Review: Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

This review will contain spoilers for both Vampire Academy and Frostbite, the first two books in the Vampire Academy series. My reviews for those can be seen here and here.

Shadow Kiss is the third book in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. It takes place a few months after the tragedy seen in Frostbite, and we see Rose trying to come to terms with the death of Mason.  The official synopsis:

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

Rose knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa – the last Dragomir princess – must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken…

Then a strange darkness begins to grow in Rose’s mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy’s iron gates. The immortal undead are closing in, and they want vengeance for the lives Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most… but will her choice mean that only one can survive? 

Shadow Kiss is the book where this series really shows off all the good it is, it’s where it for me actually becomes a five star series, with the first two books receiving four stars. This book delves much further into the implications of spirit use and the effect it has on both Lissa and Rose.

Especially the effect the bond has on Rose, and what it means to be shadow-kissed, is what really made this book so good. You really get to see how it affects her and what effects that has on her personally. The death of Mason is something that’s at the forefront of Rose’s mind for the majority of the book, and the way Mead explores the symptoms of what’s very similar to PTSD is great. Mead has always been good at representing mental illness in her books, and this is no different.

Rose’s strigoi kills also fill a lot of the book, and Rose’s guilt over killing them is something she has to work on throughout the novel. Especially her feelings of guilt surrounding her killing “undead” creatures, and the surprising effects it has on her.

Lissa having found another spirit user in Adrian means that there is a lot more spirit exploration happening in Shadow Kiss. Since i love all the lore surrounding the spirit users, this was one of my favourite parts of the book.

If you have ever read Shadow Kiss you know the heartbreaking ending it has, and you know how much it makes you feel for the characters and especially Rose and Dimitri.

Overall, Shadow Kiss is my favourite of the first three books. It delves into the lore of the VA universe in a lot of new ways, and it fleshes out the characters even more than what has happened in the previous books.




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