Friday, May 29, 2015

#22 [2015/CBR7] "Spirit Bound" by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy, Book 5)

I accidentally fell into the Vampire Academy series when I saw a review and thought it looked fun, and here I am with Spirit Bound (2010), the fifth book in the series by Richelle Mead that revolves around teenage vampires. These books are sometimes fun, sometimes exciting, and sometimes a little irritating, but I obviously like them enough to push through the series. Spirit Bound was no different, but I would advise starting at the beginning if you have any interest. It wouldn't make any sense to read this review now unless you're familiar with the earlier books. (Spoilers ahead)

The drama between Rose and Dmitri heats up quickly again in Book 5 with threatening love letters from Rose's disgruntled and homicidal--only because he was turned evil--ex. Rose heads off to the wilds of Alaska and vampire prison with her gullible friends to let a criminal loose in order to maybe get some information to save her beloved boyfriend. However, when they get their criminal conquest to Vegas, they are attacked by Dmitri and his gang. After a blood bath with many human casualties, they head back to Court in shame.

But Lissa and Christian are later kidnapped by Dmitri. In the ensuing, chaotic rescue effort, Lissa and Christian are able to work together to turn Dmitri from the evil Strigoi he was back to a guilt-ridden dhampir. Dmitri refuses to talk to Rose because he feels so awful for what he's done, and Rose uses Adrian (again) after Dmitri's rejection. But when the queen is found murdered by Rose's stake, she is arrested and threatened with a death sentence. Dmitri's protective side comes out, and we are left with only the promise of the sixth and final book to somehow save Rose from the [in]justice of the courts, get some couples happily together and tie up the rest of the loose ends.

There were a couple of things about this book that I found irritating, mostly surrounding Rose's actions. On the whole, she is a very fun character: brave, strong, foolhardy, and talented. She can kick some Strigoi ass and doesn't worry about being proper. In many ways, she is incredibly refreshing. But she does have a habit of taking advantage of guys who like her and using them for her own purposes. She did this in the earlier books with Mason, who was subsequently killed, and she continues to do this with Adrian. "Don't worry, Adrian. I've run away from school and risked my life in Russia for the love of my life. And now I'm breaking out a horrible criminal from prison who tortured my best friend--all for the slight possibility of gaining information that will help bring my boyfriend back. But, y'know, if he comes back, I'm sure it won't change anything between us." Sure, Rose is a teenager and she's impulsive but that kind of willful ignorance is ridiculous. All it did was convince me that she was too immature, after all, to be with Dmitri. Also, Dmitri's wildly swinging drama between rejecting Rose and acting crazy protective felt a little overdone.

Finally (and I think this may already be obvious), I had a hard time with Rose's plan to break Victor Dashkov out of prison. It's one thing to run off to Russia to fulfill a promise to your recently-turned-evil boyfriend. It is quite another to fight against her own side to let a decidedly evil man out of prison. If she or her friends were caught, they could have been thrown in jail for the rest of their lives, yet she drags them down with her without even giving some of them a choice. And what about that poor guardian at the jail they used  compulsion on to make him help them? Now he's getting blamed for the entire thing, and Rose and Adrian are encouraging it so she doesn't get into trouble. Sure, Dmitri's life matters more to Rose than all these other people, but to use them like that for her own selfish purposes is inexcusable.

So, if you can gloss over that stuff, the rest of the book was pretty fun and I'm looking forward to the next one.

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