We've made it to the end of the Vampire Academy series, where Rose is stuck in a jail cell feeling claustrophobic while thinking about how she is going to get out and find out who framed her and she uses her shadow-kissed abilities to keep an eye on Lissa and what is happening around court. However, during the funeral procession for Queen Tatiana, Lissa and co unleash their plan to get Rose out by letting off explosions all over the courtyard. Rose then escapes with Dimitri and they drive for hours to finally reach Sydney (yes, she's back) who gets them into a motel to sit around and wait for Lissa and co to find the real murderer at court.
Rose, being Rose, attempts to escape her rescuers, having not told them about the letter written to her from the Queen about Lissa having a relative, which could then lead to Lissa having a vote. After a lengthy tussle with Dimitri, she concedes and tells him and Sydney about the secret relative. They agree to help find this unknown person and Sydney takes them to an odd place filled with a group of people who call themselves 'The Keepers', who are a group of Moroi, Dhampir and humans living together in very old fashioned ways. Rose is met by Adrian in her dreams, and later Victor Dashkov and his brother, Robert, as well, and the mystery behind the Queen's death continues to grow.
Back at court, Lissa and co are trying to find out who the real killer is with a lot of suspects being brought to their attention. There is also a growing tension between the Moroi and Dhampir people, the argument for Moroi to fight still going on as well as the controversial political decision to make Dhampir's protect Moroi at younger ages. This also pushes the Royal Moroi to have to decide on a new monarch. After a dream with Rose, Adrian, Tasha and Christian all nominate Lissa as a candidate for queen, which starts a third plot line in the last book. Altogether, Rose, Dimitri and Sydney are looking for Lissa's unknown family member, Lissa and co are trying to find out the real killer of Queen Tatiana, and Lissa is running for the title of queen that is impossible for her to get without having another family member to her name.
Back with Rose, her and her cohorts find out that her old teacher and now Strigoi, Sonya Karp, has the information they are looking for. Deciding to meet up with Victor and Robert, they all come together at Sonya's home and, with a spirit-infused silver stake, Robert transforms Sonya back into a Moroi. It is only through perseverance that they finally get the information they need out of Sonya and they are able to find out who Lissa's relative is. At court, Lissa is being tested on all aspects of being a ruler, having to survive out in the wild with only a few items she finds, facing her deepest fears, and also having to answer what seems like an impossible question. Although the other nominees have supporters in their Royal families, Lissa is backed by the other Moroi and Dhampir, who believe her to be the answer to all their problems.
With an elusive murderer roaming about, the royal court at its tipping point, and an unknown relative that could play a vital role in the future of Moroi and Dhampir's, Rose and Lissa are pushed to their limits. On top of all of this, there is still the sexual tension building between Rose and Dimitri. This final instalment wraps up Rose and Lissa's journey and proves that persistence leads to success, even if it seems like the whole world is against it.
What I thought
I don't know what I expected when I started reading this book, and I can definitely say that I'm left with mixed feelings. Altogether, I think this story is a good one. It starts off with action, which enticed me, and the plot twists that filled the rest of the text kept me wanting more. A lot of what happens at the end is predictable but this isn't a bad thing since it follows the same trend as many other YA novels/series, where everything sorts itself out and everyone is happy. I'll say I am impressed that not everyone was left feeling happy, and I think that shows that even when problems are solved there are still people who can be negatively affected.
There are many times in the story where Rose irks me, and this is through the fact that she has somehow lost the maturity she had gained in later books. When she runs away from her rescuers rather than telling them straight up what she knew and then her 'fighting' against her feelings towards Dimitri even though it is very obvious that she will never get over him really shows her inability to make a good decision. Then (SPOILERS) her audacity to cheat on Adrian because she can only choose Dimitri (and by the way, the timing of the sex made me laugh again, can Dimitri and Rose please choose a normal time rather than going for it after intense moments where people die or are severly injured?) and then not telling him in a dream he visits her in afterwards even though he sees that her aura is glowing. Then, after finding out she has cheated on him, she tells him that he needs to stop playing the victim. I really liked Rose for her bad-ass attitude and her ability to think independently on her two feet but this just left me feeling sour towards her.
Rose's character development was probably the only negative I had in the story, which is a big negative because she is the narrator and protagonist. I really enjoyed Lissa and her maturity, and I really liked the whole idea that she was supported by all the lower-class Moroi and Dhampirs. I also found the political games and loopholes very interesting, particularly since it was Victor that came up with the idea of nominating Lissa to run for queen since it would give everyone else more time to find the killer and the unknown relative. It is very predictable how it will all end but it's enjoyable nonetheless.
I'm happy that Sonya was turned back into a Moroi, which was somewhat foreshadowed throughout the whole series, but her sudden weak attitude made me feel a bit disappointed in her character. The plot twist at the end, where we find out the Queen Tatiana's killer, was definitely not who I expected. However, I didn't really try to guess who the killer was since all the clues and conclusions were very flimsy. The announcement shocked me but also confused me, and the explanation on how Rose determined the killer didn't really aid my confusion. However, I accepted it and I found myself more impressed by the reactions towards the accusation rather than the accusation itself.
All in all, I think it was a good ending to the series. Yes, I was disappointed in some areas but I'm happy that I completed it. I think the story wraps up nicely on most characters, but there are other people that I want to know more about, like the Ivashkov family when Adrian is left heartbroken (and if we know anything about Spirit-users at this point, he might not last for very long). Overall, I'm happy with the last instalment, I just think that Rose's character could have performed better.
Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.