Please be aware this review may contain minor spoilers.
For Rose Hathaway and Lissa Dragomir, it’s time to graduate and be let out into the real world. A real world that has many dangers – Dimitri intent on hunting Rose down and if he can’t turn her, kill her. A Queen that has her own plans for the last royal Dragomir and several people who resent Rose’s influence with Lissa. When a chance to save Dimitri and potentially turn him back into the dhampir he once was is discovered, Rose and Lissa must break more laws than they ever dreamt to free someone who they helped imprison. With friends and family willing to do what they can to help, what they set out to do, could be life changing for dhampir and vampire alike.
Given her experiences in Blood Promise, Rose feels like a much more mature character. That’s not to say she has suddenly become a model student else she wouldn’t be the Rose we know and love. Her wit is still sharper than any knife and she will bend as many rules as she needs to, to protect those she loves. I expect nothing less!
Lissa has grown up quite a lot as well, I think being without Rose for a lot of the last book, even as difficult as it was for her, helped her be aware she isn’t without talent of her own. Of course that goes along with realising how vulnerable she can be, but maybe being aware of that isn’t such a bad thing, losing that naivety only creates more strength in her.
I loved the run up to Rose’s graduation and her final trial. I wanted to cheer as she went, proving to her teachers and peers, just how formidable she has become. I was a little disappointed that not much was made of the vampire side of graduation but I guess since it’s Rose’s story and being a dhampir it made sense.
Now they are out in the real world, at the royal court and no longer students. Lissa is the Dragomir Princess, the last of her royal line which makes her extremely valuable, and Rose has the unfortunate record and reputation of being a troublemaker but with excellent and proven guardian skills. I wanted to protest every time someone wanted to pull the two apart which seemed to happen a lot. Admittedly not all of Rose’s choices have been good ones but no one could doubt her devotion to Lissa.
The action starts as they realise Dimitri is still obsessed with either turning or killing Rose. A chance comment in the last book leads to a real possibility of saving him, but the only way to get the information they need is to do something unthinkable and highly illegal. Break out the man who kidnapped and tortured Lissa in the first book, who they also testified against to put him in prison in the first place.
The pace of the story really picks up as they need to get things moving and in place before Dimitri can catch up with them and take any chance of saving him out of the equation. Rose being torn between Adrian and Dimitri is quite sad as Adrian is a great character and I believe Rose does love him, just in a different way to what she feels for Dimitri. She may be a lot more mature now but she is still an 18 year old dhampir.
Where Lissa really comes into her own is when she defies Rose and learns some combat skills to be able to carry out her plan to save Dimitri. Christian does as well to a certain extent, and their interplay as ex-lovers was funny and heartfelt. I just wanted to tell them to get back together already!
What follows is just simply breathtaking. Lissa’s empathy and determination, Christian’s love for her and both of them prepared to do anything to help Rose. That whole section of the book had me on the edge of my seat and hoping for the best but fearing the worst. Outstanding emotional and heartbreaking writing, and I wish I could say more about it but that would be a major spoiler and I am struggling enough with the minor ones.
Mead has a real talent for putting in a whammy at the end of her books that leaves Rose imprisoned and on trial for High Treason. A crime that the punishment for isn’t imprisonment, it’s execution.
And so the story remains utterly engaging and enthralling as we go into the final book in Rose’s series; Last Sacrifice.