Richelle Mead has set some pretty high expectations as this series has unfolded, and she definitely delivers with the sixth and final novel, Last Sacrifice.
(This post will double as a review for both Last Sacrifice and the fifth book in the series, Spirit Bound. As with past reviews of this series, this post won’t provide spoilers to anyone who’s read the first four books, but it will for those who haven’t…)
First up, a quick look at Spirit Bound, which picks up after Rose’s violent Russian adventure.
A lot happens in this book, with the myriad of plot threads starting to draw together, setting up for some major action in the final book – on a number of fronts. There’s further development in Mead’s detailed mythology, as well as some serious progression in the story of arcs of key characters.
The main plot here is Rose’s continued fight to save Dimitri, even though she’s now with Adrian. She comes up with a crazy plan that also involves Lissa, Eddie and her nemesis, Victor Dashkov. But even when Rose’s plan comes to fruition, the result is not quite what she expects.
Meanwhile, there are major rumblings at the Moroi Court, with paranoid royals wanting to drop the guardian age of service to 15. Spirit Bound ends with a classic cliffhanger, with the Queen murdered and Rose arrested on suspicion of being the killer.
It’s a testament to Mead’s ability to write likable characters and build realistic storylines that she can create a believable love triangle. Yes, even I – the great hater of love triangles – thought this one worked. To the point that (at the end of this book, at least) I would have accepted either choice by Rose.
That changes through the course of Last Sacrifice…
This novel is as much Dimitri’s story as it is Rose’s. He helps break Rose out of prison, and goes on the run with her – at first because Lissa asks him to, and then because he recognises he has a chance for redemption (and seriously, who doesn’t love a good redemption story?).
Looking back across all six books, there’s been real character growth for just about every key character, which is one of the things that sets this series apart from others in the YA paranormal genre.
Rose’s relationships with Dimitri and Adrian are complex, and not everything gets tied up with a neat bow. Which works out quite well, given Mead has a new series coming out later this year featuring some of those characters whose issues are yet to be resolved.
All the big questions set up in the series are answered, but there are plenty of others – involving peripheral characters and issues – that give scope for many more stories in this world Mead has created.