Vampire Academy #3: Shadow Kiss – Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy

Warning! There will be spoilers!

Vampire Academy is without any shred of doubt in my mind, my absolute favorite series of all time. I have read the entire series over and over again and I hope to continue doing so until I’m all old and wrinkled.
Hidden within these amazing pages is a story about friendship, forbidden romance, magic, mystery, power, lust, family and self discovery that I can connect with on so many levels.

Also, anyone who follows me on any type of social media knows that my OTP of all time is Lissa and Christian. What about Rose and Dimitri? you might be thinking. Don’t worry! I love them very much as well, but although I see a lot of myself in Rose (her impulsiveness, stubbornness and passion) I think when it comes to a romantic relationship I can see so much more of myself and my boyfriend in what Christian and Lissa have. (I have also made myself a Christian and Lissa poster which I put on Twitter to prove my point).

Either way, I have found so much joy and life lessons from reading these books and am glad to finally be able to review them all.

Published: November 13th, 2008

Page Count: 443
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

Rose 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…

Then a strange darkness begins to grow in Rose’s mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy’s iron gates. The immortal undead are closing in, and they want vengeance for the lives 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?”


I think Shadow Kiss is probably my favorite Vampire Academy book out there (along with Blood Promise and Last Sacrifice – I can’t choose, okay?!). It has such an amazing mixture of all the things we love about this world: the Academy, Court life, Strigoi fights, forbidden romance, magic and intrigue. 
This is also the first book in which Rose truly discovers what being shadow-kissed really means to her. She sees ghosts for the first time and also notices spirit’s dark effects on her own life that are truly scary. 

I think the first three books in the series (although foreshadowing a lot of things that come even later than the events of Shadow Kiss) have pretty much been leading up to the great finale and Dimitri’s turning. The most heartbreaking thing of all this build-up (besides Dimitri turning into a Strigoi, of course) is seeing how strained Rose and Lissa’s friendship has become. Rose really loves Lissa and always will, but you can see how bit by bit she wishes that she would have her own say in her life. She is getting tired of having to follow the dhampir regulations and having to follow in Lissa’s shadow, covering up things that might hurt her (like the entire business with Victor). 

No matter how often I read this book, the ending always gets to me. I have to cry each time. The entire fight just puts you so on edge and then when Rose learns about what happened to him, you can just feel your heart shattering into tiny pieces along with her. 

“Tell them buria.”

“My heart shattered. My world shattered

You will lose what you value most…

It hadn’t been me that Rhonda was talking about. It hadn’t even been Dimitri’s life.

What you value most.

It had been his soul.” 

And in my opinion, everything has been made a thousand times worse after that sex scene. Ah, that sweet, heartbreaking sex scene. It is just so beautifully writen and just warms my heart up. It’s one last sweet thing that happens between all hell breaks loose. It has bonded them together permanently, but it also makes the loss that Rose goes through that much worse.

There are a lot of people who think that Rose deciding to leave the Academy – and Lissa – was a very selfish choice, but I disagree. I think Rose has always been 100% willing to lay down her life for Lissa, and has done that for pretty much all her life. This is the one and only time that she had decided to put her own choices over staying with Lissa, and I think Lissa might be a tiny bit selfish in expecting her to always stay there with her (even though I don’t think she’s being purposefully selfish). And even then, I don’t think it’s a selfish thing she’s doing at all, quite the contrary. She’s going to save Dimitri from himself. She’s going to fulfill the promise that she has made to herself, for Dimitri and not herself. Also, I think that in her heart Rose knows that she won’t feel settled until she knows that Dimitri has been killed for good. I think in order for her to eventually give up her life completely for Lissa, and stay by her side forever, she has to take care of this now. Rose finally realizes that it’s okay to stand up for her own desires for once, and that this is one of those times when she needs to do that.

“It’s not about you, okay? This time, it’s about me. Not you. All my life, Lissa… all my life, it’s been the same. They come first. I’ve lived my life for you. I’ve trained to be your shadow, but you know what? I want to come first. I need to take care of myself for once. I’m tired of looking out for everyone else and having to put aside what I want. Dimitri and I did that, and look what happened. He’s gone. I will never hold him again. Now I owe it to him to do this. I’m sorry if it hurts you, but it’s my choice!” 

This is also where you can see all the pieces of Mason’s death falling together. We can see how this all ties into her being shadow-kissed and also getting the information and warning’s about the Strigoi. It really breaks my heart each time to see Mason, even as a ghost. But, I also think that its extremely bittersweet when we see him truly smile one more time, before finding peace and moving on to heaven. I like how we got that closure with him and know that he’s in a better place now. 

Now that Adrian has moved on to Academy grounds, the sass between him and Rose has also considerably shot up, and makes me laugh each time. However, I also think that slowly she is beginning to see him as a genuine friend, who isn’t just all about jokes and women, but who has a kind and loyal side. 

“That’s cheerful,” I said, “You ever think about motivational speaking?”

 “You just littered!” I yelled.  

“Above the rules, Rose,” he called back. “Above the rules.”

“I already have a nickname for you, but I’ll get in trouble if I say it in class.”  

“Ah,” he said happily. “That’s the Rose I know.” 

“My cigarettes and I are going outside. At least they show me respect.”

“Rose is in red  

But never in blue 

Sharp as a thorn 

Fights like one too.”

“Oh my God,” he said, “A kind word from Rose Hathaway. I can die a happy man.” 

“What are you saying? That I’m normally an ungrateful bitch?”

“Two thank-yous in as many days. I don’t suppose I’ll get to see any, uh, special gratitude?” 

I scoffed. “Nope. You’ll just have to imagine it.”He gave me a half-hug and released me. “Fair enough. But I have a good imagination.”

 “If you touch me,” I said pleasantly, “I’ll provide you with the opportunity to see if you can heal yourself. Then we’d see how badass you really are.”

And of course, Rose having been assigned to Christian turns into a lot of bickering between the two of them, which is just absolutely hilarious. I can also see the relationship between the two of them grow in this book. They have finally accepted each other in Lissa’s lives and are slowly working their way towards a true friendship (which, I think they have already begun). Nevertheless, the continued snark is just something I live for in these books.

 “Plus, I was about to spend six weeks with Christian Ozera. He was sarcastic, difficult, and made jokes about everything. Actually he was a lot like me. It was going to be a long six weeks.”

“You and me are going to have so much fun, Rose. Picking out curtains, doing each other’s hair, telling ghost stories.”

 “Then you’d never see us again, and we’d be very sad.”

Yes,” said Christian. “I’d cry into my pillow every night.”

And another thing that is just chilling in my opinion is Rhonda’s reading. The predictions that she gives to the three of them might not seem that special at the time but yet again, it is an enormous foreshadowing to the next books. After all, the first prediction had already come true. Also, we get to meet Jill for the first time, which was really nice, since whoever has finished the series knows just how big of a role she’ll play later on.


Other Favorite Quotes: 

“I was testing dorm security,” I said, “It sucks.”

“If I’d been assigned to Jesse, he would have needed an extra person to protect him. From me.”

“I’d do a lot of things to protect you, Roza.”

“Me? I have great shoes, am currently massaging a pretty girl, and sleep in an awesome bed.” 

I made a face. “Let’s not talk about where you sleep, okay?”

“What’s up?” I asked. 

“You tell me,” he said. “You were the one about ready to start making out with Adrian. 

It was an experiment,” I said. “It was part of my therapy. 

What the hell kind of therapy are you in?” 

“No,” murmured Dimitri. “Watch. Change is happening before your eyes. People are going to remember this day as a turning point.”

“We just need to get you calmed down, or you’ll be in no shape to fight.” 

“Yeah? Are you afraid of my possibly insane dark side coming out?” 

“No I’m afraid of your normal Rose Hathaway side coming out, the one that isn’t afraid to jump in without thinking when she believes something is right.” 

I gave him a dry look. “Is there a difference?” 

“Yes. The second one scares me.”

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