn't because I'm seriously contemplating reading the books.

Thanks for the review.