Author: Richelle Mead (author website)
Release Date: May 18th 2010 by Penguin/Razorbill
Age Group: Young Adult
I don’t know how Richelle Mead’s done it, but the post-Frostbite Vampire Academy books keep getting better. Blood Promise is gripping, dark, and within its pages, it feels like VA, along with its incredible protagonist, Rose Hathaway, is growing up... and growing up ain’t easy.
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?
Roza:The further I read into the Vampire Academy series, the more I’m convinced Rose is one the finest examples of a young adult protagonist I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. She’s strong, independent, confident, fiercely loyal, as well as straight-up fierce. She’s kind, innately good, and in possession of an inner core of blazing-hot strength. She’s never without a course of action, and certainly never lost for words, but, I mean, if she is? She’ll go down fighting.
In Blood Promise, we join Rose in a dark place. To say she’s been through a lot in the last few months would be an understatement. Mason's death, followed by Victor Dashkov's trial, followed by the Strigoi attack on St Vlad's would have enough... But then Dimitri. For the two to finally came together, only for him to be torn apart, is practically more than one person can handle (hell, it’s more than I can handle!). But Rose can't let the man she loved carry on as he is—he never would have wanted that—so she's travelling through Russia, searching for him, so she can drive a stake through his heart.
It's heartbreaking watching Rose carry out this final task for Dimitri. Not only is she grieving his loss with a crushing intensity, but she's missing Lissa, and dealing with an isolation she's never really experienced before. For me, Dimitri and Rose have come to complete each other and I, in turn, had come to see them as two halves of a whole. In another way, I've come to feel the same with Rose and Lissa. Rose feels off balance and incomplete without them, and it's deeply upsetting to see her this way.
Darker, Deeper:Blood Promise has a different feel from previous instalments. It's darker, it's bleaker, and we leave behind the perceived safety net of St Vladimir's and it's small army of competent, knowing guardians and instructors. Rose is on her own, and back home at the academy, Lissa and the gang are alone and struggling with their own obstacles and difficulties..
Despite so much stuff happening—action, danger, intrigue! —a huge amount of what goes down in Blood Promise is on an emotional level: Rose dealing, grieving, and just trying to keep on keeping on. Nevertheless, we check back in on the crew at St V's through Rose and Lissa's bond—major props to Mead for an ingenious way of carrying on the Lissa/Political side of the story, and keeping us updated—and we meet a few very key new characters. Namely, Dimitri's family, who are warm, wonderful, and embrace Rose as one of their own, and someone far more mysterious from Rose and her mother's past.