8 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review & Giveaway: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Title: Blood Promise

Author: Richelle Mead

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Publication Date: August 2009
Hardcover: 512 pages

Stand alone or series: Book 4 in the ongoing Vampire Academy series

How did I get this book: Review Copy from Publicist

Why did I read this book: I’m kind of a huge fan of Richelle Mead’s, and the Vampire Academy books are amazing – Twilight fans, you really should be reading about Rose and Dimitri, because this is a series that kicks the scrawny, melodramatic Twilight’s butt. On Thursday of last week, we hosted a stop on a Richelle Mead blog tour, and what better way to follow that up than with a review of Blood Promise?

Summary: (from RichelleMead.com)
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?


***IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS NECESSARY SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST THREE BOOKS IN THE SERIES. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOKS YET, LOOK NO FURTHER! Major spoilers for the first three books ensue, after the break… (And also, if you haven’t read these books yet, for the love of Pete, what are you waiting for!!!!???? Go forth and pick up Vampire Academy. IMMEDIATELY.)***

The last year of Rose Hathaway’s life has been an unimaginable morass of action, filled with danger, responsibility, and emotional highs and lows. After the Strigoi attack on St. Vladimir’s, however, Rose’s life has been irreparably shattered – Dimitri, her friend, mentor, and love of her life has been sentenced to a fate worse than death. He has become Strigoi. Rose is heartbroken but determined, as she and Dimitri have agreed that rather than be sentenced to an eternity as the soulless, murdering existence of the Strigoi, they would rather be staked and killed – and she intends to give Dimitri’s soul the release that he deserves. On the ghostly message from Mason, a good friend who has been killed by Strigoi, that Dimitri has returned to Siberia, Rose drops out of St. Vladimir’s to accomplish her dangerous goal. Not only is Rose truly alone as she tries to find Dimitri, but dropping out of school also means that she’s forsaken her Guardian training, and she’s left her best friend and future charge, Lissa Dragomir, behind – unprotected. While Rose grows ever closer to finding Dimitri, she uses her one-way bond with Lissa to check on her closest friend, and discovers that things are not going so well back in Montana. Lissa’s behavior and emotions are growing ever darker and unstable, but Rose cannot help until she’s finished what she came to Siberia to do – though killing Dimitri may prove harder than she could have imagined.

Oh holy crap, I love this series. Easily my favorite vampire books, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series only keeps getting better with each installment, and Blood Promise is no exception – this is the best book in the series thus far. There is a whole lot of angst and pain in this book, as you can imagine – I definitely was having some Buffy circa season 2 flashbacks, with Dimitri’s 180 from loving, kind boyfriend to murderous monster. The actual plotting of Blood Promise is pretty simplistic. Both plotlines – one involving Rose in her search for Dimitri, the other involving Lissa’s troubles back at school – are well written and the 500 or so pages of this novel fly by, in trademark Richelle Mead style. Also in trademark style, however, is a degree of predictability with the storylines. It’s pretty obvious what’s happening to Lissa (though Lissa, Rose, Adrian, and Christian are thickheadedly ignorant), and it’s also pretty clear by mid-novel exactly which direction Rose and Dimitri’s plotline is headed. Nine times out of ten, predictability is a bad thing in novels, particularly for me as a reader – there’s nothing more infuriating than having a painfully obvious answer that the protagonists are willingly oblivious to. But, for some reason, Richelle Mead’s writing is so addictive, so expertly paced, that the predictability factor is insignificant. I couldn’t separate this book from my hands for a full day, until i had read the entire thing. Some criticisms that the book begins slowly are perhaps warranted as, doubtless, fans are eager to see what happens with Rose and Dimitri nowNowNOW!, but I like that Ms. Mead takes her time easing us back into this world of Dhampirs, Moroi and Strigoi – Rose really has no idea where to find Dimitri, and her adventures looking for him set a nice realistic tone for the book. There’s a lot of emotional buildup so that when these two finally cross paths, the tension is palpable. I loved it.

The best part about Blood Promise, however, lies with Ms. Mead’s characters, with Rose in particular. The physical distance between Lissa and Rose is a good thing here, because it forces the two young women to grow as individuals. Rose can be an abrasive heroine at times because of her glib attitude and her tendency to rush into danger – but she is forced to grow up a lot here in Blood Promise. In many ways, this book is a farewell to Dimitri, as Rose grieves for the love she has lost and comes to terms with what she must do to honor his memory. It’s one thing for Rose to say she will stake Dimitri as she promised she would, but it’s quite another thing to actually do it. Rose undergoes a lot in this book as she struggles with her own traitorous feelings. Blood Promise finally shows how the brash, hotheaded teenager has become a woman, as Rose grows out of her petty, melodramatic problems and faces soul-searching questions. I was incredibly impressed with how much Rose grows up in this book, and can only applaud Ms. Mead for this excellent characterization.

Similarly, Lissa undergoes a change of her own. She’s always struck me as a sweet but self-important character. Not that she’s malicious or lords her Moroi Royal status over Rose – she’s a good person and cares more than anything for her best friend since childhood – but she naturally knows that Rose is here to catch her and protect her no matter what. She’s not willfully snooty, but the idea that Moroi are the most important and atop the vampiric power hierarchy is so ingrained in both Lissa and Rose, her attitude and dependence on Rose is unconscious. But here, in Blood Promise, Lissa finally makes the shocking realization that there is an imbalance in her relationship with Rose, and at least some of that is her own fault. I found myself warming considerably toward Lissa, making the reunion of these two characters all the more sweet.

And, finally, there’s Dimitri himself. I won’t say much because I do not want to spoil – but suffice to say that his transformation is heartbreaking. It would have been so easy for Ms. Mead to have “cheated” with Dimitri – making him a “good” strigoi, or not even a strigoi at all. But she doesn’t do that, and I can only hope that she continues with this realism in the final two books of Rose’s arc. I also want to mention dear Adrian Ivashkov – another Moroi royal, and one who obviously cares very much for Rose. A fellow spirit wielder like Lissa, Adrian has crafted a playboy/scoundrel persona – but we finally get a good close look at him in Blood Promise. And, well, he’s awesome. There are also two notable character additions that merit mention – the first is a mysterious, mobster-like Dhampir named Abe Mazur; the second a human Alchemist named Casey. Both characters are fabulous and welcome additions, and I cannot wait to read more about them.

As much as I loved Blood Promise, I wasn’t crazy about the ending of the book. I’m firmly on Team Adrian now – and I hope Ms. Mead lets Rose let Dimitri go. I don’t want a fairy tale, I don’t want any ridiculous Breaking Dawn-like “Happy” Ending. I want the realism and heartache that Ms. Mead has pumped these books up with thus far (though perhaps this is sales suicide for an author, given that I’m certain there’s a very loud DIMITRI AND ROSE FOREVER contingent out there). Nonetheless, I am excited and wait with bated breath for the next book in the series, Spirit Bound. Dammit, is it May yet?!

Notable Quotes/Parts: From Chapter 1:

I was being followed.

It was kind of ironic, considering the way I’d been following others for the last few weeks. At least it wasn’t a Strigoi. I would have already known. A recent effect of being shadow-kissed was the ability to sense the undead—through bouts of nausea, unfortunately. Still, I appreciated my body’s early warning system and was relieved my stalker tonight wasn’t an insanely fast, insanely vicious vampire. I’d fought enough of those recently and kind of wanted a night off.

I had to guess my follower was a dhampir like me, probably one from the club. Admittedly, this person was moving a little less stealthily than I would have expected of a dhampir. Their footsteps were clearly audible against the pavement of the dark side streets I was traveling on, and once, I’d caught a brief glimpse of a shadowy figure. Still, considering my rash actions tonight, a dhampir was the most likely culprit.

You can read the full excerpt online HERE.

Additional Thoughts: There are a planned eight more books in the Vampire Academy series – two more for Rose’s story, and then six following a different pair of characters. The next title in the series, Spirit Bound, comes out May 18, 2009.

While we wait anxiously for the next chapter in Rose & Dimitri’s story, we’ll be over here, drooling over the gorgeous international covers for the books:

See, gorgeous!

Verdict: I loved Blood Promise, if you couldn’t tell. An absolutely fabulous addition to the Vampire Academy series, and my favorite novel to date (and easily a Notable Read of 2009 for me). I only wish I had the next book. Now. Absofreakinglutely recommended.

Rating: 8 – Awesome (Again, leaning towards a 9)

Reading Next: The Maze Runner by James Dashner


Giveaway Details:

We are giving away ONE copy of Blood Promise to a lucky reader! The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada and will run until Saturday November 14 at 11:59 PM (PST). In order to enter, leave a comment here telling us who your favorite vampire or vampire slayer is (from movies, tv, books, whatever), and why. Good luck!

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  • austenfan
    November 9, 2009 at 5:58 am

    I think I’m also kind of rooting for Team Adrian now. But I love Dimitri still. 🙂

  • Helen M.
    November 9, 2009 at 6:31 am

    I don’t have a personal vampire favorite; I’ve only read the Twilight series. I did like Esme Cullen. However, my students LOVE Edward…I see him as a manipulative boyfriend so just can’t support him.

  • RKCharron
    November 9, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Hi 🙂
    Thank you for the wonderful review & foreign covers.
    One of my favorite movie vampires is George Hamilton from Love At First Bite. I’ll always remember his line when entering a blood bank: “Look! Little plastic bodies!”
    All the best,

  • Carol
    November 9, 2009 at 6:59 am

    My favorite vampire slayer is Buffy (duh) cus she’s so kick-ass and awesome. 🙂

  • Karen
    November 9, 2009 at 7:42 am

    I agree about Dimitri. My heart was broken by his depiction in Blood Promise, but there was no other way to go. It was a smart and bold move to do this to him.

    I was leaning toward Adrian in the previous book and felt strongly that a Rose and Adrian pairing would delight me. I didn’t feel as strongly about it in Blood Promise and I hope that’s only because they spent so much time apart.

    There have been theories about Dimitri’s turn of personality when he held Rose’s ring (am I remembering that incorrectly?) so I have a feeling there will be a reunion between Rose and Dimitri in the end. But maybe Mead will surprise us.

  • Stacy W
    November 9, 2009 at 8:00 am

    My fav vampire currently (and this changes all the time) is Eric from Sookie Stackhous series. I loved him in the book and he is very awesome on screen also! 😀

  • Susan Laura
    November 9, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Favorite Vampire Slayer: Van Helsing That movie sucks me in every time!
    Favorite Vampire: Right now, I would have to say Jane Jameson. (Fun vampire rather than a scary one!)

  • JenP
    November 9, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Buffy, of course!

  • Jonnie H
    November 9, 2009 at 10:31 am

    My favorite slayer is Buffy.

  • Elaine C. (aka Farscapegirl)
    November 9, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Couldn’t read the review – I have Books 1 & 2 but haven’t started them, waiting to get my hands on Book 3 & 4, wanted to have them all so as I finish a book I can immediately pick up the next book.

    My current favorite Vampire is True Blood’s Eric Northman
    (played by the gorgeous Alexander Skarsgård)!

    My favorite vampire slayer of all time is Buffy and her scooby gang 😉

  • Thuy
    November 9, 2009 at 11:32 am

    My favourite vampire would have to be Alisa/Sita from Christopher Pike’s Thirst. She’s so strong, smart and fearless.

  • Rebecca B
    November 9, 2009 at 11:36 am

    My favorite vampire hunter is Elena Deveraux, from Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh. Such a great book.

  • Rosie Carlo
    November 9, 2009 at 11:46 am

    This is a great series. Please keep the books coming!

    My favorite vamp is Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He’s just my all time favorite and it will take a lot to replace him for me. 🙂


  • Crystal
    November 9, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Thanks for the review. I’ve read the first three and looking forward to the latest. My fav vamp is still Lestat.

  • Teresa W.
    November 9, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I loved Stuart Townsend in Queen of the Damned, he was HOT!

  • Michelle M
    November 9, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    oh this one is such an easy question: hands down it has to be Eric Northman. He’s a bad boy, he’s a freaking Viking, and he’s wrapped around Sookie’s little finger. Love, love him!


  • Li
    November 9, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Commenting but not contest-entering…

    It would be *really* interesting and brave to go down the Team Adrian route. I agree with Karen though, there are hints that it wasn’t final.

    In a way, it’s similar to her Succubus series, there are some irrevocable things going on here!

    Oh, and the Abe thing? Completely took me by surprise.

  • Thea
    November 9, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Karen and Li – Yeah, I completely understand what you mean about Rose & Dimitri. I’m not excited that they’re very likely headed down that route. It just feels like…a copout. Predictable. Genre-standard stuff, you know? Adrian would be a brave and different choice, and Richelle Mead does use her characters hard, so…who knows! I’m pulling for Adrian. *ninja*

    And Li – Abe totally caught me off guard too! Loved it. Really loved it.

  • Jessica S.
    November 9, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    The list of favorite vampire can go on and on and on and then some! I love and adore Bones from Jeaniene Frost’s series, Kisten, from Kim Harrison’s Hallow series was awesome too. Cat from Frost’s series was a pretty cool slayer as well. Dawn from Chris Marie Green’s Vampire Babylon series is a pretty KA slayer too.

    As I’ve said, the list can go on and on. This is just a sampling off the top of my mind. :mrgreen:

    Of course I have to add in that I love Rose as a “slayer” type as well. Love Vampire Academy! Can’t wait to read more next year!

  • Diana Peterfreund
    November 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I’m not sure who my favorite vampire is. There are so many from which to choose. I mean, who doesn’t love Lestat? Also, Spike and Drusilla (mostly as a team). Oh, oh! And Kiefer Sutherland in the Lost Boys.

    I love Ian Rufford in the Companion, though he hates being a vampire. (Have you guys read Susan Squires? I think you’d really like her.)

    I find I tend to like in books off-kilter vampires, like the ones in Westerfeld’s Peeps, Feehan’s Carpathian series, and Squires Companion novels.

  • Stacy
    November 9, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I gotta go with Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse books!

  • Andrea
    November 9, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    I have to stay with my favorite female vamp from the fist vamp book I read (after Twilight) Betsy from the MaryJanice Davidson series

  • Morganne W.
    November 9, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Dracula……. mwahaha 😆

  • Tiah
    November 9, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    You know, I was never team Dimitri. I liked him as a character (plus he is hot) but I didn’t like him for Rose. Maybe it was the age thing or that she was his student, I just never really liked them together. It did make me sad what happened to him.

    I like Ms. Mead because she isn’t afraid to make her characters go through some crap. She writes her books the way she wants. By not trying to make all her readers happy she isn’t sacrificing her story. This happens in all her series. While it is heartbreaking to read, it needs to happen. I think it will make the end of the story that much sweeter.

  • Beth
    November 9, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    My introduction to vampires was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I’d have to say Buffy.

  • Linda Henderson
    November 9, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    My favorite vampire would be Ryder from the Caridad Pineiro series The Calling. My favorite slayer would of course be Buffy.

  • alana
    November 10, 2009 at 1:52 am

    IDK. I was kind of disappointed by this book. I found myself way more interested in what was going on with Lissa than I was with Rose to be honest. (I don’t think I would have been bothered by the book so much if the ending wasn’t so unsatisfying for me.)

    I already have this book, but my favorite vampires are Thomas Raith (from The Dresden Files) and Ivy.

  • Sarah
    November 10, 2009 at 4:13 am

    My favorite vampire? Right now its Eric from the Southern Vampire/True Blood books.

    But I also have a soft spot for the vampire in “The Undead is Very Hot Right Now” from the anthology Eternal Kiss, Christian I think was his name? I’m hopeless at names but I think he’s my favorite so far.

  • sabrina
    November 10, 2009 at 6:49 am

    em i kinda wanna see her with adrian !! i love demetri but i also love adrian 😆 😆

  • Adrienne
    November 10, 2009 at 10:59 am

    So I bought the first book on your glowing recommendation (as always) and liked it-so then I bought them all up until the last one. I like it when an author is not afraid to kick her charactures around-no Breaking Dawn endings please or I might vomit 😀
    So count me in for the give away… 😆
    hmm, favorite vampire…has to be Lastat (ducks tomato and lettuce)I know but I read the first book when I was 21-I was young and impressionable… 🙄

  • Wanda
    November 10, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.
    My favourite vampire is Edward from Twilight because he is the nicest vampire I’ve ever read about.

  • Roxy
    November 10, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I don’t know that I have a favorite vampire but there are a few I like:

    Edward… I know, I know
    Lestat (stuart townsend version)
    I also like Selene from the Underworld series. She was pretty kick ass.

    Anyway, just started book two of the VA yesterday and I like them so far. Thought I had book one figured out but the author was able to surprise me, always a plus.

  • Angie
    November 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Thea, you’ve got me convinced I need to dive into this series. So glad it’s holding up well for you. My favorite slayer is Buffy, no contest! And my favorite vamp is Stefan from Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books. Scooby Doo and popcorn. 🙂

  • Carol
    November 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    So I’m not sure that at this point I have a favorite vampire. I can narrow it down by saying that I’m over the self-loathing vampires (edward, bill, etc)
    I do love both Eric, from Sookie Stackhouse, and Bones, from the Night Huntress.

    I loved Dimitri, and am impressed by Mead that she was willing and able to shatter my soul so many times in one book, I thought I was finally past the low point, then the new low came.
    I am for Adrian now because I can’t come up with a way for Dimitri to deserve Rose without hating the answer.

  • I Heart Book Gossip
    November 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this series. However, I didn’t get to read this book yet. My favorite vamp series is the Sookie Stackhouse series. Its filled with sexy excitment and fun.

  • Fellina Grose
    November 10, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    So, I am going to be completely mainstream and say that Edward is my absolute favorite vampire. I love his sensitivity, observations and that he would do absolutely anything for his girl, even subject himself to multiple levels of torture. Ah, dedication. Bones makes me laugh though so I have to put in a mention for him. I wanna see where this is going with Dimitri going to the other side!! Been waiting a bit for this book to come out.

  • Heather Bingham
    November 11, 2009 at 6:31 am

    My favorite Vamp slayer would have to be Hannibal King from the Blade: Trinity movie – prolly cause Ryan Reynolds played that part. I much prefer Jace from the Mortal Instruments movie, but he’s not as a much vampire killer as a demon hunter. I’ve not read this series yet and am really looking forward to it!

  • LiLi R.
    November 11, 2009 at 7:56 am

    I would have to say that my favorite vampire slayer at the moment is Cat from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost; mostly because she just kicks ass–both of them.

  • Anita Yancey
    November 11, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    My favorite vampire is Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Please enter me. Thanks!


  • heatherzilla
    November 11, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    My favorite vampire is Lestat (he was my first) but I do love Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse novels. And I am kind of liking Damon from the Vampire Diaries. I like the bad vamps.
    Favorite slayer — Buffy!

  • Aik
    November 12, 2009 at 9:39 am

    My favorite vamp is gonna be Edward Cullen from the Twilight saga!

  • Beth (BBRB)
    November 12, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Hmm, I’m going to go with Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s got that dark side that makes Buffy too annoying.

    BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

  • CherylS22
    November 13, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    My favorite vampire is Edward Cullen from “Twilight” because basically he’s a nice guy that just happens to be a vampire.

  • Bethie
    November 13, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    My fav vampire is Eric from the Southern Vampire Series.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  • Belinda m
    November 14, 2009 at 7:32 am

    My favorite slayer would have to be buffy

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat – join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/


  • Julie Swaney
    November 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    It is hard to pick between Angel and Spike
    Also I like Buffy
    Julie S.

    jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com

  • scarlet
    November 18, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    ive always kinda liked adrian i also liked dimitri but it made me mad everytime he rejected her 🙁 but yah i also realy like wicked lovely it just draws you in 🙂

  • Bianca
    November 21, 2009 at 7:37 am

    I found this series when I stumbled upon this site a few days ago and I got to say that I love VA more than I ever liked the Twilight saga since it is clearly more interesting. But much as I want to see Rose and Dimitri’s happy ever after (no matter how much that would suck for some readers), I must agree that I also want to see Mead deviate from the Rose and Dimitri pairing since a lot of authors always ends something like this in a good way (you know the no-matter-how-bad-the-guy-is-he’ll-always-turn-out-good-in-the-end-and-end-up-getting-the-girl-then-they-live-happily-ever-after kind of way) and, I also want the “realism and the heartache” that this book has to offer. Would it be too much to ask for some alternate ending for the two’s (Rose abd Dimitri)love story? 😆 Anyway, much as I like Adrian, I think that some other girl would be a better partner for him than Rose could ever be, though, and If the author so decides that she wants to pair Rose and Adrian off together, she’s got to take sometime to build their relationship up because throughout the series, although Rose liked him, the romance between them is totally one-sided for me and I could only view their relationship as platonic.

  • Alexa
    December 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    My favorite vampire slayer is obviously Buffy because she kicks major vampire butt!


  • Celia
    April 13, 2010 at 12:05 am

    I also like better Buffy, well it’s my all-time favourite tv serie even if I only liked it a lot during the second season… and Vampire Academy reminds me a lot of this serie… actually it reminds me a lot of Vampire Knight too.

    I was never a fan of Dimitri, just too annoyingly perfect. That’s must be why I didn’t like this book, too much Dimitri and angst about him (angst I didn’t feel), I really liked better Lissa’s part and wanted so much that Rose let Dimitri go.

  • Anonymous
    October 7, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I absolutely love Vampire Academy and the rest of the books. I can not wait for the next one to come out!

  • Paige
    March 10, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Casey? Don’t you mean Sydney? Btw, I loved these books so so much and I’m glad you enjoyed them too

  • savannah
    October 9, 2014 at 11:01 am

    i think that rose is a great vampire slayer because she is a strong, confident young girl and i think that she can do anything but to not get herself killed in the process…

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