‘Spirit Bound’ is the fifth book in Richelle Mead’s ‘Vampire Academy’ series. As Rose Hathaway has grown so has the series. In ‘Spirit Bound’ she finally graduates to being a fully-fledged dhampir and both her vampire father and her dhampir mother are so proud, yet the world she has graduated into is much different from the one of their youth. Considered one of the top dhampir even before graduating Rose finds that being famous for her fighting skills is a mixed blessing.
Like many such books of the young adult genre, it is best to star with the first one, which was ‘Vampire Academy’ before reading the last installment. The great thing about Mead’s books is that all of them are worth reading beyond just bridging one storyline to another. Further, beyond just the whole fantasy world of vampires (Moroi and Strigoi – two variety of vampires that are at odds with one another…notice that their spelling is capitalized which I think is Mead’s way of giving significance that they are both races of vampires while the dhampirs are not and thus less) and half vampires (dhampirs who have super human strength yet aren’t weakened by the sun) there is a society in flux where major changes have to happen least a culture of people completely vanish. It is Mead’s examinations of societal change, leadership, and exploitation that makes this series better than its nearest competition the ‘House of Night’ franchise written by mother daughter team, P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast.
In the last book ‘Blood Promise’ Rose had searched Siberia to find her lost lover Dimitri and fulfill her promise of killing him if he ever became a Strigoi (blood thirsty bad vampire). She finds him all right, which I won’t spoil the tale for you, but suffice to write not everything went down as planned. When she fails in her original mission she finds hope in a story of a Moroi who is able to change a Strigoi back into their original form (be that form Moroi, Strigoi, dhampir, or human). Ergo Rose being a can do sort of gal not only has the will but forges fourth to find a workable way. The mere fact that this way may involve court intrigue as well as breaking someone out of prison isn’t a deterrent to Rose or those she has helping her.
I would recommend ‘Spirit Bound’ along with the whole series. I don’t think it is a book that can necessarily hold up by itself if you haven’t read the others because part of the fun is having the background knowledge of what happened previously. I think that the whole series is such that it can be read by the pool or in the fall as the leaves turn. BTW, the next installment comes out in December of 2010 called ‘Last Sacrifice’. Apparently it ends the stories about Rose, but series will branch out with other characters. Gosh, I hope things turn out well for her.