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THE BOOK -Last Sacrifice
by Richelle Mead
Bk. #6 of Vampire Academy
First published in 2010 by Razorbill
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
EDITION I PURCHASED -Paperback, 588 pages
Published in 2010 by Razorbill
My Rating: 5/5 stars
THE PLOT -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 guardians to come.
Now the law has finalyl 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 want her back... and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?
Richelle Mead has created a piece of YA genius with the Vampire Academy series, and Last Sacrifice definitely was the epic conclusion I was hoping for. Concluding novels should be tense and exciting, fast-paced and, ultimately, satisfying. Last Sacrifice was all of these things and more and I'm definitely a little saddened to see this series end. Nevertheless, this book left me with a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and I can't wait to see what Mead has cooked up for Adrian's story in Bloodlines.
Though the plot mainly focuses on the hunt for the hidden Dragomir that Tatiana mentioned in her note to Rose, this novel is also pretty heavy on the political side of things. Following the murder, the entire court is a flurry of activity, first in preparation for Tatiana's funeral, and then due to the nomination and election of the new monarch. Viewed mostly through Lissa's eyes, I found the goings-on at court to be a worthy break from the search for Lissa's invisible sibling. Mead has always done well at running parallel storylines, but she truly excelled here. There was never a dull moment and I found myself thoroughly captivated by Mead's creativity once more.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: the character development in this series is outstanding. Abe Mazur is a prime example of this. I've refrained from talking about him thus far, despite his introduction in Blood Promise, with one simple reason at hand: I couldn't make up my mind about him. I couldn't decide whether or not I was supposed to like him. On the one hand, he lived up to his nickname of zmey (the serpent) - I mean, the guy is a Moroi mobster. He will do absolutely anything in his power to get what he wants, regardless of who he hurts. Rose has a similar stubborn streak that she clearly inherited from her father, but the difference is that Rose doesn't have the cold, calculating disposition. Nevertheless, Abe really grew on me in this novel. Despite his methods, it's clear that he does care for Rose and would do anything to protect her. In all honesty, I don't think half the things in this novel would have been possible without the help of Abe Mazur.
Sydney made a reappearance in this novel and, thanks to her being indebted to Abe, she played a pretty large role. Despite being terrified of dhampirs and Moroi, I think Rose really helped her on her way to getting over that fear. She's a very brave character, and though she strikes me as being a pretty isolated girl, I can imagine someone possessing the ability to pull her out of her shell. I can't wait to read Bloodlines to see how that happens.
The last character development I really want to discuss is that of a guy we all know and love. The change in Dimitri was even more prominent in this novel and it kind of upset me. Since being restored to his dhampir state, Dimitri is desperate for redemption and is still worshiping the ground Lissa walks on, despite not being around her for the majority of this novel. Seeing this warm, loyal man stripped of his humanity had been terrible enough, but the desperation and dejection that surrounds him now is almost too much to bear. The passionate, fierce Dimitri we once knew is buried deep within him, and despite Rose being the only person with the ability to draw that side of him out again, he won't let her close enough to try. The constant reminder of what he did to her is too much for him and the darkness never really lifts. It's clear when Dimitri faces off with some Strigoi that he has history with that he's trying to kill the darkness inside of him by killing the darkness that haunts the world. Mead put Dimitri through a lot in this series, but I have to say that the way she pulled him through it was astounding. This novel is filled with little revelations and tentative hopes and the way it ends will leave you more than satisfied.
If there's one author that can get away with introducing yet another new society within the world she has created in the last book, it's Richelle Mead. The Keepers are a group of dhampirs, Moroi, and... humans. This society clings to ancient traditions that include mixing with humans beyond the need for feeders, and I welcomed their appearance. Much like the alchemists, Rose had no idea that such societies even existed and was pretty appalled by it all. It was definitely an eye-opener and made for an even deeper understanding of the world Mead has created.
Overall, Last Sacrifice was the perfect end to a near-perfect series. The world-building, the character-development, even the plots themselves were so unique and brilliant that I can see myself enjoying this series for years to come. If you haven't already picked up a copy of Vampire Academy, I highly recommend you do so as soon as possible. The mythology is extraordinary and if you're a fan of YA vampires, this is definitely a series for you.