Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)
Razorbill (Penguin Books Aus)
Read from my local library
Please note that the following review will contain ***SPOILERS*** for the previous Vampire Academy novels
Dhampir Rose Hathaway is back at St Vladimir’s Academy and re-enrolled with the rest of her novices. She’s again on track to graduate with them and become a guardian after her flight abroad to find and kill her former lover Dimitri, who had been turned Strigoi. Now that she’s back in America, Rose realises she has failed a second time when she receives the stake she staked him with and a note telling her she should never flee before making sure her opponent is dead. Now Dimitri warns her that he will be coming for her. When she graduates and takes up her place, she will no longer be protected by the wards that encircle the Academy – and he will be coming to find her and finish what he planned: turning Rose Strigoi so they can be together forever.
But when Rose was away, she learned something – rumours of a vampire who turned a Strigoi back to what they were prior to being Strigoi. This energises her – she knows it’s a long shot but she absolutely has to find out if it’s possible, because if it is, she will find Dimitri and she will return him to his dhampir self. She and Lissa and their novice friend Eddie undertake a road trip to do the impossible: break out a notorious Moroi criminal from one of the strictest Moroi jails because he has the information they require.
To Rose’s surprise, their attempt yields what she seeks. It is possible and it can happen – but the silver stake must be charmed with spirit and the staking must be done by a vampire who can harness and work with spirit. Rose knows of several such vampires – after all her best friend Lissa is one and so is Adrian her sort-of boyfriend. But Rose is devastated. No spirit wielding vampire she has ever met (and there are not many) would be a match for any Strigoi let alone one of Dimitri’s strength and fighting ability. Rose knows he’s coming for her and her chance to restore him rests in the hands of blonde, delicate Lissa who is determined to learn how to fight, just so she can try and see if this works. But Rose knows that if Lissa fails not only will Rose have to kill the man she loves (again) but she could also lose her best friend too.
At the end of the previous book, Rose thought that she had managed to kill Dimitri in their final struggle and fled back to St Vladimir’s to help Lissa deal with the aftermath of her fight against another spirit wielding vampire who was trying to use spirit as a weapon against Lissa. However she receives a letter and her silver stake from Dimitri which tells her that she didn’t get the stake in far enough and it probably fell out when Dimitri went off the bridge. Now he’s even more determined to find Rose, recapture her and carry out his plan of turning her Strigoi and ruling over all the Strigois. Rose has decided that instead of killing him, she’s going to do what most people believe is the impossible and restore him.
Rose has sort of moved on in a way, to a relationship with Moroi royal family member Adrian Ivashkov who has always had feelings for her. Previously Rose wasn’t interested in Adrian because of Dimitri but after he provided the funds for Rose to go to Russia, track Dimitri down and kill him, Rose promised to give Adrian a chance and she has, even now that she knows she wasn’t successful in killing Dimitri. She’s doing her best but her thoughts are plagued by Dimitri – not with killing him now, but with saving him. Although I really like Adrian, it’s a bit weird reading about them together because I’m so fixated on Rose and Dimitri. I think Richelle Mead neatly skips around this by giving them very few scenes alone. Most of their interactions occur around other people and rarely do they get “alone time” and the one time they do, Rose ends it because they’re lacking something necessary. Adrian is a surprisingly patient and understanding boyfriend, given he’s very into Rose and he knows that she doesn’t feel the same way about him in return. I think he feels that perhaps he can get her to love him in time, but that was when Dimitri was either definitely Strigoi or when Rose thought he was dead. Now that Rose feels there’s a possibility of saving him, the idea of Rose loving Adrian seems very far away. And I think deep down, he probably knows that. I’d feel sorry for him if I were reading these as they were published.
I loved Lissa in this book – I’ve mostly liked her throughout the entire series, although at times she’s difficult to like when the depression from using spirit manifests and turns her brittle and a little shrill. She had a tough time in the last book but Rose really helped her come through and assert herself in the end and that lays the foundation for this book where she steps up, determined to learn how to stake a Strigoi so that she can have a shot at possibly healing Dimitri. I think this book is the strongest she’s been and better than that, the idea of being able to heal a Strigoi gave her a purpose, something to really strive for.
The characters in this series have been through a lot – just one book to go now and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all ends. And then moving on to Bloodlines!
Book #212 of 2013