Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)
Razorbill (Penguin Books Aus)
Read from my local library
Please note this review may contain general ***SPOILERS*** from the previous Vampire Academy books
Rose Hathaway has proved herself by killing two Strigoi. Now she faces her newest test, guarding a Moroi full time. Rose and her other novices will each be assigned to a Moroi 24 hours a day 6 days a week and they’ll have to protect them from the various simulated tests that the guardians will spring on them, anytime and anywhere around the campus of the Academy. From a very young age, it has always been drummed into Rose that the Moroi come first. A guardian’s task is to always place their Moroi first and protect them from the danger of the Strigoi. It is also the reason Rose knows that she can never be with the man she loves, Dimitri.
Lissa, the vampire that Rose has sworn to protect has begun to slowly tap back into that powerful magic that she possesses, working with Adrian Ivashkov who has the same abilities although they seem to manifest in different ways. This causes complications in Lissa’s relationship with Christian who becomes jealous of the time they spend together and knows that Adrian could open more doors and provide more for Lissa than he could, being outcast. Rose is also troubled by Lissa using her magic again because she knows the darkness it brings. However this time it seems that Rose is taking the darkness from Lissa, into herself. She’s also seeing ghosts – the figure of her recently deceased friend Mason most specifically. He’s distracting Rose from the importance of her task, making her look like she’s going crazy.
But Rose isn’t going crazy and when a real attack comes, she doesn’t freeze this time. Rose has known heartbreak before when Mason was killed. But that pain is nothing when she realises what has happened to someone she cares about and what she owes them now. They made a promise, a shared wish some time ago and now Rose has to honour it.
A word of advice to people who might want to read this series soon. Don’t start this book at 11pm at night. Because if you’re like me, you’ll finish it at almost two in the morning, wanting to cry at the injustice and burning to go and get the next book because, ginormous cliffhanger. But it’s also 2am and you have kids who need looking after and whatever in the morning so you can’t start the next book and then you lie awake staring at the ceiling thinking about everything that just happened and what might happen next. Good thing is that when you sit down to write the review, you’ll probably have lots to say. Or so I’ve heard.
Rose again demonstrates the two sides of her character in this novel – the childish impetuous side that throws tantrums to get what she wants and the dedicated fighter side. Her tantrum side is complicated in this novel by the fact that she seems to be absorbing Lissa’s darkness that come from her tapping in to her magic. It causes Rose to be even more aggressive than usual, attacking people to prove a point and going way too far to punish someone that hurts someone she cares about. It is Dimitri who realises that Rose isn’t acting like herself and Rose confides in him the research she has conducted into the shadow kissed companion of their Academy’s namesake and her fate. Rose and Dimitri have an incredible amount of emotional scenes in this book. The two of them are fighting something more powerful than both of them and they struggle with it in different ways. Rose, for the most part does know the validity of what Dimitri says but occasionally she does push him to reveal himself to her, to give her what she needs to hear. They have some breathtaking moments but it’s the lighthearted ones that reveal their connection the most sometimes. The one where Dimitri takes a breath to say something and Rose cuts him off by informing him that she knows exactly what he’s going to say and then telling him what it is. They know each other, they get each other. It’s why they can’t be with someone else, even though they can’t be together. No one else will get them the way they get each other. When it looks like Rose tanked in a simulated attack by the guardians, it was Dimitri who didn’t believe that she would do that, no matter the circumstances of it not being real and the fact of who she was guarding.
Rose doesn’t confide in Dimitri that she has seen ghosts though and although it was a bit frustrating, I could also understand why she didn’t, the way people reacted. A lot of people already think she’s a bit crazy and if they thought she was seeing dead people, it’s possible they won’t assign her to protect Lissa, a Princess and the last of her line. I liked the fact that Rose looked for reasons for what was happening to her – she researched, she thought about what potential explanations there could be. Not that it didn’t exist, that she was going crazy (although that thought did cross her mind a couple of times too, but only briefly) but real actual possibilities and she was pretty good at articulating them when the time came. Having some possible answers meant that it was unlikely she’d be dismissed out of hand.
These books continue to suck me deeper into the world. I am halfway through now – 3 down and 3 to go. And I already don’t want it to end.
Book #210 of 2013