Review: Blood Promise (VA #4) by Richelle Mead

Thursday, March 27, 2014
Why I chose this book: 
After the epic and heart wrenching ending of the third novel, Shadow Kiss, there was absolutely no way I was ever going to stay away from the fourth book. Thank God all of these books were out by the time I actually started reading this series. *Take note that if you have not read the last 3 books, this review will be slightly spoiler-ish.


Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4) by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Format: E-Book
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Buy: B&N | Indiebound | Amazon
Synopsis:
Rose Hathaway's life will never be the same. 

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? (Goodreads)
3 things you need to know about this book:

1. Gender roles in the communes are a bit 19th century.
So it’s no secret that Rose goes off to Russia/Siberia to hunt for Dimitri, but what she finds there isn’t at all what she expected. After visiting Dimitri’s hometown and family, she sees the Dhampir communes and experiences them for herself. It isn’t what you would expect at all. They are like a normal family, just with a few out of wedlock pregnancies thrown into the mix. 

However, the gender roles are severely whacked when it comes to female Dhampirs in Siberia. Women are not expected to fight —I mean, they are trained, but not to the extent the males are. Females don’t even get the same Promise Mark that men (or Dhampirs back in the States) get. Women are expected to carry on the race by getting pregnant and raising the children. It doesn’t matter if female Dhampirs want that life or not; it’s the lot they are given.

Personally, I find that idea repugnant, being forced into a life that makes a female near helpless, and luckily Rose is of the same mind. Overall, this trip provides an interesting perspective on genera roles in other societies as well as in general.

2. Drugs are to humans as Strigoi bites are to Dhampirs.
So I’m not going to say who gets bitten or by whom, but I will say that Strigoi bites and its effects are very similar to that of a drug addict. I found the comparison quite interesting, and how ‘blood whores’ are created so easily. I’m not going to say much for fear of giving something away, but I thought that the use of this comparison was smart to add to the book since drugs are a reoccurring issue in today’s society.

3. 60/40
So I felt that the first 60% of this novel dragged on, and I’m sure most readers would agree with me. I was never completely bored at the time, but it was quite long and drawn out. Looking back, I can see how all of the information was important, but it didn’t pick up until the last 40% of the novel. And from there, I will say it was some of her best writing to date. Some of her descriptions were beautiful and the climax of the story was heartbreaking and entrancing at the same time. I couldn’t put down my Kindle even though I could barely read for the tears flooding my eyes.

Final Notes:
Overall, this was probably my least favorite of the series. The slow start was a drag, but the ending made all of it worth while. Also, the ending, man. That ending…ugh. You will not be able to wait for the next one, so plan on having it available whenever you finish this book.

I gave this book 4 (really 3.5) stars on my Goodreads.

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