From the day I first opened the pages of Vampire Academy, I fell in love with the world, the mythology, the characters, the romance, the whole story. The lives of Rose and Lissa live are just brilliant, and Rose's narration is always so real, I feel like I know her. Loving this series like I do, I knew I would love reading Shadow Kiss, but I was not prepared for what was to come. It's beautiful, it's heart breaking, it's one incredible emotional rollercoaster, and I closed the book feeling drained, but in the best way possible.
The magical element of this book is just brilliant. When everything is all worked out, you see how it flows right from the last book, Frostbite, but as the story goes on, you're never exactly sure what's going on with Rose, and are genuinely worried for her sanity. She's behaving erratically, and gets very, very angry at relatively small things. And then she starts seeing ghosts. And the first is not just any ghost, it's Mason. Rose is seriously freaked out by the things that are happening to her, and has no clue what to think. Richelle's ability to plot is incredible, though, and all these little things are pulled together right at the end, and it's just brilliant.
The characters are just as great as always; Lissa is the same compassionate, soft and sweet Lissa we've come to love. Christian, Lissa's boyfriend, we get to know even better when Rose is assigned as his guardian for her field experience, and he is just the coolest despite his snarky nature, though he is very insecure. Adrian, the rich Moroi royal they all met on the ski trip in Frostbite who can also use Spirit like Lissa, is still very flirty with Rose, but, though I grudgingly admit it, lovely undearneath it all. Eddie, Mason's best friend, is assigned to Lissa for the field experience, and he is just adorable; he's strong, he's dedicated, and he's been seriously affected by Mason's death and what happened to him in Frostbite.
Then there's Dimitri; he's just as amazing, as gorgeous, as lovely, as completely swoon worthy as ever, and, my god, I came so close to tears at some points when he and Rose were having some serious chats. He is just amazing, and as messed up as Rose is right now, he is the only thing that calms her. Their relationship, or non-relationship so far, progresses in this novel, and it's unbearably sweet. How any girl could fail to have one of those heart-lifting moments, where you have one of those exaggerated sighs, but feel jealous that fictitious characters get all the good guys. The emotions run high throughout.
Then the action kicks in, and it's serious. It's a battle unlike anything we've seen previously in the Vampire Academy series, and it's huge, and like in any battle, things don't end all rainbows and butterflies. There are consequences, serious consequences, and you won't see them coming. I had some inklings as to what would happen, but in the end, I was taken by surprise at the actual outcome. I was absolutely devastated, and there were tears. A whole lot of them. I actually had to leave the room as there was a danger that I would disrupt everyone else from watching the TV with my sobs. It's so, so sad, but absolutely brilliant, and the ending has me itching to pick up the next book.
This is probably the best in the series so far, it was just phenomenal! I can't even begin to tell you how much you need to read this book, or this whole series if you've yet to read. Just fantastic! And I'm so glad I already have a copy of Blood Promise to start as soon as I've finished typing. Brilliant book, I can't recommend it enough!