Last Sacrifice

Ever since I finished book five in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series there has been a pit in my stomach. I knew that there was only one more book left in the series and I’ve had that ‘I really, really, really, need to know what’s going to happen!’ feeling for the last five months. Fortunately, Mead gives us a great conclusion.

(Spoilers ahead!)

When book five ended there was still a lot going on with Rose and Dimitri. Dimitri was still on his pity-pot about the acts he committed as a Strigoi and Rose is accused of murdering the queen. There’s also that bit of news that Rose receives about Lissa not being the only Dragomir still alive.

Last Sacrifice begins with Rose’s friends and family discovering that her murder trial is to be moved up, so they decide to take drastic measures. They know that they can’t win the case so to buy time an interesting plot to break Rose out of the jail is conjured up. She and Dimitri go on the run while Rose’s parents and friends remain at court to dig up what information they can. In a further effort to gain time Lissa ends up nominated to run for the Moroi throne. It is through Rose and Lissa’s bond that we are able to follow what happens back at the court while the other two go on a mission of their own.

While Rose is technically with Adrian there is still a connection between Rose and Dimitri, and even though they both claim to have moved on, during their time together on the run it is obvious that they still want to be with each other. Dimitri has finally started to come back to himself and has rededicated himself to bringing down Strigoi. He’s also fiercely determined to protect Rose.  Rose – who quickly became one of my favorite female protagonists, because let’s face it, she kicks ass – supports Dimitri in his quest of re-self-discovery and determinedly searches for answers about Lissa’s supposed sibling all while dealing with the effects of pulling the negative spirit effects from Lissa.

As the end of the book approached, I was on the edge of my seat. Everything had started to come together and the way things played out certainly twisted my gut. Queen Tatiana’s real murderer was revealed leaving me in a state of shock. Lissa’s sibling is revealed to the public, and more importantly Lissa. During Rose’s search for Lissa’s missing sibling, her old teacher Sonya Karp (who had turned Strigoi by choice to escape her spirit magic) is converted back to Moroi and helps out with the search and of course, finds her happy ending with her past lover, Guardian Mikhail Tanner. Most importantly, for those of us invested, Rose and Dimitri work things out. Finally they are able to be together and can look toward the future (though Adrian is not so happy about that part).

So many things happen during Last Sacrifice, there are twists and turns I hadn’t expected. There’s so much that I can’t fit into this review, you really ought to just read the series for yourselves. This last installment has brought all of the main players throughout the entire series together for a fantastic experience. Out of the whole book – which is just short of 600 pages – I have only one bone to pick. I really, really wanted for Rose and Dimitri to go back to Siberia so that his family could see him and learn that he is alive and well. However, in the grand scheme of things everything played out wonderfully.

Mead has once again succeeded in writing a book where real life problems are confronted head on. Love, friendship, family, facing the unexpected, forgiveness of self and others, self-discovery, and confronting the fact that no one is perfect – these are all things explored by the characters throughout Last Sacrifice. I closed the back cover of the book at about five in the morning with the words ‘holy shit’ playing in my mind over and over. The entire series has been fantastic – I can attest to this since I was hooked by the first fifty pages of book one and ending up reading the first five books in about two and a half days.

All I can say is this, read the books. Coming from someone who doesn’t read much from the Young Adult scene, these books are fantastic. Following the characters as they experience life has been great. There’s a little bit of everything in the Vampire Academy series and my time with the characters has been great indeed.

While I’m sad that the series is over, at least I know I have the books on my shelf to revisit… which I’m sure to do. In a way however, we haven’t seen the last of Vampire Academy. There is a graphic novel version of the first book being released at the end of the summer, 2011. Richelle Mead has also announced a spin-off series with the characters from VA, the first book of which is to be released in August of 2011. There’s also talk of a movie, the rights have been optioned already, but I haven’t decided how I feel about that yet.

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