Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (443 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla
Rose Hathaway knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa – the last Dragomir princess – must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken . . .
But since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling right. Something dark has begun to grow in her mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy's iron gates. And now that Lissa and Rose's sworn enemy, Victor Dashkov, is on trial for his freedom, tensions in the Moroi world are higher than ever.
Lying to Lissa about Dimitri is one thing, but suddenly there's way more than friendship at stake. The immortal undead are on the prowl, and they want vengeance for the lives that Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most . . . but will her choice mean that only one can survive?
Life’s never been simple for dhampir Rose Hathaway. Now, while mourning the loss of her long-time friend, Mason, and contemplating her upcoming graduation, things are more complicated than ever before. And when you add in her undeniable love for fellow guardian and instructor, Dimitri Belikov, Rose’s life at St. Vladimir’s is just downright insane. And about to get much, much worse…
I wasn’t sure I was going to care much for Rose when I first started this series. She’s headstrong, she’s crabby, and she has the tendency to blow off anyone who doesn’t agree with her. Even more so when she knows they’re right. However, these are the traits that, if developed and used properly, will make her into an exceptional guardian in the future. I have to admit, although she’s still a bit headstrong and inflexible, she’s learned a lot and has grown even more over these first three novels. In Shadow Kiss, she’s forced to face reality on more than one occasion and learn to deal with – and even accept – the kind of horrible things that happen in her world. Not an easy road for a seventeen-year-old, even if she is half-vampire.
Dimitri, despite himself, really starts to loosen up around Rose and lets more of the real him show. I really enjoyed getting to know Dimitri better and learning just a touch about his non-guardian side. He's the quintessential guardian – he’s strong, dedicated, and he’s learned to put all else second to his charge, no matter how tempting that distraction might be. To allow Rose into his life like he has, even knowing that it’s the last thing any sane guardian would do, takes a lot of courage – and trust in Rose’s abilities. I know he's the major reason for her successful progression as a guardian. His belief that she can do and be all they expect of her forces her to focus and prove Dimitri right. They make a great team when they work together.
Shadow Kiss is an excellent follow up to Frostbite, carrying on the story and pulling the reader deeper into the world of the Moroi and dhampir. You learn a little bit about everyone in this third installment and you can definitely find growth across the board with all the major characters. I loved how the author took time to focus some on Lissa’s use and development of her spirit magic as well. I am very excited to move on to the next book in the series, especially after the shocking ending of this one!