Janelle Dazzlepants's Reviews > Shadow Kiss

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
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's review
Jul 03, 12

bookshelves: young-adult, vampires, urban-fantasy, psychic-abilities, paranormal, magic, ghosts, fantasy
Read from June 24 to July 01, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Finally something happened in this series! I've been waiting for strigoi to attack the academy for a couple of books now, and in this one it finally happened!

I've said in previous reviews of these books that I think the series is unnecessarily drawn out and poorly paced. I still feel that way. Although these books are intended for a young adult audience, I don't think we need to equate young adult with overly simplistic and short stories. I think Richelle Mead could've condensed the first three books into a longer novel, ending with Dimitri's transformation into a strigoi. It would've been great watching Rose and Dimitri's relationship transform over the course of the book, only to have him ripped away from her.

Instead we got two books worth of Rose acting like her shit doesn't stink and using and abusing people. We got two books worth of Lissa being a sap and having to endure her chemistry-free relationship with Christian. We got two books worth of Rose whinging about her mother, and acting out like a defiant high school brat. We basically got two books worth of filler. Though this series is called 'Vampire Academy', it could be improved significantly by removing 50% of the bullshit that goes on at the school.

And of course, even if the first three books were condensed into one, watching Rose and Dimitri's relationship transform would only be enjoyable if they had any sort of chemistry. Despite how often Richelle Mead claims that they're so in sync that Rose can't tell when she ends and Dimitri begins (vomit-worthy cliche actually used in the fourth book!), I just don't buy it. At no point has their relationship ever tugged at my heart strings; at no point have I ever felt the passion in their relationship.

I don't even know what Dimitri supposedly sees in her. Rose acts like a pathetic immature child, and Dimitri constantly calls her out on it. If Rose acted even somewhat mature, I'm sure they could get away with the age difference. Instead, all her behaviour just highlights the fact that she's a 17 year old high school brat. They hardly converse about anything that's not Guardian related either, so you can hardly claim that they get along particularly well. The only time they've even come close to having a friendly, fun, normal conversation is when Rose pays him out for his love of Western novels - and even then, she's still being a bitch.

It says it all about Rose's character that she constantly says 'I suppose I was being a bitch', or 'I waited for them to tell me I was being a bitch'. Instead of waiting for people call you out on your crap, how about consciously trying not to be an asshole? At first I thought that Richelle Mead constructed Rose in the hopes that young female readers would idolise her, and wish they could be so badass and bold, but Rose has gone way past strong confident female and firmly into selfish stuck-up asshole territory.

I also don't think the ghost storyline was executed terribly well. Rose had too many encounters with Mason before the author even started to tie it to Rose being shadow kissed, and then when it was revealed that the wards were failing, I was like 'err, what?' Richelle Mead could've done a lot more foreshadowing, hinting that the airplane hadn't been warded. She could've hinted more strongly that stakes are created with all four elements, and that the secret society initiation ritual calls on all four elements.

Also - isn't it just a little odd that Mason hung around to help Rose find strigoi, but as soon as he revealed that Dimitri had turned strigoi, he supposedly disappeared and found peace? Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore stories about ghosts with unfinished business, but I don't understand what happened there. Mason wasn't a vengeful type, so it's not as if his unfinished business would be to see Rose and Dimitri getting screwed over.

To the contrary, I'd have thought he would've stuck around to help Rose find Dimitri and put him out of his soulless misery. He seems like he'd be nice enough to go on a quest to help the woman he loves, even if that quest means he's helping said woman find another guy. It doesn't seem right that he helped the school attack some of the strigoi, watch Dimitri get turned into a strigoi, and then bailed. *sigh*

Despite all the shortcomings of this novel and the series thus far, I am excited by where it's headed. I liked that something actually happened in this novel, and I like that we're going to see a change in scenery with Rose dropping out of the academy and hunting down Dimitri. I like the idea that Rose might have to stake the man she loves, though I'm personally guessing that Lissa will somehow turn him mortal again using her Spirit power. I also liked that Rose basically told Lissa to fuck off, and that not everything is about her. The Moroi are selfish twats, and Rose finally realised and articulated what a fucking raw deal the Dhampir get.

Overall: Another drawn out and unsatisfactorily executed installment in the Vampire Academy series. I'll continue to read for two reasons though: 1) I want to see if the change in scenery makes for a more exciting story and less bitchy protagonist, and 2) I can't not finish a book or series. Though I will likely suffer through every minute of this series, I'll suffer even more if I don't find out how it ends!

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