Friday, May 21, 2010

A Paranormal Book Review: Richelle Mead's Spirit Bound

Wow. Richelle’s Mead’s Book 5 in The Vampire Academy series, Spirit Bound, was quite a read. Where do I start? First and foremost, there will be spoilers in this review. So, readers beware.

In Book 4, Blood Promise, Rose has returned from a horrendous and unspeakable journey to Siberia. Having failed her mission to kill Dimitri and release his soul, she’s learns of a possible way to save him. It’s a long shot, but one she feels she must take. It involves freeing one of her and Lissa’s enemies from prison, Victor Dashkov. Victor’s brother, Robert (another spirit user) is the only rumored spirit user that supposedly knows how to bring back Stigoi from the dead. And with that, Rose sets off on her last effort to save Dimitri.

In Book 5, now that Rose is back, preparing for finals, Dimitri embarks on his own mission, to kill Rose. He torments Rose by sending her sadistic love notes, promising she’ll die at his hand only. Those letters were brief but impactful and I couldn’t get enough of them. Spirit Bound starts with one of those letters, just as Rose’s final exams are about to begin. She passes her finals with flying colors, of course, all the while scheming on ways to get Victor out of prison.

After graduation, Rose head’s to Court with Lissa, where they both then set off to break Victor out of jail. With Dimitri hot on her tail, I was surprised Rose ventured outside Court’s walls so haphazardly, bringing along innocent friends in the process. Nevertheless, that was part of the allure of the story. Rose had a mission and she relentlessly focused on it at all times. Not surprising, the prison break was a success as was the meeting with Robert. Everything was moving along swimmingly until Dimitri showed up. Did they rekindle of their romance at this reunion? Hell no, but they did exchange a few heartwrenching comments, followed by a gripping fight. To describe the scene in one word; awesome.

Rose makes countless mistakes in her plight to save Dimitri. After reading the previous Book, Blood Promise, I expected Rose to be more mature from her Siberia experiences. Having faced death so many times, I really thought she’d be more responsible with her decision making. For me, it was like her character lost its wisdom – the kind that comes with death and despair - and she reverted back to being a young teenager again instead of a maturing into a vibrant 18 year old. That aspect of the book was disappointing. She continued down a destructive path, making fatal errors in her judgment and putting people’s lives at risk. Alas, it was all in the name of love, so I’ll concede to Mead’s motives.

By the middle of Spirit Bound, Rose and Lissa do the inconceivable and free Dimitri’s soul. Yes, I said it; he’s back from the dead. Unfortunately, he’s got far too much emotional baggage from his stint as a Strigoi, and so he rejects Rose. It was terribly excruciating to read. Rose was stuck in the middle of an emotional tragedy; one of her own making. Dimitri didn’t want anything to do with her and it was just sad. What’s even worse is how Rose treats Adrian. I adore Adrian and at times found myself begging for Rose to give him a chance but she doesn’t. Rose’s heart belongs to Dimitri and he does nothing but rips it to shreds, over and over again.

I was completely engrossed in this book up until about page 300. Once I realized, Dimitri’s brooding nature and unwillingness to rekindle a romance with Rose, I felt dejected – just like Rose. All her efforts were futile. In between the tumultuous love triangle of Rose, Dimitri and Adrian, there was an interesting twist beginning with Rose’s outburst against Tatiana’s new law allowing young dhampirs to graduate at 16. This had most Moroi and Dhampirs in an uproar. And by the end of the book, Rose, with her flippant mouth and poor judgment, managed to completely alienate herself from pretty much everybody. With nowhere to turn, she receives some intel about Lissa’s Dad and begins to delve into some mysterious bank deposits. And that’s when the unthinkable happens.

I won’t say anymore other than what I’ve spoiled thus far. I may not have approved of Rose’s behavior, but I still reveled in this book.  I promise it was a spellbinding read. If you love The Vampire Academy series, you’ll love this addition too.

On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Spirit Bound a 4.

Until next time…read, read, read this series.

Mina B.

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