Originally posted on The Librarian Next Door:
Dhampir Rose Hathaway has never really played by the rules and she’s known for getting into trouble. But she’s never gone too far – until now. In jail and accused of murder – a crime she didn’t commit – Rose’s luck may be running out. But the Moroi world is in chaos and she may have information that could help sway the course of the Royal Council. When her friends and family stage a jailbreak, Rose goes on the run with Dimitri, determined to track down the one person who might be able to help her. Meanwhile, Lissa leads the others in a clandestine search for the real murderer, aware that someone doesn’t want the truth to be discovered. They’re all racing against the clock, looking for answers that may not be found, while the fate of the Moroi world is surrounded by uncertainty.
Last Sacrifice, the final book in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series is a wildly epic and dramatic conclusion to Rose’s story. From the very first page of the book until the final chapters, Mead takes readers on a thrilling and heart-pounding adventure as Rose tries to discover the truth behind the queen’s murder and Lissa’s family. With each step of her journey, Rose gets closer to the answers she’s looking for – and closer to the danger that threatens the Moroi and dhampirs alike. Mead’s narrative twists and turns as unlikely allies join forces, long-kept secrets are revealed and both Lissa and Rose learn to trust in their own strengths.
One of the things I love about Mead is that every book in the Vampire Academy series heightens the intensity and drama. There’s always another level to reach, another layer to the story to unveil. So many little details are woven into the story, making it rich and dynamic. As the characters delve deeper into the mystery of the queen’s murder, Mead reveals the depth and complexity of the world she has created – a world that’s very real and far from perfect. Technically, the Vampire Academy series is, on the surface, a vampire story, but it’s also so much more – there’s romance, action-adventure, drama, friendship and family, politics and mystery. It’s spectacularly nuanced.
This subtlety is most obvious in the exploration of actions and consequences. Throughout the series, Rose’s most defining characteristic has been her recklessness and impulsiveness. But as Rose matures, you see her begin to truly comprehend the consequences of her actions. Even when she believes that she’s doing the right thing, she starts to realize that other people might get hurt. Mead has created a world where easy solutions rarely occur. Though Last Sacrifice is ultimately a triumph for Rose, Dimitri and Lissa, Mead tempers their happy ending with the uncertain fate of other characters, most especially Jill, Sydney, Eddie and Adrian. Rose’s actions throughout the book were in the pursuit of what she thought was the greater good – but at the end of the novel, she admits that there’s still a lot left unknown. Her happy ending came with a price and others are left to pay.
Of course, the knowledge that a spin-off series, featuring the very characters whose lives were left uncertain, is being published this summer helps allay any fears I might have had about some of my favorite secondary characters (I may be firmly in the Team Dimitri camp, but my heart did go out to poor Adrian). Still, even knowing there’s more to come, Mead’s Last Sacrifice is a worthy conclusion to Rose’s story, filled with excitement, danger and some good old-fashioned ass-kicking by our favorite dhampir.