My rating: 3/5 *’s 7/10
I don’t know how I feel about this book. It’s really hard to be objective. Because – after reading Vampire Academy and Richelle Mead’s various other books – one of my favourite things about her writing is her kick ass heroines. Sydney?
In a weird way, she is, but . . . after reading the Vampire Academy, you expect so much more. So objectivity is a big issue. If I’d read this book before Vampire Academy, I think I would’ve like it a lot more – Sydney is a much stronger character than heroines of other books I’ve read. (Cough, cough: Bella, Evangeline, Nora, many many others) And she has a backstory, she’s kind and she’s pretty realistic. She’s badass, but in a . . . subtle way?
But you gave us Rose Hathaway.
YOU DON’T GIVE US A TOTAL BAD-ASS HEROINE, GET US USED TO A GIRL THAT IS SASSY AND FUNNY THEN SWEEP THE RUG OUT FROM UNDER US AND GIVE US . . . Sydney. She’s a great character, but jesus. All her flaws are basically the opposite to Rose’s. So you’re sitting there like “WHY DON’T YOU JUST SAY SOMETHING YOU DUMB SHIT” ir “GET OVER IT” or “THINK FOR YOURSELF PLEASE!” or even “CAN YOU JUST DO SOMETHING RECKLESS, TAKE ACTION . . . DO SOMETHING!” And she doesn’t. She’s Sydney. You don’t give us Rose first! Seriously, you sit through the entire book like “If Rose was the heroine, this would be over so quickly”.
She complains about how she looks, she’s painfully controlled and she is basically half mindwahsed by some Alchemist cult (who, by the way, I heard literally nothing about in the Vampire Academy books) and is ridiculousl smart. These flaws make her quite realistic, which is good. But seriously.
HOWEVER I think it makes Richelle Mead a very talented woman that she can write as so many different types of characters; because (like it or not) she can’t use the same character over and over again. I just think reading Sydney after Rose is setting us up for disappointment.
As for the rest of it.
Jill. What the fuck. WHY DOES EVERYONE LOVE HER?! It stresses me out because I don’t see it. In the third book, Angeline comes along and I LIKE HER, she kinda reminds me of Rose. BUT EVERYONE HATES HER. But not Jill. Not boring, plain, irritating Jill. I just don’t get it. Okay actually, no, I’m sorry. I don’t dislike Jill. I jsut don’t get all the attention on her. And Eddie. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO HIM?! This is not the Eddie I remember?! Ugh, God. Deep sigh.
At least Adrian is how I remember him….OH WAIT NO HE’S NOT. Well, he kinda is – more than the others. But he’s seriously heartbroken. To the point where Jill hates Rose on Adrian’s behalf because of their Spirit Bond (yeah, you know those Shadowkissed people that are so rare? LOL oopsies, there’s two!).
SINCE WHEN WAS ADRIAN THAT IN LOVE WITH ROSE?! I remember them being together briefly, but it was no epic love and Adrian knew she loved Dimitri. Hell, I don’t even remember him being that whipped on her. Well, I do. But it seemed more like “I want to sleep with you and we’re friends, but you’re hurting my ego through picking another guy, so there’s that”. Don’t get me wrong, I love Adrian. I was just . . . annoyed.
Another kicker: there was no romance. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.
We can tell where there’s going to be romance, but none yet.
Good news is: the plot is pretty good. Sydney is a nice, developed character with backstory and reasons. There are some twists. This might sound weird, but I like the fact Sydney is pretty racist against the vampires, because it shows what a kind person she really is – she helps these people she has been taught are evil her whole life. The entire series, she has this threat of “re-education” – which, we learn in book 2, is pretty damn scary – and disappointing her family and, really, her entire world.
But she still manages to think of them as friends. And I think that won Sydney over a bit for me; the fact that she has basically been brought up in a cult and she is smart enough to choose – smart enough not to forget her family, or her entire previous life, but smart enough not to let them rule her.
Look, I’ve read all three available books and let me tell you: it does get better. Stay strong.