Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Ho-Ho-Ho-Hump Day!

Better late than never, I always lovelies have survived another mid-week mark! Tis the season for giving and sharing and my gift to you is this tasty holiday delicacy! Mmmmm, have a piece of eye candy - holiday style. (and stay tuned for our special upcoming Happy Hunky-days treats!!!!)

So for this weeks hump day installment, I have to confess my utter joy with Tuesday's new releases - too many goodies to count (all promptly downloaded into my ereader and taunting me relentlessly while slogging away at work!) You know what they say, you can never be rich enough, thin enough or have enough time to read!

The final installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series brings a high-charge climatic close to her Young Adult series. Last Sacrifice finds young dhampir Guardian Rose Hathaway where she was last left: jailed for the murder of Moroi Queen Tatiana. Long awaited closure must wait on the continued trials and tribulations of Rose and Lissa. Will Rose evade a murder conviction? Will she chose Adrian or Dimitri? Will Lissa be able to overcome the mental instability effects of Spirit? Who will become the next ruler of the Moroi?

Last Sacrifice begins with an impressive jailbreak, deviously planned by Rose's best friends. Sydney the Alchemist, owing Abe a favor, assists Dimitri in their exodus and provides safe havens while the rest of the Moroi/Guardian gang back at Court attempts to clear Rose's name. Travelling from Pennsylvania to scenic West Virginia to Kentucky and Michigan, Rose and her comrades attempt to find the missing Dragomir progeny which will allow Lissa to take her rightful place in the Moroi court and enact those changes necessary to keep her dhampir friends free from abuses the previous ruler was battling and losing. Secrets abound, fears rule, old enemies pop up from nowhere and Rose and Lissa persevere.

Mead excels at weaving intricate plot lines, action and intrigue. Her snappy dialogue rings true to the young Moroi and Guardians and she uses it as punctuation rather than story propulsion. Rose continues to spy on the events of Court even while on the lam with Dimitri and Sydney the Alchemist through her bond with Lissa and this also allows the story to naturally progress without alot of unnecessary repetition/retelling of events.

Having worked through much of the frustration and angst of their former issues as shadow-kissed and spirit user, Rose and Lissa's bond grows stronger. New issues arise when each attempts to withhold information in the name of sparing the other, Lissa orchestrates a jailbreak for Rose, Rose orchestrates a nomination for queen for Lissa. These young adults each stand alone on the precipice of adulthood and discover the strength they derive from their friendships and allies will propel them to the next phase.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect explored in Last Sacrifice, Dimitri appears ready to accept his return from being Strigoi. After he witnesses the return of another Strigoi to their earlier Moroi status, Dimitri realizes he has the ability to live a true life again and fans of the series have wanted desperately for him to reunite with Rose. Rose, for her part, does honestly want to be with Adrian, who is ridiculously in love with his "little dhampir" and visits her sleep whenever possible while she is on the run. Watching the star-crossed lovers fight to find their true path though is heart-breaking and inspiring.

I give this thrilling conclusion five chocolate covered strawberries and plan to go back to re-read this one again while I mourn the end of such a fabulous YA series. Richelle Mead cements her place on my Favorites shelf with Vampire Academy (and those less interested in YA and more in Urban Fantasy should definitely check out her Succubus series because Georgia Kincaid rocks!)
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