Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, Book 6)

Last Sacrifice - Richelle Mead Before I start the review on "Last Sacrifice," I want to make a few comments on the collective Vampire Academy series as a whole. Of the four primarily popular YA vampire/paranormal series that I can think of off the top of my head ("Twilight", "House of Night", "Vampire Diaries" being the other three), I think this is the series that managed to hook and pull me through all the way until the end - and I genuinely enjoyed the ride. I liked and connected with the large cast of characters, found the worldbuilding decent, even found myself engaged the unfolding conflicts as I followed them. I'm really glad that I was able to read this series, and I have to say that Richelle Mead has a good handle on knowing how to craft cliffhangers and keep readers turning the page to see what happens.That said, "Last Sacrifice" wasn't without its share of bumps for the ending novel. For one, this was a longer book than it could've been. In some places, the pacing was fast and fluid. In others, it dragged its feet a bit more than necessary. The overarching stream of events kept me reading, however.The story picks up where the previous book left off, having Rose branded as a murderer in the wake of a high profile court death. Rose has to put the pieces together that were left to her, not only to clear her name, but also help Lissa aspire to power in the eyes of the court - and she isn't alone in either effort. The pursuits don't come without due costs and surprising revelations along the way - some that both intrigued and surprised me. Yet, I'm a little ill at ease just how many plot threads weren't tied by this novel's end, in spite of some of its harrowing moments. (Hello Eddie? Hello Sydney? Then again I think Mead leaves these characters to stew in the spinoff series, but I still feel that the ending didn't really tie off their roles well here.)I'll admit I'm going to miss Rose's narrative - she has a strong voice and has been - for the most part - a good character to follow through this series and one I've rooted for. I'm not sure if I liked every decision she made throughout the series, but she showed some strong moments of stepping up to the plate. I also liked watching the unfolding stories of Lissa, Christian, Eddie, Dimitri, Abe, and the collective cast. In this book, I was a little disappointed at some of her disregard - she did what she had to do in spurts, but while she recognizes the consequences (usually belated) at some of the bombshells she drops, I wonder if her character really learned the consequences from those reveals. Adrian steps out in a big way when he calls her out towards the end of the novel on some of these faults, though I didn't think it was enough considering in the previous novels Rose was becoming more aware of how her actions affected those she cared about. This novel seemed to be a bit of a regression, and I would've liked to see more consistency. The love triangle resolution felt a bit forced/awkward in its hand to me as well, though I appreciated some of the moments for what they were. I think it was a little too obvious as to where it would go with some of the "telling" orientations throughout the work, that could've been pared down to a degree and evened out.Still, I would be remiss if I said I didn't enjoy the ride this novel took me on, and I did like that Rose and Lissa's stories came to a conclusive, satisfying end. I'm looking forward to seeing where the spinoff series takes some of the characters I've come to know and love from VA.Overall score: 3.5/5