I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
I had read Vampire Academy and Frost Bite a long time ago (last year). Because of library delays and holds, I sort of put this series on the back burner until I saw a few of my blogging cohorts binge reading it and was like. Why not?
So I binge read it. And ordered the Bloodlines series because after this binge I need more Adrian.
Not so much Rose though.
Who can just stuff it (okay, I do like you Rose but you really need to grow up some).
For this binge review I’m going to talk about the last four books briefly then do an overall series review. It’s probably going to come up to be a very long review though-it’s four books-but I’m going to try to be as brief as possible.
Shadow Kiss: The Book Where Mead Has Guts
This is the way to write a book.
It’s probably one of the strongest books in the series (I should probably review the first two books just to make sure, but it was awesome). Oh, there were some issues. Like I got annoyed with the pacing of a certain romance.
Seriously, you go from repressing your feelings to going horizontal?
Grant it, the ending of the book sort of made sense why they went that far.
That aside though.
While Vampire Academy is not exactly the greatest literature known to man kind, these books can keep you entertained. Which was what Shadow Kiss did. I was on the edge of my seat. And not bored once. Even the boring scenes were entertaining.
I think what I liked best about this particular installment was the character development. Not so much for Rose, but for the minor characters in the series.
One thing I love about Vampire Academy is its large supporting cast. With the exception of a certain love interest, most of these characters are well formed and I love how their relationships play off of each other.
For example, I love the growing Rose/Christian friendship and the Rose/Adrian relationship. Of course, the Rose and Lissa friendship is still great to read about too.
The action towards the end of the novel is pretty pulse racing. And that ending. I know a lot of people are probably NOT going to like what happen. But I like how gutsy it was (if only the resolution was that gutsy).
So, other than horrible romantic pacing. The third book in the series is a winner for me.
Overall Rating: A-/B+
Blood Promise: The Book Where I completely Hate Dose
This was probably my least favorite out the series.
Just going to say it now.
I lost a lot of respect for Rose in this one and I really feel like about two hundred pages could’ve easily been chopped off without much thought.
Let me just start by saying up till this book I didn’t hate Dose (Rose and Dimitri). Yes, I thought their relationship bordered on Sexual Harassment Panda territory and that Dimitri could do with some character development, but they weren’t horrible together.
They had chemistry.
Sort of squeamish chemistry.
But this was the book where I really can honestly say I can’t stand them together.
The relationship was borderline icky before because there was power issues, but now it’s downright abusive.
And yes, I know Dimitri can’t help it that he’s a Striogi but…but..Rose have some self respect.
You have a guy like Adrian there for the taking, yet you want a guy that basically has turned you into a blood whore.
Little Life Lesson: locking someone up in what’s the equivalent to the Plaza’s version of a padded cell then taking your blood each night to slowly coerce you into becoming a blood thirsty monster does not establish a good relationship. Especially when you never really touch upon this issue in the later book. And. You. Have. A. Guy. Like. Adrian.
Yeah, my frustration with Dose is obvious. But even if it wasn’t for the painful destruction of the Dose relationship in this book, it still would be my least favorite.
As I said before, pacing is horrendous. While I do like the introduction to both Sydney and Abe, I really could’ve cared less about Dimitri’s family and their mourning-really, a guardian didn’t break the news to them- and the Lissa subplot was a snooze fest at best.
Blood Promise, unfortunately, is just one of those books that has middle book syndrome all over it.
Spirit Bound: The Book Where I Let Fan Fic Take Over
Better than Blood Promise.
But once again, about a hundred or so pages could’ve been easily cut. Especially at the end.
Honestly, I would’ve been fine had this been the series ender. I thought the Dose relationship could’ve ended quite nicely here.
Yeah, there I am going off about Dose again.
All Dimitri is, is a prize. And this book sort of solidifies that.
While Adrian is a real character…
Well, his romance with Rose lasts more than half a page
Sour ships….I swear.
I will give Dimitri this, when he’s crazy. I like him and Rose better. I think mainly because they work well as antagonists. The fact that they are so in sync with each other makes them great adversaries. I think that same reason is why I don’t see them so much together.
That aside though, I did like parts of Spirit Bound the side characters once again stole the show. I grew to like Lissa a bit more with this installment and Eddie also grew on me.
I also liked the development on spirit magic. The world building aspects here were quite well done.
Additionally, I liked the whole quest that took up the first 2/3 of the novel. However, once that part of the book is over. It takes a nose dive to make a plot device for what really is an unnecessary six book. Which is a shame.
Overall Rating: B
Last Sacrifice: The Book Where I Wonder Why it Ever Exists
And this is where I get nasty.
I have so many problems with this particular installment (though it’s still better than Blood Promise)but so much of it is unnecessary. And Rose has regressed and is now constantly pissing me off.
Thank God for the side characters.
Particularly Adrian and Sydney.
So, yeah. Sort of glad Sydney is getting her own spinoff (with Adrian).
Unlike Rose, she’s a little bit more pragmatic and not ridiculously impulsive. So that’s a good thing.
I give Adrian points for being Adrian and telling off Rose, the way I wanted to tell off Rose for about three hundred pages.
Seriously, girl, you were being ridiculous. And it’s not just because my ship sank.
I swear I wanted to pound you a lot in this unnecessary volume.
And your response was so cliche, so self absorbed, well, I’m glad we’re done so I won’t have to take you off of my favorite YA MCs list because you were really not going to be there anymore.
Anger with Rose aside, the book really felt unnecessary. The whole plot just sort of seemed thrown together to have a sixth book and honestly I don’t want to read a sixth book unless there’s a purpose-that is other than to get a slightly icky couple together.
Overall Rating: C+
The first half of Vampire Academy is outright fantastic. It reminds me of a vampire version of The Mediator. It’s that good. However, the second half of the series (while having its moments) does drag. And I feel like Rose has regressed as a character.
And it’s not me having sour ships.
I just feel like the series was more evolved than its ending. And that to ge tthe ending that was intended, Mead had to regress the characters a bit.
Does that mean I regret reading this series?
It’s entertaining. Rose can occasionally have a quip that isn’t eye roll worthy and the action sequences can be mildly entertaining. Even exhilarating at time. But I feel like it was dragged out too long. Some editing was definitely needed.
And yeah, not that happy with the endgame, but I’ll live.
Series Rating: A solid B. While the first half kicked my ass, I wanted to kick the ass of the second half.