Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), Richelle Mead

Title: Last Sacrifice
Author: Richelle Mead (author website)
Release Date: December 7th 2010 by Penguin
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star5 star

Does the name 'Last Sacrifice' scare you? Good. Be afraid. What an emotional rollercoaster. The Vampire Academy series draws to a close in Last Sacrifice, and its stunning conclusion has left me exhilarated, exhausted, heartbroken, overjoyed, satisfied and strangely bereft.

From Goodreads:
Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir Princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardian to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose - for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back… and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your life is about saving others, who will save you?

SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the previous two books in the series.

Oh Boy. Where to Start? Where Else:

Rose and Dimitri have crept into my heart, taken roots, and grown to become my favourite YA couple. The Vampire Academy series—delicious distractions aside (here’s looking at you, Ivashkov)—is clearly Rose and Dimka’s story, but it’s been one hell of a tough journey. We’ve all been waiting a long time for this book (well, in my case, a week), and we finally get to see the two work together again. Vampire Academy is at its best when the two are a team, and it’s wonderful to see them like this... but it’s not easy. Baggage doesn’t even come close to describing the load these two are carrying, and that burden increases as the book progresses.

Its spoken about a lot in this book, but Rose and Dimitri share a profound synchronicity. They are—quite literally—made for each other. The two resonate perfectly with each other, in pitch-perfect harmony, and, though it’s not easy for them, we finally get to see the two confront their recent history and the obstacles facing them. That being said, we’re talking about Richelle Mead. Don’t expect this to go smoothly... Hell, just abandon all expectations. And take it from Dimitri: Never drop your guard when Rose is around.

Rose:

Boy has Rose grown. In the past I’ve commented on my admiration of Rose; her independence, spirit, bravery, determination and loyalty, and this has only grown. Rose still isn’t perfect—far from it—but she has grown into an extraordinary young woman. She is, without a doubt, my favourite YA heroine. Geez is Vampire Academy taking out a lot of favourites.

Lissa:

Wow oh wow. If we’re going to talking about character growth, we need to discuss Lissa. As key to this series as Rose or Dimitri, Lissa started out as fragile, unstable, and, well, weak. In Last Sacrifice, she’s unrecognisable. Confident, clever, calm and collected, Lissa has grown to carry herself with a regal grace befitting her status. It is she who masterminds Rose’s jailbreak, and the story has come full circle with Lissa now defending Rose.

Lissa finds herself deeply enmeshed in the politics so central to the Vampire Academy series, and through this intrigue... she shines.

Dimka:

Dimitri has a LOT to deal with in Last Sacrifice. He hasn’t forgiven himself for the terrible crimes he committed as Strigoi, and it’s heartbreaking watching him do so. But bit by bit we see the return of our favourite Zen Master, Baddass God. FINALLY. However—though this is the first time I’ve had an actual complaint in the entire series (other than: “I want more Dimitri! Now now now! FIX IT MS. MEAD! NOW!”)—I actually did have a complaint with Last Sacrifice (one in a whole series ain’t bad, though, right?).

After being returned to life by Lissa’s magic, Dimitri’s come to regard her with worshipful adoration... and it just grated with me. I get extreme gratitude, but it royally pissed me off that he could be so committed and adoring towards Lissa, yet treat Rose so coldly, regardless of the guilt or turmoil he was suffering. I expected this to be dealt with in Last Sacrifice, and while the topic is broached, it isn’t resolved. It’s even openly highlighted that his loyalties are torn, but not resolved in a way I found remotely satisfying. I don’t know why this was such a big deal for me, but I couldn’t get past it.

Happy Ending? Pfft:

There was never going to be a happy ending for some of our favourite characters. In Last Sacrifice, hearts are broken, lives destroyed and futures left uncertain. I don’t know that I really expected any differently. Last Sacrifice ends on an intensely bittersweet note. Yes, we get a happily ever after—for now—but there’ll never be smooth sailing where Rose and her friends are concerned.

I still really want to see the "They come first" Dhampir mantra addressed, as I do the indocrination and—let's face it—brainwashing of Dhampir children. Whether either race can see it, the Moroi treat Dhampir's as a subserveant slave-race. It's one of the most disturbing and intriguing aspects of the series. Regardless of what they've been taught, Dhampir's don't need Moroi. It's entirely the other way round—Dhampirs could go off and live with humans, and not raise an eyebrow. Additionally, the issue of Spirit-induced madness still stands. Eventually, Lissa and Adrian will face this, and, as far as we know yet, there are no solutions. It seems clear this will be a key point in the Bloodlines series.

It’s part of Richelle Mead’s mad genius that she can end a book on the note she does, and do it so well. The conclusion is satisfying, but she has clearly left open ends with deliberate intent. If I didn’t know Bloodlines was on the way, I’d still be happy, but there is a whole series worth of loose-ends lying around.

The Verdict:

Last Sacrifice was never going to be an easy ride. It isn’t. It’s thrilling, emotionally-intense as ever and action packed—perhaps the most action-oriented installment so far. Richelle Mead has created an extraordinarily vivid world, populated it with authentic, layered, nuanced characters, and instilled it with an emotional depth that renders it unforgettable. What Mead has accomplished in the Vampire Academy series is something unique and magic, and as the series draws to a close, I’m left feeling deeply satisfied, but bereft, as though I’m closing the page on a very dear friendship. I—as I’m sure all fans will—am eagerly anticipating the follow-up Bloodlines series.

Books in This Series:

  1. Vampire Academy
  2. Frostbite
  3. Shadow Kiss
  4. Blood Promise
  5. Spirit Bound
  6. Last Sacrifice

31 comments:

  1. Great review! A friend and I call Rose and Dimitri "Badass Squared". Glad you enjoyed the series!

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  2. Beautiful review Sarah!! I loved this book <3 <3 Althought, the end left me a bit unsetisfied. I mean, we were waiting for Dimitri and Rose for 6 books to finally come together and I think Richelle ought to gave us 50 more pages. It ended so quickly :/

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  3. I can't read this in full because I got books 4-6 and I'm reading it this week! But I've only heard good things about this series and what you said about Rose and Dimitri is making me even more excited!!!

    Talk Supe

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  4. MOTHER OF GOD!! I LOOOOOVVVEEEDDD THIS BOOK! Although my heart just breaks for Adrian :( *sniff*

    I LOVE this series so much...

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  5. ERRRR, I hate not being able to read these reviews. I bought the series and it's on its way. I hate waiting!!!!

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  6. :) really love your review Sarah! I personally disliked how open-ended Last Sacrifice was but I have to admit how much i love your view of the book! Your so lucky you only had to wait a week! I hope you enjoy the Bloodline series! Adrian is amazing in it! :)

    You related how perfect Rose and Dimitri are together perfectly!

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  7. I DID NOT LIKE THE ENDING BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENED TO ADRIAN! Ik it's for the spin off but ugh. Haha sorry to bypass your fantastic review for this. I wish I loved this series as much as everyone, I've been meaning to make a post to sort out my feelings. Even though I wasn't in love, I'm really glad this resonated with you so much. :)

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  8. Oh yes! Sarah, amazing review!
    Like everybody else, I adore Rose and Dimka as a couple (PERFECTION), but I also really loved watching the friendship between Rose and Lissa deepen and strengthen as their characters learned and grew, and - as you pointed out, as Lissa became more confident and strong and calm. I think that by the end, it had become one of the best literary friendships out there.

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  9. You said so many things I've wanted to say about this series in this review. I'm still super annoyed at some aspects (ie. the Dimitri worshiping Lissa thing) but like you I thought Mead managed to end the series well whilst leaving some questions for her spinoff series. I better stop my comment now before I start thinking of things about Dimitri which annoyed me even though I love him to death.

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  10. Oh my god. So my memory was a little vague on Dimitri/Lissa and couldn't exactly remember if they were bonded in some way, so I googled before I made a comment so I could be all high and mighty, "Dimitri shares a CONNECTION with Lissa. He's not actively CHOOSING to worship here, there's just this freaky pull thing." but instead of an answer I came across this weird Dimitri/Abe fanfiction where they're both bonded and Abe unwillingly slipped into Dimitri's head while he had sex with ROSE. *DISTURBED* And then Dimitri was proposing to Rose with glow-in-the-dark letters on the roof of the bedroom because 'she sleeps on her back' obviously, so she'll see them.

    ......................... That was painful.

    MOVING ON to something much, much, much more sane and more amazingly well written: I don't even know what to say, your review is perfection and makes me feel the same gamut of emotions as I did when Rose's journey came to a close for me. SO with you on Rose being your favourite YA heroine. I LOVE how she's shown such obvious growth through the series, but like you said, she's still not perfect. And that's what makes her fantastic. AND YESSSSSS Rose and Dimka! EXACTLY what you said, they were MADE FOR EACH OTHER. One of the best pairings I've had the joy of reading <3

    AHHHHH. Sarah! I'm going to miss your incredible reviews of this series :(

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  11. Awesome review, Sarah! I absolutely LOVE this series! So looking forward to reading The Golden Lily! It's going to be awesome! :D

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  12. Another fantastic VA review, Saz! Rose and Dimitri are definitely my fave YA couple and I like that their story was told through this series :)

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  13. This was my favorite of the series it was so intense and packed with everything! I found all the characters really grew and Lissa especially I agree! She went through a huge change from book 1! So glad you enjoyed this series!

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  14. Ooo, I'm so glad you love this series, Sarah! One of my all time favorite YA series. This particular one was my least favorite (I thought the Rose-Dimitri thing could have been handled much better, especially since it seemed so out of character for her to behave that way), but it was still a great book. Look forward to seeing what you think of BLOODLINES...

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  15. "delicious distractions aside (here’s looking at you, Ivashkov)—is clearly Rose and Dimka’s story, but it’s been one hell of a tough journey."

    Oh, YES!! Adrian is just beautiful boy....poor Adrian...and yes so clearly Rose and Dimitri's story. Oh wasn't it a tough ride for us readers..hehe!! After reading this series I went on to Richelle's adult series, Dark Swan and Georgina Kincaid as I loved Richelle's writing so much. I have yet to read last in Dark Swan - Shadow Heir....I think I am actually hiding from my librarian..she may be chasing me ...overdue:(

    Awww...wonderful review...I can see from reading ALL your reviews of this series how much you connected with the characters and how deeply you felt. I think it is very hard not to, they are written so well. I always had a hole in my heart for Adrian at the end of this series..just felt sad for him. I hope The Golden Lily helps Adrian out..he needs a HEA.

    I do wonder if maybe Richelle might crossover some parts from VA that may give some answers to couple things not fully satisfying to the reader??

    It was a bit odd that Lissa adoration Dimitri had...but that was something that made the reader really question and possibly feel a bit tense about as it may have had us thinking he was not going to get back with Rose??? All I know is a felt a whole lotta emotions in this series.....I must reread again one day when I have absolutely nothing to read...bahahahhaaaaa!!

    Michelle

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    1. AAAAAADRIAAAANNNN.
      Ah, seriously? Confession: I totally misjudged the series before I read it... it blew me away. I wound up LOVING it.

      Ooooh, and I SO want to read her other series... I've seen amazing things about Georgina Kinkaid and whatnot :D

      AND THANK YOU. YES. THAT DIMITRI THING *STABS* >:(

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  16. dude, *shakes head* *kicks self* why why why havent I read this series yet? and to think youre already on 6th book makes me want to go bungee jumping without a shock cord. hahaha... I need to read the first book of this series, ive heard so many great things about it and your gorgeous review didnt help my desperation(lol in a good way hun). :))) I am hoping to read the first soon. xoxo

    Ƹ̴Ӂ̴ƷFICBOOKREVIEWSƸ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ

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  17. I have been wondering about the vampire academy series, thank you!

    Andrea

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  18. LOL poor Sarah... you had to wait a whole week? :P I remember DYING for the last few books in this series when they were being released. Richelle Mead sure knows how to make those cliffhangers count.

    YEAH LISSA. I mean, sure, we always knew Rose was TOTALLY AWESOME but Lissa? Thaaaaat came as kind of a surprise for me. I loved how she carried herself in this book - definitely befitting of a queen :)

    Oh... Bloodlines. *hides* Let's not talk about that. I can't believe that I STILL haven't read it, especially after the fact that I so adamantly bought it at release time. Now The Golden Lily is almost here and I STILL haven't cracked open my copy! Maybe you should read it and then your review (as they tend to do) will MAKE me want to read it? :D Good plan! So basically it's all on you, Sarah.

    OUTSTANDING review as usual! <3

    Sonia

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    1. YESSSSS! But by waiting a full week, I mean from the time I read Frostbite to the time it took me to get to LS :P

      Hehehe, I haven't read Bloodlines, either. For one, I'm saving it, for two, I'm terrified of RM's cliffhangers :P

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  19. YAYYYYYYY! I loved this book and VA is one of my absolute favourites of all YA series so I'm glad you got to finish this series! Great review as always, Sarah!

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    1. Aaah! Thanks Erin! Seriously, can't believe I waited so long to read them >___<

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  20. Wasn't Lissa just amazing by the end of the series? And not just her...so many of them! The character growth is one of my favourite things about these books. Awesome review, Sarah! I'm so glad to hear you loved it. :)

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    1. YESSSSS! KADKAJGKDAKGA! YES YES YES. This is it: I'm Team Lissa ^__^

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  21. First: I'm WHOLEHEARTEDLY TEAM ADRIAN! I don't care what is said, but he will always be #1 in heart and Bloodlines solidified that for me, and The Golden Lily is sure to break my heart! But even I have to admit that your love for Dimka is so contagious LOL -- and it works so much better this way because then we don't have to timeshare for the boys! You get Dimitri, and I get Adrian. See? Peace. Easiness. Awesomeness. :') <3

    Second: What an absolutely beautiful and perfect review! If I hadn't already read and loved this series, your reviews would always convince me! <3 No, this wasn't the perfect HEA, but that's what Bloodlines is for, right? :') ILY Sarah, and I will be here to harass your review of Bloodlines once it's up! ;)

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  22. This one is one of my fav books of all times! oh! and the make-out session between Dimitri and Rose was SO yummy!!
    Im so freaking happy you loved this sries my dear! This one has the most special spot in my heart *cough* Dimka *cought* lol!
    Now you really have to read Bloodlines. It wasnt as amzing as VA but still pretty awesome and... Miss Mead does fix the DImka request you did ask hohohohohohoho!!!! Bot in a massive way but still. I hope you'll love it once you read it <3 <3

    take care! thnx for stooping by sweetheart <3 <3

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  23. i still have to read this series. what the frak is wrong with me?

    skimmed your review (didnt want spoilers) but you can tell how much you love it ;)

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  24. Wonderful review! It seems i desperately need to read this series if everybody else has lol

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  25. Love the review. Last Sacrifice was this perfect whirlwind that I never wanted to end. I am a huge Adrian fan though even I have to admit Dimitri is perfect for Rose.

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  26. Okay, can't read this review because I have yet to get to these books. I am so behind it's not even funny. :(

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