Title: Blood Promise
Author: Richelle Mead
Publication Year: 2009
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library
From the cover:
The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them . . . including Dimitri.
He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa — the one she has sworn to protect no matter what — and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?
After the events of the first half of the series, Blood Promise really takes on a different feel to it. For one, most of the book takes place off campus, away from school. Rose goes looking for Dimitri all through Siberia, trying to find him to kill him instead of letting him live on as a Strigoi. While that’s happening, things at St. Vlad’s go on without her, and her only contact with anyone is being able to slip into Lissa’s mind and Adrian occasionally slipping into her dreams.
There’s a good chunk of the book where Rose has found Dimitri’s family and is staying with them, unsure about whether she can truly go after Dimitri and kill him. She knows that’s what he would want, but isn’t sure whether she should go on to do this. At first, I really liked this section: it was nice to get to know more about his backstory and the people he loves, as well as getting to see what it’s “really” like in a dhampire community. But it kind of got old for me a little before she finally headed out. It was almost like Mead had finally disproven all of the bad things she’d set up as a “blood whore” rumours throughout the series, only to turn around and show that really, that’s how it is, after all. I don’t know. It was hard to reconcile the two sides of things, and I was glad that she didn’t end up staying there.
The next lengthy section, where Dimitri has her captive, was difficult to read. On the one hand, it seemed completely realistic that Rose would hesitate when seeing Dimitri as a Strigoi for the first time, and he could take her captive. But, if he was really changed so much, as is suggested by the end, why does he keep her alive that long? It doesn’t completely make sense. It was still an interesting twist, though, so I suppose that mission was accomplished.
Ultimately, I really liked Blood Promise. It went beyond the kind of everything-weirdly-revolves-around-an-American-boarding-school thing and into a more realistic concept of their lives continuing to exist outside of backwoods Montana, which was nice. Plus it introduced some new and important characters, which I really rather enjoyed. As a turning point to the series, it works, and by the time I was finished, I was really looking forward to continuing.