Review: 'Shadow Kiss' by Richelle Mead

Friday, July 17, 2015


Shadow Kiss
Richelle Mead 

Goodreads / Amazon


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?

Travel Companion:

If I traveled with the main character Rose Hathaway, she would be:

The Thrill Seeker

She would go to all the places for adrenaline junkies. She would dive from high cliffs into shallow waters. She would be the one who wouldn't hesitate to join in a fight to defend her friends. Rose would be the one to choose the deadly, life-threatening adventures. (Which might result in a broken bone or two.) And she would be great at fighting. She would end up as a martial arts instructor if she wasn't busy protecting her best friend.
We would meet her recklessly jumping off a cliff. Of course, we would chicken out and back off. We would be impressed by Rose's reckless attitude and her fearlessness. We would become her friends after we take our own leap.

Rose was still the awesome girl we all know and love. I will always love Rose's character. No matter what. She was outspoken and brave. She was reckless. She didn't always think before she acted. And the darkness made her even more reckless. (If that's believable.) She didn't think at all in this book. She didn't hesitate. She jumped into a fight because of her boiling blood and the darkness in her soul.
We didn't get too much character development in this book. Rose started to trek down the path of darkness, but it wasn't touched upon a lot. I thought the trek towards darkness and the gates of death were interesting touches to her character. The ghosts appearing and scaring her were interesting. They made her jumpy, and it changed how she reacted to things (aka Stan's 'attacks' during field experience.)
But in the end...she was broken. I felt it. I imagine anyone who read this book felt it. Rose was crushed. Her soul was broken into a million pieces. She wasn't thinking. Everything was just a blur. She could only focus on the pain of losing someone she loved. I can't imagine the pain she was going through. And I hope I never have to experience it first hand.

The Adventure Begins and Ends:

The plot was great. It was a wild ride. I was devouring this book. The action was fierce and quick. I held onto the story, riding along.
The beginning was fantastic. That first page? On point. It was hilarious and definitely captured Rose's voice. It took only one page for me to get excited for the rest of the book. That takes talent. I typically could care less about the beginning. I end up waiting in anticipation for a good action scene to happen, and those happen mostly during the middle.

My blood burned within me, and I felt more alive in that moment than I ever had. I loved him, loved Christian so much that— Christian? Oh no.

Page 1 'Shadow Kiss'

This book had lots of action sequences. The Strigoi attack was one. That was a great battle. Great to read; terrible to actually fight in. And the rescue mission to the caves? Awesome. Rose was very clever to notice Mason's signaling.
I thought it was interesting to read the time at the Court. Rose met Ambrose there. Ambrose was a male blood whore. It was interesting to see her values being tested. She was taught 'They come first' for her entire life. Seeing Ambrose confused her. Partly because he was a blood whore and partly because he was a male blood whore. And Rhonda. What a cryptic woman. I honestly would prefer a more straightforward fortune, thank you very much.
And we got to see Christian fight. And, man, he was good. He wielded fire like it was an extension of his mind and soul.
I have to agree that the Moroi should learn how to defend themselves. Christian was a perfect example of this principle in action and its importance. Only the ones who want to, though. People won't enjoy doing anything if you force them to do it. The Moroi needed to defend themselves. There aren't that many dhampirs out there. And it's not like you can just force the novices into battle. There will be more casualties if you do that.

Yeah. We were badasses.

Page 361 'Shadow Kiss'

And page 419. Dear god. Page 419. I was, and still am, in denial. I knew it was coming, but it was still a train crashing into me. (I knew because I read the description of the fourth book. Description can give away certain plot twists.) It was terrible to read. I couldn't handle it.
I couldn't believe it. Things like that don't happen to the love interest. They happen to the enemy or, at least, a side character.
Richelle Mead, why do you do this do us?

I'll Wait For You At the Gate:

Oh, Rose. Oh, Dimitri. Your relationship is ripping my poor heart into two.
The feels! The feels!

These two had heat. They had chemistry. They had the spark most couples lack. I ship these two. They are perfect for each other. Dimitri cools Rose's hotheaded temper. He calms her when no one else can. And Rose makes Dimitri smile. She makes him happy.
These two work. I wanted them to get together earlier in the series. Maybe book one? I'm hopeful, you know.
And the cabin scene. Hot and heavy. Steamy. Whoa. Just whoa. I loved that these two are so in love. These two went all the way.

“I love you, Roza.” He kissed me again. “I’ll always be here for you. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”

Page 345 'Shadow Kiss'

Perks and Upgrades:


You Have Arrived at Your Destination:

Imagine this. You're a badass hero who saves the world from Super Bad Stuff. Right now, you're in battle. Your best friend friend is there but so is your lover. There are Super Bad Creatures about to attack both of them. You have the ability to only protect one of them.
Which one do you choose?

That's the decision Rose had to make at the end. (Well...not really. I was going for a metaphor.) Lissa or Dimitri? I felt like she followed her heart. I wanted her to tell Lissa where she was going, though. I wanted her to keep in touch. Lissa was, and still is, her best friend.

The ending was full of action. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. Rose's abilities as a dhampir were highlighted. Her strength. Her fight. Her viciousness. Rose was truly the best novice dhampir at the Academy.
The ending had the rescue mission. Thank goodness Mason was there to help. At the same time, I wish he hadn't. Dimitri would be okay if the rescue mission hadn't happened at all. I felt torn between wanting the dhampirs to help the kidnapped and wanting Dimitri to be okay. Rose had that conflict of interests as well.
This book ended on a cliffhanger. I want to know what happens next. I have to know. (Aka I scramble to get book four.)

Overall, this wasn't a bad book. Rose was still awesome, and her character changed drastically by the end of the book. And I liked the change. The plot had its action scenes. It also had some great plot twists I didn't see coming. (And one that I knew was coming.) The romance was steamy. Rose and Dimitri really were meant for each other. The ending was a terrible cliffhanger, and I can't wait to know what happens next.



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