Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

ISBN: 9781439550649
Source: Purchased
Series: Vampire Academy #3
Release Date: November 13, 2008
Goodreads  |  Amazon
See my reviews for previous books in this series

It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all... might be seeing ghosts.As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose's forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line - and choose between the two people she loves most.

Things I think Richelle Mead is amazing at:
Writing action scenes
Writing love scenes
Awesome character development
Ripping my heart out and stomping on it, then making me come back for more

Things I don't think Richelle Mead is amazing at:
Writing "unobtrusive" narrative (making it not feel like I'm reading a book)
Showing instead of telling

So basically, Richelle Mead: Queen of Info Dumps, Heart Breaks and Ass-Kickings.

With that being said, I want you all to know that Shadow Kiss was my favorite book of the entire series, hands down. The writing seems to get better with each book - either that or I'm just used to it by now and know what to expect. Like I said before, character development is a plus. Rose has become less annoying and reckless and more like the badass heroine I always knew she could be. The pacing was pretty great overall and moved along a lot better than the last two, with the plot progression also being a plus in Mead's favor.

The romance, something that I was very excited to see develop after the end of book 2, was there and I enjoyed it when it was there, but I don't think Mead elaborated enough on it. There weren't enough opportunities to experience the chemistry. It was the same in books one and two, but it didn't bother me then because I'm not a fan of insta-love, so I liked that it took two books to build up to something awesome. About halfway through Shadow Kiss though, I was really dying for something more in the romance department. Mead did deliver, though a bit late, and I was very pleased with it.

Also, something that bothered me is that Mead will present a problem, for example *somewhat-spoiler* (highlight empty space to read) Rose seeing Mason's ghost, realizing that being outside the wards makes it unbearable, etc., then all of a sudden just being able to push it away.. *end somewhat-spoiler* which will propel the story to new heights.  An obstacle for Rose or another character to overcome... How will Rose deal with this? What awesome solution is she going to find to this problem? Then Mead presents us with a resolution that seems way too convenient, that doesn't fit the story. Again, I won't spoil, but sometimes things were just too easily pushed to the side.

It was hard for me to really, really enjoy this book because (as I mentioned in my review of the last book) I accidentally came across some reviews with major spoilers. As quickly as I clicked to another screen, I wasn't fast enough for me to not find out how this book was going to end. It did make the lead-up to the ending harder to deal with since I knew what was coming. But I think if it hadn't been spoiled for me, I probably would've been a wreck while reading it. As it stands, I was still getting pretty misty. No spoilers, I swear, but this book was intense!

Really though, Shadow Kiss was the book that really kicked off the series for me! I was kind of on the fence with the last two, but after reading this one, I knew that Mead was taking it to the next level: to awesomeness. We see definite character and relationship development, bits of world building, lots of action! I was even a little spooked at times when I was at home reading this alone, because of all the Strigoi and ghost talk. Maybe I'm just a big baby, but you can't deny the thought of Strigoi and ghostly apparitions is freaky.

     RATING: ★★★★ 1/2

Overall this was a great book, the best in the series overall in my opinion, and really set up for the next half of the series! There's really only one word I can use to describe this book: Dimitriiiiii!!!

So have you read the third book in this series? What did you think of it? Was it as good for you as it was for me (sorry, I just had to)? Let me know what you think!


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