Thanks to one of my customers at the bills-paying-job, I’ve been reading Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. Earlier this summer I did a triple mini review of the first three novels and gave my impressions of the film adaptation of the first book.
In this fourth installment of the saga we find Rose in Russia trying to find the family of her Dhampir lover turned Strigoi. Wanting to bring closure to them before hunting him down to fulfill the promise she made to him before he was turned in an attack of St. Vladimir’s Academy in the end of book three.
Rose has abandoned her life as a guardian and her life-long friend Lissa, last of the Dragomir royal line. Obsessed with ending the dark fate of her mentor/lover Dimitri, she finds herself hunting Strigoi to track him down. She’s become viciously proficient in slaying the monsters of the vampire world, but she’s uneducated in how to go about disposing of the remains. She stumbles upon a human who knows all about the Moroi, the Strigoi, and the Dhampir. A young woman with a strange alchemical mark and access to magical powers Rose can only dream of.
This human guides her to the home of Dimitri’s family, reluctantly, and apparently abandons her to her fate in the small Russian town. With Dimitri’s family she finds a sense of home and gets distracted from her quest. Thinking that perhaps she can live there and love Dimitri through loving his mother and sisters, Rose grows quietly comfortable. That is until she encounters a strange Moroi called the Snake. Assuming that he’s been employed by her old classmates and friends in America to bring her home she resists his overtures. After discovering that one of Dimitri’s sisters has become a blood whore and attempting to set her straight, she flees to the city and returns to her killing of Strigoi with the help of other rogue Dhampir.
Then she does find Dimitri and the story takes a darkly romantic twist – fulfilling the requirements of paranormal romance.
I’ll leave it there, don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t read the book.
Mead’s style is somewhat formulaic, but the emotions of the characters can be felt through her writing. This book will only make sense if you’ve read the first three.
An aside, I’m still confused as to why so many of the vampire-centered paranormal romance novels seem to have underage heroines and mature heroes. We see this with The Vampire Diaries and many other such series.