Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review: Last Sacrifice

LAST SACRIFICE (Vampire Academy #6)
Richelle Mead
Paranormal Young Adult
594 pages
Available Now

Warning: Contains mild spoilers from previous books and you will be able to deduce who Rose ends up with romantically from this review though no specifics are given.


Rose Hathaway has never been one to take the easy road. Her life as a Dhampir (half human, half vampire) has always been one of service to her best friend and Moroi princess, Lissa, and she's never hesitated in doing anything and everything in her power to keep Lissa from harm. As it turns out, Rose now finds herself in a position where she is the one in harm's way, imprisoned for a crime she didn't commit and facing a swift trial and execution based on the significant evidence stacked against her.

Though the future looks bleak, Rose's friends refuse to let her go down without a fight, and Rose is quickly teamed up with her former mentor and love of her life Dimitri, off on a mission that will both aid Lissa politically and help to clear Rose's name. Though Rose has tried to move on after Dimitri's heartbreaking rejection, their forced proximity sparks a flame that has never quite extinguished despite both of their best efforts to put it out.

Emotional upheaval, long-buried secrets, and political intrigue are dominant factors, and Rose and company are forced to face painful realizations that have far reaching consequences for all involved. Though Rose knows she's innocent, there's a murderer in their midst who would do anything to remain anonymous while Rose takes the fall and Lissa is thrust into the world of politics, but this battle has been a long time coming, and Rose will do anything to keep her friends safe.

This final installment reunites us with characters with whom we have fallen hopelessly in love through prior books, their heartbreak and loss a keening pain we feel every moment during their absence in between novels, and one that refuses to dissipate the entire six month wait until we are together again. Ms. Mead's shining strength is her stunning characterization, creating individuals to whom we are irreversibly bound, our emotional connection to them a live wire pulsing with our shared joy, turmoil, and overwhelming anguish, cementing a relationship that will forever be remembered, cherished, and returned to experience again and again. Because our thoughts and opinions of characters and events are filtered through Rose's observations and musings, we find ourselves slipping easily into her role, the boundary between her fictional existence and our reality blurring to such a degree that for the duration of hundreds of pages, and sometimes long after, the outside world simply ceases to exist as our attachment to Rose and the other characters becomes a permanent link powerfully reinforced with every word, every page, and every chapter we read.

Rose is, and always has been, a remarkable blend of maturity and naivete, possessing an enviable fortitude and surety of purpose combined with a tempestuous nature that often lands her in a variety of difficult situations. To watch as she's progressed from an able, independent, but also very young girl to a resilient, impassioned, and unbelievably dedicated woman has been and absolute privilege. The battle between selfishness and selflessness has been a prominent one, and Rose has struggled with finding a balance between the value of protecting Lissa's life and the desire to live her own. Finally, in this last book we get to see that epic battle come full circle as the events leading up to the finale produce a Rose who exceeds our expectations and our fondest imaginings. A warrior, a leader, and a woman we would be proud to call friend emerges from the chaos to become someone who we saw fleeting glimpses of previously, but now stands before us fully embracing both the flaws and strengths of a woman that has known unfathomable loss and pain, and has not only survived, but excelled, when others would have surely succumbed.

The journey for Rose and Dimitri has been not just a long and winding one, but one so dominated by obstacles it often seemed they would never escape the darkness and get to experience the light. Part of the enjoyment of Last Sacrifice is the return of the Rose and Dimitri we knew so long ago, and though both have been fundamentally changed by their individual battles, we have the pleasure of watching as a flare alights in the blackness, the tiniest of beacons existing to usher them into the future we want most for these two people who mean so much to us. Even more interesting, we get to see a role reversal in their relationship–where Dimitri has always been the calm to Rose's storm and the voice of reason to her youthful zeal, we now find Rose to be the leader, the optimist, and the lifeline holding Dimitri to sanity when the force of his guilt might otherwise consume him. Where previously they were student to teacher, adolescent enthusiasm to learned control, and inexperienced Dhampir to battle-ravaged Guardian, we now find two equals; both whose worlds have been altered seemingly beyond repair but are rebuilding together, partners in a relationship that brings a smile to our faces, butterflies to our stomachs, and tears to our eyes.

Last Sacrifice is a brilliant end to a beautiful series, one that never shies away from pain and isn't afraid to allow misery to temporarily eclipse hope. It is a story that leaves us more satisfied and complete for having experienced the trials of it's characters and more involved than perhaps we ever thought we could be in a piece of fiction. For anyone who loves to be completely connected with those about whom their reading, this series is for you. For those who like it when their emotions are tested, taunted, and tormented, this series is for you. And for anyone who loves when the joy is ultimately worth the suffering, I say this series is for you.

Rating: 4.5/5


  1. Wonderful review! I have not read any of this series but I think I just need to purchase the boxed set. So many people seem to love these books! It sounds like the relationships are well developed, and it has a lot of depth. I will put it on my TBR list - probably for summer so I can read all of them one after another!

  2. Awesome review! So sad that Rose and Dimitri journey is over but I am excited for Bloodlines (Sydney's story). I really hope Rose drops by in the new series. I am going to miss her.

  3. Great review! I feel the same way about this series and am sad to see it come to a close. Rose and Dimitri are one of my favorite literary couples. Do you think you will read the spin-off series? I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

  4. Great review. I will admit and I did put it in my review, I was disappointed with the end. I wanted more for Rose. But I guess it will do.

  5. Gahhh I need to read book 2! I've been trying to hold off because I can't stand when series end. Great review, Jenny, and I'm so glad to hear you loved the final installment! :)

  6. Okay...I skipped the review, because I don't want any spoilers. I'm sure it was an excellent review though :-) I really need to pick up Last Sacrifice. I'm #14 on the list at the library (luckily they have multiple copies). I'm torn btw waiting for a free copy or buying it.

  7. Ok i admit i didn't read the whole review, but now i have more books to add to my want to read pile :)

    Also wanted to let you know I gave you an award, come check it out. No need to participate, just wanted to let you know.


  8. Jen - You definitely should read this series, it's fabulous!

    Nic - I'm sad to see them go as well, but I'm glad we still get the world and maybe we'll see some of Rose and Dimitri as well:)

    Christina - Mine too! I adore them and I will definitely be reading the spinoff, I'm not ready for this world to be over.

    Savy - Thank you:) I think it's hard to end a series and please everyone, but I was happy for Rose and Dimitri.

    Melissa - You do! I think they get better as they go:)

    Alison - Hope you get your copy soon, then we can compare thoughts:)

    Miranda - This series is worth a read for sure! And thank you for the award:)

  9. What a beautifully written review. I have not read any of this series, but I have to say that I hope to correct that this year. As the saying goes better late than never.

  10. Wow. Your review is fantastic. VA is one of my favorite series' and Richelle Mead definitely a top 5 author. The way she writes Rose...I don't even have the words. I was beyond ecstatic to hear she was writing a spin-off series (my boo "the other lover interest" is gonna be in it!!) but heartbroken at the same time because it means Rose's story is finished. If I had never read the series, this review would have me jumping through hoops to get my hands on it. Well done.

  11. I really want to read this series and that is one of my resolutions to read all the series I haven't yet.

    Not sure if you accept awards but wanted to drop this one off to say thank you for all you do.


  12. Jan - Thank you! I think you'd like them based on the reviews I've read of yours, hope you get the chance to give them a try!

    Amber - Thank you so much! It's one of my favorites as well and I can't wait for the spinoff!

    BLHmistress - Thank you very much:)

  13. Darn it! It's reviews like this that make me think I am totally missing something. Maybe it's the covers, but I haven't wanted to read it (well, until you read your review!).

    ARGH! You keep this up and I swear I'll do it! I'll read this series! ;)

  14. Yay! You finally got around to reading it! I'm really glad that you loved it (but not loved it enough to give it its well deserved 5/5 rating- I kid, I kid)...

    Fantabulous review BTW! I should probably work on not being so ranty in my reviews... ;)

  15. Okay, I just sort of skimmed this review because I didn't want to be spoiled as I haven't read this series yet. But I'm very glad to hear that you thought it was a satisfying end to the series. That's always nice to hear when going into a series.

  16. Melissa - I love this series:) I can't deny my attraction to Dimitri, it borders on obsession.

    Avery - Ha! I did love it and am very sad it's the end of the road for Rose and Dimitri, but yay for the spinoff series!

    Aylee - Hope you give these books a try, I love them. And you won't have to wait at all, you can just read straight through:)

  17. I haven't read this series and I actually heard mixed reviews for this last book, but now reading your thoughts makes me want to read it. (So many books, so little time!)

  18. Great review! Very in depth... I need to start this series. Love your blog!

  19. Midnyte - I think there's always mixed reviews for the last book in a series, it's hard to please everyone, but I loved it:)

    Mary - Thank you! Hope you give these books a try!

  20. I love your reviews Jenny! I have no idea why I haven't gotten around to reading Last Sacrifice yet but I swear I will! Just out of curiosity though, why did it lose half a star?

  21. Awesome review! I have just read the first book in the series and can't seem to get around to reading the rest despite liking the 1st book. This year I HAVE to read the rest of the books.

  22. I just stared Last Sacrifice last night and you've made me really eager to hurry up and finish it :o) This really is such a wonderful series and I can't wait to see how it ends! Fantastic review!

  23. Zahida - Thank you:) It lost half a star because I love Rose and Dimitri and get a little bored sometimes when she flips over into Lissa's head. I know it's necessary to keep up with the other characters, but I wouldn't be sad if the whole story was Rose and Dimitri:)

    Misha - Thanks! Hope you get a chance to read the rest of them:)

    Laura - Can't wait to see what you think!

  24. What a fantastic review! This was such a good wrap up to a series--and really did make all the major storylines for Rose were wrapped up. I was sad to see it end but loved the way she wrapped it all together.

  25. great review! I'll def miss Rose and Dimitri having center stage =/

  26. Okay your review was perfection... one word that will stir up all our Dimitri desires... "ROZA"... I think Dimitri is my RUSSIAN CHOCOLATE!... We might need to chat again on twitter, all my repressed VA emotions are starting to resurface!

  27. My god that was a beautiful review! It made me want to pick the book back up and reread it. The part about Dimitri and Rose's relationship is pure perfection!

  28. Eeek! I just finished Last Sacrifice. It was so wonderful. Richelle Mead is one of the best romance writers around. I love how well she conveys passion with the simplest motions.
    I also loved that the very end wasn't perfect. I love that Adrian wasn't okay. I was sad about that, because I love Adrian. But it was more realistic than the rejected lover just being happy for the girl. And Adrian made very good points about the collateral damage Rose left behind.
    Like you said, I love how Rose grew in this book. And how Lissa grew as well. I hope we get to know more about how her and Jill's relationship progresses (or doesn't). Can't wait for Bloodlines!