I completely get now why everyone loves this series so much. I didn't really have any idea how emotionally involved I had been with this story and these characters until a shocking cliffhanger ending had me re-evaluate everything I thought about this book and the series. Richelle Mead, you have written such a wonderful and addictive series and I am in awe of you!
Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead is the third book in the Vampire Academy series and thus does contain spoilers for the previous two books. As we begin Shadow Kiss, Rose is feeling a little fragile, still reeling from the events of Frostbite. Rose is carrying around so much grief and guilt for Mason's death. So much so, that she believes herself to be seeing Mason's ghost. He's haunting her and Rose thinks she's losing her mind at such a pivotal stage in her dhampir training.
And what's brilliant is how much Dimitri is there for Rose and it really shows how much they care for each other. I really love the relationship between these two in this book. They really grow in terms of their friendship and the closeness between them. And what's a little bit sad and disappointing is that Rose and Lissa do not grow closer. Instead there's so many secrets and lies and cover-ups between them and I hate to see that between two best friends.
And oh all of the action scenes! Very exciting. Rose and the other dhampirs are in the middle of a practical assessment and are teamed up with Moroi to test how well the dhampirs do in protecting their charges against the instructors. It's great fun, but the action of course does not stop there as there are rumours of Strigoi banding together and attacking Moroi. Of course Rose gets involved with life-shattering consequences.
This is such an incredible series, with wonderfully strong, interesting and complicated characters and relationships, edge of my seat action, heart-breaking romance and a cliffhanger that nearly made me collapse from shock and upset. I'm absolutely gasping to read the next book in the series!