Book Reviews

Review: “Spirit Bound,” Richelle Mead

July 14, 2013
Review: “Spirit Bound,” Richelle MeadSpirit Boundby Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #5
Published by Razorbill on May, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Pages: 489

Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong…

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won’t rest until Rose joins him… forever.

The fifth installment in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series started out quite nicely, but became quite muddled and boring as soon as the second half commenced. I felt there was too many scattered events packed into one book, spaced out by boring lulls in the plot. Quite simply, Spirit Bound felt all over the place. I’m struggling to differentiate the events of this book with all the others!

I thought the initial focus of this book – the jailbreak concerning Victor Dashkov – was a great plot device. Although originally I was ‘WTF, Richelle Mead, we just went through all the trouble of getting him in there!’ I thought the reason behind busting him out was quite interesting and I was curious to see where this plot thread would lead.

The investigation into Spirit’s uses against curing Strigoi was quite interesting, one that kept me reading anyway. I couldn’t understand how nobody had uncovered this information before (other than Victor), though. With so many people desperate to get their loved ones back once turning Strigoi, surely there would have been some more determination on their part. As this plan evolved, however, I thought it felt a bit ‘too easy’ that Rose was going to get her beloved Dimitri back just like that, when everyone else had failed in the past. But, she’s the main character, so…

I could also tell that things were going to get complicated as soon as someone in Vegas mentioned Lissa’s dad. I must admit, I read a spoiler some time ago when reading the synopsis of the spin-off series, ‘Bloodlines’. I already know about the half-sibling of Lissa’s and who it is… it kind of ruined the suprirse, really, and of course the mystery behind Tatiana’s letter at the end of the book. But, I won’t give away who it is for those who are unspoiled and still yet to read Last Sacrifice.

The second half of the book (once Lissa and Christian were captured by Dimitri) barely held my interest. I kept putting the book down and taking days and days to pick it up again. It all felt too predictable from then on, and Strigoi!Dimitri just grates on my nerves. I knew that he’d be cured by Lissa as soon as he kidnapped her, and I wasn’t looking forward to seeing another easy way out for one of our main characters. It’s safe to say that I’m sick of the back-and-forth between Rose and Dimitri, and how Adrian sits in the middle and takes it. Sure, he speaks up and protests, but he gives in and goes back to her when it’s obvious she loves nobody more than her mentor.

On the romance side of things, I’m glad Lissa and Christian are patching things up. Their relationship in this series is probably the only one that I like and am cheering for.

Things for Lissa are changing, and to be quite honest, I’m more interested in her story than I am in Rose’s. I want to see Lissa on the council (Something that’s obviously going to happen next book) and how she copes with finding out she has a half-sibling. I also want to see more strides made by the Moroi population that actually WANT to fight back and kick some ass with Strigoi, because the story and evolution of the world is just feeling quite stagnant right now.

Finally, I felt that Rose’s trial and how she’s been framed for Tatiana’s murder should have begun in Last Sacrifice. It would have been an awesome cliffhanger for Spirit Bound to end with her arrest and shock at the accusation… but nope! Her hearing and the murder were tacked on to the ending of this book, making it even more muddled and confusing when trying to sum up the main plot of Spirit Bound.

At this point it’s safe to say that I definitely consider Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series nothing more than mediocre. I don’t think I’ll be reading anything else from her in the future as I’ve seen no advancement or improvement in her writing and plot structures. I know she’s already an established author with another series and a new book coming out, so unfortunately that doesn’t give me hope as she’s been doing this before AND after this series so I can’t chalk this up to beginners mistakes.

That being said, I have one more book to go and I will be reading it just to finish off the series. I’m not sure yet whether or not I’ll be reading Bloodlines, because even though I like Sidney and Adrien, I don’t LOVE them, and I’m not sure I can plow through another three Richelle Mead books so soon after six in one hit.

Recommended to: Fans of the series will enjoy.

About Richelle Mead

Originally from Michigan, Richelle Mead now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time. A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

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