First Lines: I don’t like cages. I don’t even like going to zoos. The first time I went to one, I almost had a claustrophobic attack looking at those poor animals. I couldn’t imagine any creature living that way.
Lookee here, we’re on the last one! Oh my gosh, so I had to start this one immediately after finishing the fifth one because, well, when you’re bingeing on something, why would you pause before the final one? You’re committed at that point.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*
If there’s one thing Rose is known for, it’s playing by her own rules. She doesn’t care that it’s against the rules to remove her best friend from a bad situation or crush on her older instructor or even yell profanity at the Moroi Queen. Rose does what she does because she’s got a good reason, and the rules aren’t going to stand in her way. But all that rule–and sometimes law–breaking has finally caught up to Rose. Too bad she didn’t commit the crime they’re accusing her of. Accused of killing the Queen, Rose is going to need all the help she can get to prove her innocence. The only person who can actually save Rose is her best friend, Lissa, should she become the new Queen. But time it running out for Rose. The realm of the dead let Rose go once, but they won’t again. When your life is all about saving others, who will save you?
Can I just say that this book is kind of brilliant? First of all, having read the Bloodlines series, this book does a nice job of setting things up for that series. There’s the reintroduction of Sydney Sage in all of her Alchemist glory, the introduction to the feisty Angeline, and the remarkable downward spiral of Adrian. It all builds so well to what I remember of the beginning of Bloodlines.
Again, this book shows so much character growth. And obviously, Rose in particular has a lot of growing to do. She’s facing a lot of problems this time that she’s can’t fight with her fists and problems that she needs to let someone else handle for her. (She really doesn’t like that part.) And Dimitri has a huge transformation in this one, though perhaps not as big as the one he had in the last book.
Here’s where things get a bit tricky for me, though: Lissa’s character. Lissa does go through a lot of growth as well, but I literally do not care about her one iota in this book. I attribute this to two things: 1) I’m too invested in Rose’s side of the story so every minute with Lissa feels like it’s taking away from that and 2) Lissa is slowly turning into a politician. Yes, I know it has to happen, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
But Sydney, on the other hand, makes up for a lot of what I feel about Lissa. This is the point where I truly started liking Sydney enough to be invested in a new series all about her.
Rose’s trademark snark is ever present here, which is truly a gift. I love her humor. But Rose also has some really great wise moments in this book as well, and that’s great as well. I love seeing that. But, in honor of crazy Rose, here’s one of her funnier quotes from this book:
“Dimitri was at a total loss. It was a common reaction for people when I agreed to do something reasonable.”
I should probably stop talking about characters now, shouldn’t I? The plot for this one is tricky and I love it. There are many twists and turns that you never quite expect (unless you’ve read this series before, of course). But those twists are gorgeously done because you never really expect them to turn out the way they do. Surprises around every chapter.
There are so many heartbreaking/breath taking/sweet scenes in this book. I forgot how much love comes out of this book, and I’ve mentally flagged a few of the best scenes to return to when I’m feeling low. That was a definite perk of rereading.