Modern Fantasy · Review · Young Adult

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

On the Cover: Rose

Blood Promise was written by Richelle Mead. It is the fourth book in her Vampire Academy series. The synopsis on the inside cover says:

Guardian Rose Hathaway’s life will never be the same. The recent attack on St. Vladimir’s Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose’s neck; a mark that says she’s killed far too many Strigoi to count.

But one one victim matters . . . Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life’s vow to protect Lissa–her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess–or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She’ll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake–and worlds away from St. Vladimir’s and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend–can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

Just to note: this book actually had a prologue. If you missed the prologues, they are back in this book.

Rose dropped out of St. Vladimir’s on her eighteenth birthday and left for Russia. That was her best bet on Dimitri’s location. While she’s there, she kills some Strigoi without calling the Alchemists. She never even knew about them, so she didn’t call (guardians find out after graduation). She asks the Alchemist, Sydney, if she knew of a dhampir village or town in Siberia. Of course, the Alchemist do, but instead of telling her how to get there, Sydney takes her there. She (Rose) kills two Strigoi on the way. They eventually get to Baia and find Dimitri’s family. Poor Rose has to break the news to them about Dimitri, but this isn’t the reason she came (she thought he would be there). Surprisingly, everyone is okay with her relationship with Dimitri; they considered her a widow now.

We also have this creepy Moroi, Abe Mazur (a.k.a. Zmey, Russian for snake), following her. He wants to know why she’s in Russia and tries to send her back to the U.S. The only way she leaves Baia is through the use of blackmail and favors (in other words, keep her friend from becoming a blood whore in exchange for Rose leaving Baia). Why is he following her? What does Abe do for a living that is illegal? You will find out why he was following Rose and it will surprise you.

Meanwhile, Lissa met the new headmaster’s daughter, Avery. Avery is so much fun, but something is off about her. Rose is jealous and then finds out Lissa is in huge trouble. Will she be able to protect Lissa while trying to kill Dimitri? Why is Lissa drinking so much? Also, I’m glad Jill is going to learn to fight with magic. I’m confused on why (in Shadow Kiss) she said she was an air user, but (in this book) she is a water user.

Rose leads a group of unpromised dhampirs in Novosibirsk. They are hellk-bent on killing Strigoi. Rose, as the leader, tells them they can kill the Strigoi after she interrogates them. One gives her the information she wants. She tells him to go back to Dimitri and give him a message: “Rose Hathaway is looking for you.” I thought that was a little stupid. Now, he would come looking for her. He sneaks up on her (little does he know that she can sense Strigoi), but she whips around quickly. She has at most one minute to take advantage of the surprise and kill him. Unfortunately, she forgot the lesson he had taught her: Strigoi look so much like the people they used to be, that’s why it’s so hard to kill them. Dimitri knocks her out about two seconds after he tells her that she shouldn’t have hesitated.

When she finally comes to, she finds that he has essentially locked her up in a gilded prison. She keeps telling him that she came to kill him. Rose knows that he won’t let her kill him now, or ever. She says to either kill her or let her go. There was an alternative that she didn’t think of, one that scares her. He could awaken (turn her into a Strigoi) her. Honestly, I didn’t think about that as an option either and I’ve read a lot of vampire novels. I’m so happy that even when she was high on Strigoi endorphins (I thought he didn’t want her to be a blood whore–that’s right, this isn’t the old Dimitri), she couldn’t say yes to be being awakened. My problem with this part is that Dimitri keeps telling her that she has a choice: either be awakened, or don’t be awakened. Here’s the problem: he said that if she didn’t make the right choice (be awakened), he’d awaken her anyway. That is not letting someone choose.

I love it when she finally gets out of that stupid fog of endorphins. This is the same Dimitri? Ha! When she asked why he wanted to awaken her, he said it’s because he wants her. The old Dimitri (if he were to hypothetically want her to be Strigoi) would have said something along the lines of “it’s because I love you.” The escape is amazing and scary. She was almost killed and turned into a Strigoi too many times!

Hurray for Oksana, Mark, Rose, Adrian, and Lissa for kicking some butt! Who knew that you could actually fight with spirit?

Rose comes back to St. Vlad’s thinking she had killed Dimitri. She receives a package without a mailing dress, but is stamped as coming from Russia. Oh, crap. She finds the one of a kind stake that she had used on Dimitri in it. There’s also a note saying that Dimitri will hunt her down, soon. Rose and the readers pretty much can tell that it will be very likely that he intends to kill her, not awaken her. She is admitted back in by Alberta and promises to stay in school until graduation.

Great and captivating read. I couldn’t bear to put it down for more than five minutes. You will enjoy it. Be warned, I am still haunted by what Dimitri did to her. It’s like getting a song stuck in your head. I have had to re-read those chapters more than five times now.

Genres: Young Adult, Adventure, Romance, Folklore, Fantasy

Stars (out of 5): *****

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