Wow. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead was nothing like I expected it to be. After the shocking event that happens at the end of Shadow Promise, I was really unsure where this series would go. And because I couldn't picture it in my head, I didn't feel as excited to read this book straight away. Several Vampire Academy fans assured me that despite the very different feel and structure of the novel (Rose and Lissa apart? no Academy? Dimitri as .. AHH! etc.), Blood Promise is still great and now that I've read it, I wholeheartedly agree.
In fact, I think what this book really needed was a different atmosphere and structure to the novel to prevent this series from becoming formulaic. And I really loved Blood Promise. I loved meeting the new characters, finding out more about different aspects of this world from the alchemists to blood-whores and also more about the abilities of spirit users, learning more of Dimitri's personal history and going on this very personal journey of Rose's as she prepares herself to do something really heart-breaking.
Blood Promise begins after the awful battle against Strigoi at the Academy. When Dimitri is turned Strigoi, Rose decides to follow him to Siberia in order to kill him, as Rose knows that's what he would have wanted. But in order to do so, Rose must drop out of the Academy and leave behind her best friend, Lissa. As she travels through Russia and Siberia, Rose meets several interesting new characters - Sydney, the alchemist and Abe, who has been hired by an unknown entity to follow Rose. I absolutely adored meeting both of these new characters and am intrigued to learn and discover more about them.
And at the same time, through Rose and Lissa's spiritual connection, we're also privy to the events that occurred there, mostly involving a new girl who befriends Lissa. But at the heart of Blood Promise is Rose's journey to find Dimitri. I loved how well Rose is taken in by the Belikov family in Siberia, especially Dimitri's grandmother! There's a lot of shared grief here, as both Dimitri's family and Rose start to come to terms with their loss. I love how Rose begins to see her own journey in a different light in relation to the suffering of others.
But of course, this journey has to lead somewhere. And the showdown between Rose and Dimitri was totally unexpected and intense. I was so surprised and caught off-guard by where Richelle Mead took this story. I love how unpredictable this series is, and I look forward, excitedly, to reading the rest of the series!