Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
This is book 5 in the Vampire Academy series and I, like so many, have been waiting and waiting. And yesterday, it finally came. Today, I finished it and my only complaint is that I have to wait until December to get the final book in the series. The wait alone may kill me.
If you don’t know anything about the VA series, then let me tell you a little. In the series, two races of vampires are in the world, the Moroi and the Strigoi. The Moroi are alive and magical; the Strigoi are the undead. There is another race of people called Dhampirs, descendants who have vampire qualities but are human, who grow to be Guardians, people who are trained to protect Moroi from the evil Strigoi. This is the story of Rose Hathaway, a dhampir/guardian-in-training, who is best friends with a Moroi princess, Lissa. She is the last of her line and Rose has sworn to protect her. Each book in the series takes us through their time together as Rose and Lissa survive unthinkable circumstances and forbidden romance.
Now, about Spirit Bound….You should stop reading this is if you haven’t read 1-4. It’s gonna be spoiler-y.
I loved this book. In the last one (Blood Promise) Rose searches for the now-Strigoi lover/instructor, Dimitri. In the end, we know that she unsuccessfully stakes him and returns to school. This novel picks up where that one left off but it is the end of their senior year and she is about to take her Guardian test and graduate. Rose has managed to develop a somewhat “normal” exsistance, with a best friend and a boyfriend (none other than royal Moroi, Adrian Ishkov—whom, I think I really like.) Anyway, though things are stable, she still longs for Dimitri and she firmly believes that there is a way to make him alive again. Thus, their quest begins. I won’t ruin anything but I will say that it involves a prison break, a royal court, Vegas, a lot of lies, stakes and Dimitri. And of course, this conversation, which was one of my favorite scenes.
“We heard you freed a Strigoi once. That you were able to convert him–or her–back to their original state.”
Surprise flashed on Victor’s usually composed face. He certainly hadn’t expected this.
“Where did you hear this?” demanded Robert.
“From a couple I met in Russia. Their names are Mark and Oksana.”
“Mark and Oksana…” Again, Robert’s gaze slipped away for a moment. I had a feeling this happened a lot, that he didn’t spend much time in reality. “I didn’t know they were still together.”
“They are. They’re doing really great.” I needed him back in the present. “Is it true? Did you do what they said? Is it possible?”
Robert’s responses were always preceded by a pause. “Her.”
“It was a woman. I freed her.”
“You’re lying.” It was Adrian who spoke, his tone harsh. “….There’s no way to save a Strigoi. When they’re gone, they’re gone. They’re dead. Undead. Forever.”
“That which is dead doesn’t always stay dead…” Robert’s words weren’t directed toward Adrian. They were spoken to me. I shivered.
“How? How did you do it?”
“With a stake. She was killed with a stake, and in doing so, was brought back to life.”
“Okay,” I said. “That is a lie. I’ve killed plenty of Strigoi with stakes, and believe me, they stay dead.”
“Not just any stake.” Robert’s fingers danced along the edge of his glass. “A special stake.”
“A stake charmed with spirit,” said Lissa suddenly….
“It’s really that easy?” I asked at last.
Robert scoffed. “It’s not easy at all.”
“But you just said…you just said we need a spirit-charmed stake. And then I kill a Strigoi with it.” Or well, not kill. The technicalities were irrelevant.
His smile returned. “Not you. You can’t do it.”
“Then who…” I stopped, the rest of my words drying out my lips. “No. No.”
“The shadow-kissed don’t have the gift of life. Only the spirit-blessed,” he explained. “The question is: Who’s capable of doing it? Gentle girl or Drunken Sod?” His eyes flicked between Lissa and Adrian. “My wager would be on Gentle Girl.”
Those words were what snapped me out of my stunned state. In fact, they were what shattered this whole thing, this far-fetched dream of saving Dimitri. (page 164-167)
As much as I love this series, there has been one complaint that I’ve mentioned to everyone who reads them alongside me. I need to address it. The recaps of the last four books. Yes, that seems dumb b/c I know they are important to act as reminders of where the characters have been, but in they seem to stick out a lot in this series. I’ve been evaluating and I think they seem too far out of Rose’s voice. Anyway. I think this book seemed to blend them in the best of any of the others. AND, I will say on the record that this could possibly be my favorite of the series. I’ll let you know for sure in December.
The thing I like about this series are the characters. Mead knows them and presents them well. They are always true to what they were in book 1, always developing with the story, always consistent. Many props to her on that. And, there’s always something else happening that you never expected. I like that in book. Spirit Bound had lots of those moments.
You should go buy it (all of them!) and read it (all of them!) The final book comes Last Sacrifice comes out Dec. 14.
Follow this author on Twitter: @RichelleMead