Narrator: Emily Shaffer
Series: Vampire Academy #4
Published by Penguin Audio on August 25th, 2009
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Vampires, Young Adult
Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
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?
Aww, man. Just when I thought this series was kind of getting on the right track to work with me… it does this. *sigh* Unlike Frostbite and Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise has left me feeling meh and confused and I don’t know what even.
Okay, basically my problem is that it feels like nothing freaking happened in this book – in spite of the audio being over 13 hours long and the print over 500 pages. At the beginning, I thought this was going to be pretty good. Rose is on a mission, ending up all the way in Russia to hunt down and kill Dimitri, who recently turned into a Strigoi. There are crazy many Strigoi in Russia, but Rose is fierce and cuts down each one she meets. This is how she ends up meeting Sydney, an alchemist. Her people are responsible for keeping the existence of vampires a secret, so she has many useful tools to get rid of the bodies of the Strigoi. I loved Sydney right away. She’s super fun and snarky, and in fact, I really liked how she and Rose got along. I think they would make pretty darn good BFFs.
What the alchemist do though, for the rest, and what kind of magic they have and stuff is kind of kept under wraps. Which is sad, because that’s something that really intrigued me here. And after I finally felt attached to Sydney, she disappeared already. Blood Promise was pretty much just playing a game of keep away all the interesting stuff: Sydney, alchemy, and even Adrian – to an extent (loved the ending with him, ngl). But basically that means I should definitely give the Bloodlines series a shot, and I do see that I’ll probably enjoy that a lot more than this.
So what are we left with when all that interesting stuff is kept out of the picture? ONE BORING HOT MESS. Rose goes to Dimitri’s hometown and meets his family. And she just stays there. For a while. A long while. Doing nothing. Well, she consoles them as they cope with their loss, but it’s like she completely loses track of her mission. Sure, she doesn’t exactly know where to go, but it’s so fucking boring. Eventually she joins a group of Strigoi hunters, which is interesting, but that ends before all too long, because then she meets Dimitri again.
Okay. My biggest issue is that this is the book where the Dimitri/Rose ship officially died for me. DEAD.
Also, I cared less and less about Dimitri. I don’t buy into how fucking amazingly badass and strong he is. Rose is just singing his praise all the time and makes me raise some serious eyebrow. Especially when Dimitri’s fighting other Strigoi – who have been around for CENTURIES – and he’s just magically stronger than all of them? I mean, we don’t even have The Vampire Diaries’ reasoning of newborn vampires being stronger temporarily. No, just because he was SUCH AN AMAZING AWESOME FIGHTER before, now he’s even more awesome. I find it all too hard to swallow. Wut even.
But more importantly, I understand that yes, with his new identity, Dimitri is inherently evil, he’s not the person he once was, but Rose has trouble accepting that. But still, everything he freaking does to her in this book? DISGUSTING. UGH. And Rose does realize it as well, at the end… View Spoiler »When she asks him why he wants to turn her into a Strigoi and he answers that he “wants” her, not that he loves her – which is the answer she wanted to hear. But then at the end she’s like, “Would he have said he loved me if we had a second longer?” GIRL PLEASE. IF HE DID THAT’S BECAUSE YOU PUT THE WORDS IN HIS MOUTH. THAT’S MEANINGLESS. « Hide Spoiler I just cannot. I didn’t ship them at all anymore. The “romantic” scenes just kind of creeped me out. I mean, there was a degree of chemistry remaining, but any time Dimitri opened his mouth I just cringed. Nope nope nope.
But that romantic “drama” leaves the plot hanging again for hours and hours of the audiobook. So. Boring. Adrian realizes Rose is becoming a train wreck and stops talking to her in her dreams, which actually made me really sad because he is the light of my life. *cough* Well, at least he sees sense, because yes Rose was being ridiculous. Lissa goes through some struggles as well – which admittedly was an interesting plot line with a few twists, but we only really see brief flashes of it until at the very end of the book where that becomes the central focus. This is Richelle Mead’s pattern: 450 pages of romantic drama interspersed with clues that will become important to the story later, and then 50 pages of plot. It’s becoming very hard for me to care for this – even when I’m only listening to it while I multitask.
Sad thing is all the boringness and run-around drama is making me care less and less about this story. Lissa started to become quite annoying to me in this book, particularly because the relationship with Rose is starting to creep me out. The way that Rose insists on always putting Lissa first and obsessively thinks about her – particular the tone she uses when thinking about her – is making me think this is not a healthy relationship at all. And what Lissa does to Christian? UGH BITCH. I mean I want to be understanding, considering the spoilery circumstances, but UGH YOU BITCH. Basically, I only care about Christian and Adrian anymore and will probably continue on with the story for them but really.
And what a story it will be. I’ve called this from the moment I knew about Dimitri’s transition. It’s as cliché as it gets. View Spoiler »I mean, not only does he “die” but then not really die, but OBVIOUSLY Lissa, with her healing magic, will be able to heal him and bring him back to life. Obvious. I knew this months ago. *groans* The problem is, will turning him back into a human excuse him for all he’s done as a Strigoi? I have a very hard time believing that his whole identity can shift like that. But I KNOW Rose/Dimitri is end game, so they will be together and she will forgive him for this bullshit and ugh. I don’t even really want that. « Hide Spoiler Also: View Spoiler »I was actually really happy when Rose left the boarding school at the end of Shadow Kiss, but now at the end of Blood Promise she just comes back and enrolls again? GUYS I THOUGHT WE WERE BEYOND THIS. « Hide Spoiler It really just feels like we’re going in circles here.
A final note about the audiobook: they switched narrators for Blood Promise, which made me really sad because Khristine Hvam, who narrated Frostbite and Shadow Kiss, was the perfect voice for Rose for me. The new narrator, Emily Shaffer, does more different voices – so dialogue scenes can be easier to follow, but it has mixed effects. The snarky girl voices for Avery and Sydney were great, no question. The Russian accent for the MANY Russian characters… was okay. But particularly on Dimitri it made him so much less sexy to me. Also, she put on this weird mix of a British/Australian accent for Adrian for whatever reason and it was terrible and made me want to cry. So… this also was a stumbling block for me to enjoy the audio as much as I did for the previous books.