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So sad to end Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy YA series, but it had to be done. The six Vampire Academy books span the course of a single year. We follow Rose and her best friend Lissa through their final year at the academy and into the next stage of their lives. SEMI-SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BOOK 5

Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Last Sacrifice

For Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir, ‘next stage’ once meant joining forces with the other Dhampirs as a guardian for the Moroi, specifically her best friend. Moroi are constantly in danger of Strigoi attacks, and years of cultural and political changes have insisted that Moroi not use their elemental powers to defend themselves. The last in her royal line, Lissa planned to go to college, and perhaps she’ll still go, but with her best friend in prison for murder about to face a trial that could end in swift execution, she has other things on her mind.

The two friends are separated for most of the book, but their story lines run perfectly parallel. Since they have a one-way bond in which Rose (our narrator) can see, think and feel what Lissa does no matter how far apart they are, we’re able to experience both plots unfold simultaneously. While her friends try to clear her name of murder, Rose is back on the road, and she’s not alone. She’s with Dimitri, who once loved her, but now has her on talking embargo, and Sydney, the alchemist we meet in book 5. The plan was for her to hide out in safety while her friends clear her name, but that wouldn’t make for a very interesting book now would it?

At court, Lissa is persuaded into running for Queen in order to delay elections. And even though Rose is dating Adrien, her old feelings for Dimitri intensify in direct proportion to his proximity, and he’s close. Real close. But Dimitri is still battling his demons from that time when he was an undead vampire who killed tons of people and turned Rose into a blood junkie whore. So when Rose isn’t staking Strigoi, she’s trying to pull Dimitri out of his despair.

I love that these characters we’ve now spent thousands of pages with spend this last story fighting for each other. You’re just going to have to read the book if you want to know who killed the queen, who’s crowned next, and if Rose and Dimitri will ever be together for real.

I like a happy ending when it’s earned, but I LOVE messy endings best of all. We have to keep in mind that with so many moving parts and emotions flying around a few people are bound to get hurt. Rose lives by certain principles, and putting Moroi first is one of them – even in fatal situations.

As the final book in a series I’ve loved since chapter 1, this one had a lot to live up to. I suspect Richelle Mead is on some kind of alien crack that induces speedy writing with superb plots. The entire series came out between 2007-2010, and now she has a spin-off series. I have to confess that I cheated a bit by peaking ahead to see which characters are in Bloodlines. Unless you want to spoil some of Last Sacrifice, don’t read the Bloodlines summary. In fact, I won’t even link to it just to remove some temptation. And do read this one, it’s a goodie.