Upon Further Review is an original feature here at Somewhere Only We Know. I have always loved re-reading my favorite books, and I wanted a way to incorporate re-reading into my blog. Thus From the Ashes and Upon Further Review were born. From the Ashes is where I re-read a book that I have never reviewed before and finally review it. Upon Further Review is where I re-read a book that I've already reviewed and see if my original rating stands or not. This is also the time for me to discuss any new revelations that my latest re-read has brought to my attention.
As you guys know, I've been re-reading the Vampire Academy series. Check out my From the Ashes reviews of: Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, and my Upon Further Review of: Spirit Bound. Last Sacrifice also gets an Upon Further Review post instead of From the Ashes because I actually semi-reviewed it before. I can barely stand to look at my old posts much less call them reviews. As with Spirit Bound here's my attempt to make up for that.
Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, # 6)
By: Richelle Mead
Published: December 7th 2010 by Razorbill
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Urban Fantasy
Source: Own in multiple formats
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Goodreads description--They come first.
My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won't give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri's face join Lissa's. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.
The dead could finally have me.
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 guardians 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 whole life is about saving others, who will save you?
Join Rose, Dimitri, Adrian, and Lissa in Last Sacrifice, the epic, unforgettable finale to Richelle Mead's international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series.
I read Last Sacrifice the first time immediately after its release in December 2010. Along with Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice was one of the first books I ever did a post about. Seriously, that post is so embarrassing I didn’t even want to link to it. I didn’t know anything about writing a book review at that point.
I’m not really sure how I feel about the Goodreads description above. In some ways I feel like it gives too much away and yet it’s deceptive at the same time. I’ve been discussing how Richelle Mead is a foreshadowing magician, right? Well it all culminates in Last Sacrifice. Everything that’s been set up and alluded to has come out. But does she stop there? Absolutely not. She goes on to foreshadow and set up her Bloodlines series with Last Sacrifice. I love it.
I only took 3 pages of notes this reading of Last Sacrifice because my 6 pages of notes from Spirit Bound was so overwhelming I had a hard time even using them to write my review. Too much information is just as hard to muddle through as not enough. Either way, just the fact that these books are worthy of note-taking—and they are!—is enough to make them top rated books for me. So let’s dive in. Again….spoilers for Spirit Bound (book 5) and all previous books.
At the end of Spirit Bound, Rose and Adrian have just had a very sensual night together. Having not gone all the way, Rose does let Adrian drink from her which is totally taboo. The evidence is on her neck the next morning when she sneaks out to get breakfast. She stumbles upon Dimitri who acts like he wants nothing to do with her at first. They begin talking about the new dhampir age decree, and then the guardians swoop in and try to arrest Rose. Dimitri fiercely protects Rose from them in a way that can only come from someone who has the history that they have together. Rose is eventually arrested for the murder of Queen Tatitana because she talks Dimitri into backing down. And that’s essentially where we pick up with Last Sacrifice. Rose is still in holding for this crime.
Abe, Rose’s father, has taken on the task of defending her. He’s sworn to her that she won’t be convicted or executed for this crime, but time appears to be running out. I know I’ve been talking about him since he first showed up in Blood Promise, but I just love Abe. He’s snarky, sarcastic, a flirt, a mobster/gangster, dresses like a pimp, and his faith in his daughter is nothing short of endearing. Even though Rose and Abe haven’t had a very long relationship, it doesn’t take years for them to click and to depend upon each other. Rose could easily have that “I didn’t have a dad” victim mentality, but as she discusses at the end of the book, she’s never had a victim mentality at all—and it’s one of the reasons why I love her character so dearly.
Lissa is the strongest in Last Sacrifice that we’ve ever seen her throughout the whole series. She started the series as a character that I struggled connecting to, but has come out on the other side being a character that I can respect. She isn’t going to let Rose go down for this crime she didn’t commit, and instead of letting Rose take care of everything like she normally does, Lissa steps up and takes charge to take care of Rose this time. She executes her plan with poise and grace, even when bumps in the road come. As I said, I’ve come to respect her a lot. Now there is some pieces of her behavior at the very end of the book that had me furrowing my brow in slight confusion but nothing too bad. Also, as I’ve said in every single review of this series, the bond between Lissa and Rose is the perfect way for Richelle Mead to have dual narration without actually having dual narration. So smart.
The biggest thing for me with Last Sacrifice is Rose and Dimitri’s relationship contrasted with Rose and Adrian’s relationship. I’m going to try to be as vague as possible here, but proceed with caution. I don’t condone Rose’s treatment of Adrian. She doesn’t always take him seriously. She uses him even when she’s not fully aware that she’s doing it. Sometimes Rose almost treats Adrian with scorn. This should not be the way you think about the person you’re with—your other half. Rose never intended to be forever with Adrian. She tells his mother as much in Spirit Bound. She cares about him, sure, but she sums it up by saying “I should have said we strengthen each other. He makes me want to be a better person. We understand each other. I didn’t motivate him,” and “We have fun together.” While my heart aches for Adrian, I love how utterly raw he is with Rose about how he’s feeling. He tells her some harsh things in a harsh way, but they’re things she needs to hear. And the same goes for her. While she’s in a position that can’t really defend her actions and he might not want to hear the truth, she is completely right about their relationship.
Obviously in contrast, Rose and Dimitri do better each other. They make a great team. Dimitri is willing to fight for Rose, for her life, even if that means forfeiting any life of his own to go on the run with her. He comes alive with her after having been dead. After feeling the extreme guilt over his actions as a Strigoi. Rose is the only one who knows how bad Dimitri really was as a Strigoi. She’s the only person he can share those feelings with because she’s the only one who saw him at his lowest. When Dimitri kind of goes off the deep end and kills Donovan in a messed up attempt to atone for his Strigoi days, Rose is the only one who can bring him out of it by showing him that he can’t possibly have any Strigoi left in him because he’s able to see the beauty in her—in the world. Seeing how beautiful a second opportunity at life after being Strigoi really is, Dimitri can’t help but want to live his life to the fullest. That includes being with Rose—what he ultimately wants and is scared he’s lost forever. He wants her to be happy, even if that means she’s with Adrian—or someone else. And Rose…well look at every single thing she’s done since Shadow Kiss. Every move she’s made has either been in service to Dimitri and her love for him or in service to Lissa and her love for her. Rose has matched Dimitri moment for moment, sacrifice for sacrifice. Rose and Dimitri match. They fit.
Of course, not everything in Last Sacrifice revolves around the Rose/Dimitri/Adrian love triangle. Lissa, as we found out at the end of Spirit Bound, has a sibling and the sibling must be brought to court so that Lissa can have her family backing and vote on the counsel. Rose, Dimitri, and Sydney are out and about searching for Lissa’s long lost sibling while Lissa, Christian, Adrian, Eddie, and Abe are back at court investigating Tatiana’s murder in order to prove Rose innocent. Politics still infest the Moroi at court as elections begin for a new monarch. And Spirit continues to play a vital role in both sides as spirit dreams, Strigoi healings, aura watching, compulsion, telekinesis, and charming various silver objects abound.
“Of course not. Why do anything without a reason?” – Abe pg 16
“Ah, my daughter," he said. "Eighteen, and already you’ve been accused of murder, aided felons, and acquired a death count higher than most guardians will ever see." He paused. "I couldn’t be prouder.” – Abe pg 64
“You’ve always been my equal, Roza.” – Dimitri pg 72
“Impossible situations are our specialty...” – Rose pg 94
“I don’t need luck, Roza. I’ll always find you.” – Dimitri pg 117
“I've seen you too. Ozera. Crispen, right?” ... “So what brings you and Christopher here?” ... “But you just got here! I was hoping we could get to know each other." It went without saying what he went by that. "Oh. And Kreskin too.”– Blake Lazar pgs 316, 317, & 321-322
“Fighting is easy. It’s why we fight that matters.” (I don't remember who said it and therefore wasn't able to find it searching through the book. If anyone knows, please let me know in the comments, and I'll update this.)
“...it was better to be alone with my self-respect than to be in the wrong relationship.” – Rose pg 486 - amen Rose, amen!
“Ah, Belikov," said Abe, shaking Dimitri's hand. "I'd been hoping we'd run into each other. I'd really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetera. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. That's what we should do sometime. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could make a day of it. I've certainly got a lot of questions I'd like to ask you. A lot of things I'd like to tell you too.” – Abe pg 589
Last Sacrifice is an excellent series ender. Everything wraps up nicely but in a way where it doesn’t feel forced or overly predictable. As a matter of fact, the true killer for Tatiana’s murder was a pretty good surprise the first time reading it. Richelle Mead pulls in pieces from even the very first book and references them again in Last Sacrifice which I love. The characters continue to grow and change, and I love them even more in this book than I did in the beginning. Last Sacrifice is witty as Richelle Mead tends to throw in those one-liners here and there for the right characters at just the right moments. It’s passionate and yet methodical. I love it. Last Sacrifice easily gets 5 Stars from me for an overall 5 Stars for the series. Have you read Last Sacrifice? What did you think? Let me know!