Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

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The basics

Title: Shadow Kiss

Author:

Series: Vampire Academy #3

- Vampire Academy (August, 2007)
- Frostbite (April, 2008)
- Shadow Kiss (November, 2008)
- Blood Promise (August, 2009)
- Spirit Bound (May, 2010)
- Last Sacrifice (December, 2010)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all... might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose's forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line - and choose between the two people she loves most.

In short

Rose is paired with Christian for her qualification exam, but fails protecting him because she keeps seeing ghosts. They go to the Royal Court to send Victor Dashkov to jail, and Rose sees more ghosts and has to go to a counselor. Meanwhile, Jesse and Ralf (major jerks) form a group with other royal Morois, and end up torturing Lissa because they want her to join. Lissa goes insane when she hurts them instead, but Rose “catches” her madness and nearly kills Jesse. (Oh well.)

Dimitri and Rose are still in loooove and they have sex for the first time. And they decide to come public with their relationship, and everything is wonderful, until the school is attacked by Strigoi, and Dimitri ends up being taken away and turned Strigoi. NOOOOO. Eventually Rose leaves the Academy to hunt him down and kill him, because nobody wants to be Strigoi, right? MAJOR CLIFFHANGER.

What went down

  • The novices are preparing for their official qualification exam, which means six weeks of protecting a Moroi student. But instead of being paired up with Lissa – like she expected – Rose is assigned the guardian of Christian Ozera. (Eddie gets assigned to Lissa.)
  • However, when her first “Strigoi” attack takes place, Rose suddenly sees Mason’s ghost and freezes, causing Christian to “die”. She is punished, but also kind of freaked out about seeing a ghost.
  • Christian is asked by Jesse Zeklos (major ass) to join a secret club, which he declines, but Rose is interested anyway.
  • When multiple Moroi students turn up wounded, she investigates the case and finds out that the club is called “Mana” and meant for Moroi students to get together and talk about how awesome they are.
  • Meanwhile Rose finds out from Dimitri that Victor Dashkov’s trial is soon and that he has a chance of walking free.
  • Adrian (who has been hanging out at the school, practicing Spirit with Lissa) is able to pull some strings and get Rose and Lissa to go and testify.
  • On the flight to the Royal Court, Rose gets a terrible migraine and sees more ghosts. CREEPY.
  • Dimitri and Rose visit Victor in jail, and Victor threatens to expose that they almost slept together. The day of the trial, he DOES expose this, but everyone thinks he’s lying, and he’s sent to prison.
  • Lissa visits the queen, who convinces Lissa to go to college near and live at the Royal Court after she graduates because she has “great potential”. Rose meets with the queen next, but she isn’t as nice to her. In fact, she tells Rose to break off her relationship with Adrian, her nephew, (as if!) because Adrian will marry Lissa eventually (WHAT?).
  • They meet a fortune teller who tells Dimitri he will “lose what he values most”. Oh boy.
  • On the plane ride back, Rose gets the migraine again, and is forced to tell Alberta and Dimitri that she has been seeing ghosts. She is forced to meet a counselor and her guardian time with Christian is limited.
  • Rose finally gets her own fake Strigoi attack, and manages to “take out” three “Strigoi”, one of them being Dimitri. YAY.
  • Lissa is then approached by Ralf and Jesse to be a part of their group, because they assume (know) that she is good at using compulsion, because she’s a Spirit user. Lissa refuses, but she’s then taken into the woods by the group (Mana) and tortured with magic.
  • Rose sees this through the bond and goes to Lissa’s rescue, but she finds Lissa out of control, purposely trying to hurt Jesse as much as she can. This is a side effect of Spirit, actually, but when Rose tries to calm Lissa down, she “catches” the madness, and tries to kill Jesse instead.
  • Dimitri arrives and takes Rose away to a cabin in the woods, where he calms her down. They end up kissing and having sex for the first time. (You should probably read this scene again 😉
  • BUT when they go back to the school, Mason warns them for Strigoi and suddenly, they are attacked by a Strigoi. Rose quickly warns the rest of the guardians, while Dimitri fights them.
  • EPIC BATTLE TIME! While guardians fight Strigoi, Rose goes to find Christian (who is outside, on his own). When she finds him and they are attacked by Strigoi, Rose takes them out with help of Christian, who uses his fire magic. They become this epic battle duo and take down a lot of Strigoi together.
  • When the battle is over, Rose finds out that several Moroi and dhampirs have been taken by the Strigoi, either as a “snack” or to turn Strigoi, and she insists on a rescue mission. (She finds out where they are with Mason’s help.)
  • However, during that mission, more lives are lost and… DIMITRI IS TAKEN DOWN. (Dang it, I’m even sobbing while writing this.)

How did it end?

Rose later learns that Dimitri’s body was never found, and Mason confirms to her that he has been taken and… turned Strigoi. With “you will lose what you value most”, the fortune teller meant Dimitri’s soul. But since Dimitri and Rose promised each other that they would kill each other if one of them would ever turn Strigoi, Rose decides to leave the Academy and hunt him down. (Still sobbing here.)

Before she leaves, she meets Lissa, who then realizes that Rose has been in love with Dimitri all this time. Lissa begs Rose to stay and even uses compulsion on her (UGH), but Rose gets angry with her and tells her that it has ALWAYS been about her, and now she needs to do this. Lissa doesn’t understand and is angry too, but whatever.

(Oh, and she has found out that she is being hunted by ghosts because she is shadow-kissed, and therefore has a connection with death. But this being shadow-kissed also means she keeps taking over the bad part of Lissa’s affinity for Spirit, aka going insane.)

With the help and money of Adrian, Rose is able to get away from the Academy and (after finally saying goodbye to Mason) takes off to Siberia, Dimitri’s home.

anything else

Dhampir: Half human, half vampire, Dhampirs usually train to protect Moroi from Strigoi. Also, Dhampirs can’t survive without Moroi, needing them for generation and everything.

Moroi: Vampires who are alive. Which means they can die and everything. They don’t die immediately in sunlight, but it’s no good for them either, which is why they live at night. Moroi do need blood, but they don’t kill for it. Instead, they have feeders, humans who are willing to feed them. Oh, and a Moroi’s bite is described as something like an orgasm, basically. Oh well. (Also, Moroi are ruled by a queen and have seven royal families.)

Strigoi: Vampires who are dead. Also known as EVIL. Moroi become Strigoi when they a) kill someone on purpose, or b) are fed Strigoi blood. (Correct me if I’m mistaken, but I think that was the second thing.) Strigoi can’t go out in the sunlight, and also, they don’t have magic. They ARE very strong, which is a problem sometimes.

Blood-whore: Dhampir women who, instead of becoming guardians, decide to live in a group and raise their children. The accusing term ‘blood-whore’ is used because some of these women are known to let Moroi bite them while having sex. Which is basically a no-go in Moroi land.

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