Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Series: Vampire Academy #3
Published by Penguin Group USA and Audible on November 13th, 2008
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Vampires, Young Adult
Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
Is Rose's fate to kill the person she loves most? It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since Mason's death, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She has dark flashbacks in the middle of practice, can't concentrate in class, and has terrifying dreams about Lissa. But Rose has an even bigger secret . . . .She's in love with Dimitri. And this time, it's way more than a crush.
Then Strigoi target the academy in the deadliest attack in Moroi history, and Dimitri is taken. Rose must protect Lissa at all costs, but keeping her best friend safe could mean losing Dimitri forever...
After a much more enjoyable experience with Frostbite, listening to it on audiobook, I continued on with the series in this format as soon as I could. Now, Shadow Kiss gets a fair amount of hype for being the strongest in the series, which is particularly tied to a heartbreaking, shocking plot twist at the end of the book. Unfortunately for me, that twist was spoiled by an uncivilized
I came across that spoiler accidentally, but it’s the kind that you just cannot forget – no matter how badly you want to. And unfortunately, knowing how the story would go did ruin this book quite a bit for me. There wasn’t the same suspense, shock, or outrage. So while I still enjoyed the story, finding it entertaining enough, and was able to see some foreshadowing that other readers may have missed, the overall effect of the book was less.
But I was still entertained. The world building is further expanded in this book, with more magic, paranormal elements, and the introduction of the royal Moroi court. I really appreciated the depth and added complexity of Rose’s shadow kissed status, and how that affects her relationship with Lissa. Of course, as is typical with these books, it leads to some cliché drama, because Rose never freaking trusts anyone enough to be open and honest with them – even Dimitri, who she claims to love. I mean, I can understand to an extent that she guards herself, but it’s the repetition of continually holding back while things are worse – it just becomes kind of tiring and slow. But it did have the right level of intrigue to keep me reading – and I think the plot was the strongest it has been so far in the series.
I have some hesitations about the romance between Rose and Dimitri, actually. Most people, by this point in the series, are shipping them to death – and don’t get me wrong, I really appreciated those chemistry-laden scenes, and considering the ending, I definitely sympathized with them. But maybe it’s also the fact that I had been spoiled about the ending that I put them at a distance, knowing what was to come for the pair. I just felt like their romance didn’t have that great a build up for me to really buy into it. I mean, other than the lust charm in the first book, they’ve been keeping each other at a distance – hardly even speaking in the meantime. I do feel the physical connection between them, but not so much the emotional one – so when it came time for my heart to soar and later shatter, I was more just content.
Actually, I can easily see myself boarding the Adrian ship, which is sure to be the wrong ship. It’s doomed but I CAN’T help myself because the guy is so snarky and funny, mysterious and devil-may-care, and the way he banters with Rose while also showing that he’s genuine… that’s the way to my heart. Dimitri might just be a bit too broody and silent for me. So I’m glad we got to see more of Adrian in this installment and I can’t wait to see more – how he develops his magic and helps Rose in whichever way he can. All aboard the Adrian train! (Oh crap, I guess that means I’m on the hook to read the Bloodlines series too. *sigh*)
Now the ending… I have to say it was very thrilling. Overall, the plot in this book was a massive improvement compared to the first two, because there was more build up and more action. The battle at the end was really exciting, and though I’m upset about still not really learning more about the Strigoi (seriously this is taking forever) and that twist was spoiled for me, it was done in a great, thrilling way. Had I been unspoiled, my reaction would have been much stronger – that I know for sure. I probably would have been outraged and shocked and everything, like most readers were, but it is the way it is. I can’t lie about what my experience with the book was. I’m really excited though, because I was not expecting the consequences of the twist. View Spoiler »I didn’t think that Rose would make it her goal to kill Dimitri. That’s SUPER interesting to me and I think it’ll make the second half of the series both dark and entertaining. But it’s credit to Rose that she’s not all mopey, whiny, and giving up. « Hide Spoiler