REVIEW: Shadow Kiss

This is my non-spoiler review for Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead.

Shadow Kiss is the third book in the Vampire Academy series.  I have prior reviews for Vampire Academy (#1) and Frostbite (#2) .Click here to find a catalogue of all reviews so far.

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

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WHAT IF FOLLOWING HER HEART MEANS ROSE COULD LOSE HER BEST FRIEND FOREVER?
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

Rose 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…

The whole idea of being shadow kisses ties the previous two books together. I’m pleased with how the lore is being built outwards and how it doesn’t take the characters forever to learn new concepts because they’re all willing to go out, research, and formulate ideas.

In previous reviews I’ve talked about how, at the end of each book, I keep wishing Rose wouldn’t revert to her more naive self. After everything that happens during the novel, I feel like she grows so much – only to not keep these changes with the start of the next book. I still feel like this is a slight problem, but I suppose teen drama is a part of the series and I probably wouldn’t be complaining about this if I read the series three years ago like everyone else. I don’t want to talk about Rose’s relationship here except to say I love how it has overcome barriers of past books in a way that feels more mature. Until the last forty pages, which effectively lit that on fire – if you know, you know.

The only thing that dragged down the rating of this book was the way it ended. I’m not talking specifically about the events of the ending – I understand the creative choice to mix everything up, and it honestly was heartbreaking – but I’m talking about pacing. The last fifty pages or so could have been started in the next book, or the beginning parts reduced down to focus more on how this effects Rose. I’m aware this may be addressed in the next book, but I would have liked more emphasis

Overall, I’m rating Shadow Kissed at 3.5/5 – I wanted desperately to like it, but for me the way the ending was handled after such a dramatic set of events just felt flat. This is a shame, because up until the very ending, I think I would have been rating this a high 4 or even 4.5. However, I’ll still be reading the next book once I can order it in from the library in a couple of weeks!


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