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In BLOOD PROMISE, Rose Hathaway has dropped out of St. Vladimir's Academy to find Dimitri and hunt him down. After the events of SHADOW KISS, he has turned into an evil Strigoi. Just like she promised him before the battle, she is now off to kill him, because he told her that he wouldn't want to continue life as a Strigoi and would rather be dead. In order to fulfill his dying wish and find him, Rose has to go to Siberia, his home country.
What intrigued me: I read the first three books. I'm trapped.
Interesting Change of Scenery
To me, this novel is definitely entirely different from the previous Vampire Academy novels. Due to it not taking place at St.Vladimir's anymore, the vibe is slightly darker. There's no high school drama as in FROSTBITE and instead of focusing on rivalries 24/7, everyone seems to be preparing for upcoming, possible battles. Because Rose has separated from the familiar scenes, the side characters get very little screen time and are replaced by new Russian acquaintances that she meets on her travels. While I do not really like that Mead decided to simply replace everyone, I understand that with this setting it's hardly possible to keep track of the old characters. For the first time in the series though the bond between Lissa and Rose is now finally useful (at least for the author) to give us at least a bit of information on what's happening back in the US. Clever move, also including the dreamwalking thing that fellow spirit user Adrian does, I have to give that to Mead.
However, BLOOD PROMISE is solely about Dimitri and Rose. If Rose hasn't been your favorite character before, she certainly won't rise to becoming that now. If you're interested in the two as a couple and Dimitri's family history, you're certainly going to LOVE this. If you've been a fan of other characters in the series, you're most likely going to hate this one. I think it's sad that Mead decided to make such a harsh cut and basically throw in twenty new characters at once that are hardly able to catch the reader's attention as much as those that you've read about since book one. Sydney, who's an alchemist, whose only purpose is to get rid of the dead Strigoi bodies Dhampirs leave around in human territory, is a textbook filler character. I couldn't really sympathize with her, neither was I particularly interested in Dimitri's 34278937 sisters and family members.
...Wait There Is a Point in This?
Rose's tendency to waste time and go into the whole situation without a plan causes to BLOOD PROMISE to drag extremely.
When she finally meets Dimitri I was overwhelmed by how out-of-character they both acted. Given that Dimitri is undead now, I was okay with that, not exactly thrilled, but okay. But Rose instantly became such an annoying, whiny, weak and just imbecile character within ONE chapter break that I was actually shocked. I fully understand that Mead wants to put emphasis on the Strigoi being NOT human/moroi/dhampir anymore, but the way she chose to portray Strigoi Dimitri can only be summarized with one word: terrible. It might have as well been any other character, I saw nothing of him in his "awakened" new self and I actually got reminded of Franklin from the TV show True Blood. The situation was almost exactly the same and just as painfully frustrating to watch/read. I lost almost all motivation to continue the novel during Rose's stay at Galina's estate because it was so dull to read and doing nothing for the progression of the storyline. Also, the fact that she lets him take blood knowing what it had done to her previously with Lissa in VAMPIRE ACADEMY... I don't recall Rose ever being that naive. Maybe I was wrong.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
The weakeast novel so far! I said that before about SHADOW KISS, but this is actually worse. Mainly because you can tell that Mead introduced new characters so that she has something to fill her thin plot with and then completely lost herself in giving all those characters a purpose and backstory.
"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 only 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?"