“Last Sacrifice” by Richelle Mead

This is the last in the Vampire Academy series. I don’t usually review full series but I have been low on books so you guys get reviews for EVERYTHING I read. And I read a lot.

I have slowed down lately because of my meds, but I’m still trying to read as much as possible. Reviews have been slow and far apart, my other reviewers do have their own lives and we are still in the middle of a pandemic (we have entered our …3rd? 4th? lock-down. So …it’s not improving around here). Myself and Lilith are disabled (we also both have our own small businesses), Asteria works for a hospital, and Apollo is an Assistant Manager. As I said, I’m doing the best I can so everyone sticking around and still supporting us means a lot! Eventually we will get back to normal …I hope.

Will I talk about the icky grooming in this review? You bet your ass I will!

This review is OBVIOUSLY going to be filled with spoilers because it is the last in the series, but I promise to not ruin any real surprises.

We are still following Rose and her adventures, and this time, she is accused of killing the Moroi Queen. We all know she didn’t do it, but for some reason there is a lot of damning evidence against her. Locked up and separated from everyone, she sits and tries to figure out how she got there. Up until there is a huge explosion and Dimitri (ex-strigoi thanks to Lissa) comes and breaks her out.

The majority of the book is about Rose and her rag-tag group trying to find a mysterious half-sibling of Lissa’s to help her win a seat on the council (each royal family needs more than one member to be seated on the council, and as far as anyone else knows, Lissa is the last surviving Dragomir). Also, as a way to get more time for Lissa and HER group to find out who framed Rose, they nominate Lissa for Queen. Since Rose can slip into Lissa’s mind, we get to see Lissa’s view as she goes through the trials to be Queen, and what everyone is doing to figure out who framed Rose. It does make it interesting that you get to see the full story, instead of just what Rose and Dimitri are doing and just hearing that Lissa is doing something.

Let’s discuss the love triangle! I read online that there was a “Team Dimitri” versus “Team Adrian” thing going on and all I could think of was “Team possibly-Grooming” versus “Team definitely-Grooming”. They’re both much older men, and Adrian pursued Rose like crazy and created a dating contract and everything. It all felt very icky to me. Normally love triangles just make me roll my eyes, but ones this toxic and gross concern me. It shouldn’t be taught that a man in his 20’s pursuing a 15 – 16 year old girl is okay. Or making the excuse “She’s 18 now!” is also okay. Even Rose’s mother and father treated it like “ho’ hum, silly teens!” Like, no. This is not okay. They were both men of power (Dimitri her TEACHER, and Adrian a Royal Moroi) using that power to seduce an under-aged teen.

If it wasn’t for that, this would have been a better book. When Mead had Rose dating boys her own age, I enjoyed the book more. But then she inevitably brought her back to Dimitri. Dimitri is hot, there is no ifs ands, or buts about it. He’s the strong silent type who can be dark and seductive. There is also the allure of taboo. He’s an older man, they SHOULDN’T be doing that but neither can resist because they are madly in love. I get it. Teens have hormones and this is as close as they can legally get to buying porn. I was a teen once too.

I enjoy the hunting parts, and the mystery, and the lives of the vampires. The world Mead created is interesting and I like this take on Vampires. The “Half-Vampire” thing never works for me because typical vampires are undead. Can’t have babies, but in Mead’s lore the half-vampires (known as Dhampirs) WORK – she explains exactly how it works and since Moroi are alive, she has made vampirism a species, not a disease. So I give her massive credit for that.

Rose is annoying as hell; she’s egotistical, shallow, childish, and rash. But I still like her. Lissa is her complete opposite so it does make for an interesting dynamic. And reminds me of myself and Apollo – we have been friends for 19 years and we still get asked how the hell the two of us are friends because we are complete opposites. So that dynamic DOES happen.

All in all, I enjoyed the series. If it wasn’t icky grooming I’d like it more, but for what it is, I do like it. I think the grooming brings up a talking point, and a way to identify it – because grooming never feels like grooming and society teaches people that attention from older men is a good thing.

If you like the Vampires-in-High-School trend, this is definitely one of the better and more interesting. Read it for Rose and Lissa and the interesting Lore Mead creates. If you want to be on a Team, go for it. This is truly just MY OPINION.

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