For once, this review will be chock-full of spoilers. I know it's awful of me and it's actually pretty pointless of me to write this review because of it, but to speak about this book you have to mention the... ambiguity, and to mention the ambiguity is to spoil the book to some extent. If you want a non-spoiler version, check the last paragraph and star rating at the bottom of the page.
Okay, now that's sorted, let's get started. Those of you who follow this blog will probably know just a few things about me: one, I write; two, I review; three, I am very enthusiastic when a new book in a series comes out; and four, I get particulalry crazed when anything VA/Bloodlines-related comes out, whether it's a book or just a three-sentence excerpt. I love the VA/Bloodlines world. I love Rose, I love Dimitri, I love Lissa... to cut a long story short, I never thought I'd say a single bad word about Richelle Mead.
Today? Today, I'm going to say multiple bad things about Richelle Mead -- and, specifically, this book.
I enjoyed this book, I did. But not as much as the others in the series. Perhaps it was the barrage of Sydrian moments that made my head explode... but I don't imagine so. Those bits were brilliant and sweet, and seeing Adrian talk to his dead aunt was shocking and upsetting, and all the problems he faced would have made me cry if I wasn't in public at the time. In fact, that was possibly one of the good things about the books. Richelle Mead always deals sensitively and personally with mental illness, which I think is great. Adrian and Sydney's relationship was awesome, and you could really see them shine. Mead always portrays love beautifully.
But. But. There is a but. And this is just the smallest one. I didn't like Adrian's perspective. Actually, that's a lie. I loved Adrian's perspective. he's my favourite character and it was wonderful to hear things from his perspective... but it demystified him a lot. And I didn't want him demystified. I liked him the way he was, and while Adrian's pov was needed for the story and was done extremely well (especially since Mead has never used a conventional multiple pov in the VA universe), but I had him on a pretty little pedestal, and this took him off it. I like my pedestals the way they are.
The middle-sized 'but'? I didn't like the ending. It was inevitable. Worse, it was rushed. We all knew Sydney would end up in re-education at some point, but I thought it was going to be exciting and full of danger. In fact, Sydney's capture was less exciting than her escape from the Warriors a book or so ago. The actual re-education centre was scary, but I felt as if it could have waited for the next book. In fact, I think it should have.
And the final problem? Adrian admitting to biting a drunk girl without consent. And Sydney barely even caring.
"It shows how far she's come on the whole 'creatures of darkness' thing!" I hear you cry. Indeed it does. But look at this from a vampire point of view: drinking is often sexual for them. Those VA fans among you will remember that ill-fated Rose-Adrian drinking instead of sex debacle. So Adrian lost control in a sexual way. His saliva doped the girl up when he bit her and so she wouldn't have been able to struggle, even if she'd wanted to and knew what was happening.
It's basically date-rape.
Now, I'm all for redemption, no matter what a person has done, but for Sydney to just be a bit annoyed and scared... and then to realise he was a different person? Without even asking about the girl? Her mentioning how she'd gotten over Adrian's promiscuous past, but wasn't so sure about this? That lowered the severity of what he'd done. It seemed like she didn't understand the importance of it all -- which is ridiculous, since her own sister was raped.
On an added note, Mead repeated her 'I couldn't imagine having sex with someone else at some other point' line that she had Rose doing, and it felt like we were having her views (or at least her views of what her views should be, since her adult books don't seem to agree) forced onto us.
In short, it was still good, but there were problems with pacing, morals, and the dual pov. However, it's still worth reading, so I'm giving it four stars! Hurray?