Sunday, January 16, 2011

Last Sacrifice - Richelle Mead

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules.

She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir Princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardian to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose- for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back… and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your life is about saving others, who will save you? - Goodreads.com

What can I say about this book, except, WOW!  This review might be a tad long.  Bear with me.  This series is rather special to me and there's a short story behind it.  The Twilight series was my first foray into YA/Teen stories.  I liked those so much, I decided to go troll through the YA/Teen section to see if, perhaps, there might be other great series out there I liked just as much.  My first YA book I picked up was The Vampire Academy.  From that moment on, I was enthralled with the series, in love with Richelle Mead, and hooked on YA.  I've been a fan of the series and YA ever since.  This series made me a fan.  This last book in this phenomenal series met all of my expectations and then some.  First, let's talk characters:

Every character in this series is so well-rounded and 3 dimensional you can't help but fall in love with them.  Although Lissa tended to get on my nerves a little in the first couple books, she grew up and became a really strong character.  And that is one of the things I love most about this series and this book.  All of the characters have come through such a wonderful and vivid emotional growth that by the time you reach this final book, you are cheering them on even more and are so proud of the moves they make in their journey.

Rose was my favorite heroine for all 2010 books I read, and the reason is all because of her 3 dimensional, raw, and honest characterization.  She has flaws, she has strengths, she has weaknessses, but that's what you love about her.  So much of the time, you see a strong heroine in a story but that's all she is...strong.  You're not given any of her weaknesses.  You're not always given an opportunity to see them make mistakes, almost like the author wants to keep them out of trouble.  But this girl made mistakes.  She did things that were wrong.  But you love her all the more for it, especially since you can see, throughout the books, how much she grows and changes on her journey.  She earns the ending she receives in this book.

Dimitri.  What can I say?  This is one of the hottest guys in YA fiction.  Not just for his looks and that awesome Russian accent.  (Don't laugh...I can hear it in my head.)  He's also an honorable, tough, amazing character that you adore.  He goes through such hard times but battles it out in his head and heart.  Love him!

Adrian, again with the character growth.  He changes on so many levels throughout the story.  Richelle Mead is awesome at character journey, and it really shows with Adrian.  When I was first introduced to him, I wasn't sure I liked him, but he progresses so much as a character throughout the series that I found myself falling in love with him.  At one time, I had thought I could never see Rose with anyone but Dimitri, but Adrian changed my mind to the point that I would have been happy had she ended up with either of them.  I'm not saying what happens, though! 

All in all, this was my one of my favorite 2010 books.  It was bittersweet to read it, only because I was sad it had to be over.  But it was a fitting, perfect conclusion to an exceptional series.  If you haven't read these books, run, don't walk, to the bookstore and get them.  They are amazing...and Richelle Mead deserves accolades for being a fabulous author.  My highest praise goes to this book.

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