Spirit Bound
by Richelle Mead, fantasy (2010)
Penguin, £6.99, ISBN 978-0-141-33187-4


Spirit Bound sees Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series finally becoming parallel to her Georgina Kincaid series in the sense that after creating some twists and turns in the series, the author reverses those twists and brings her characters back to square one again. For a book that is the fifth and therefore second to last in the series, Spirit Bound going back to square one is not a good thing.

Needless to say, you shouldn't start with this book if you are new to the series. I mean, what's the point, right? It's the fifth book in the series.

Where we last left off, Dimitri is a Strigoi and Rose takes baby steps to move on by dating Adrian. She still wants to save Dimitri, and this is where Spirit Bound turns too stupid for words. I get Rose and friends breaking into a high-security prison to help a villain break out and go free, just so that Rose can discover learn to save Dimitri. Never mind the calamitous selfishness and stupidity of freeing a villain just to save a boyfriend - who's to say that this villain isn't lying - but Rose and her Scooby gang actually breaking into that prison... I don't know whether to laugh or cry because the whole thing is just too ridiculous for words.

Rose occasionally muses about her self-centered obsession at rescuing Dimitri even if it means destroying everything else that she supposedly holds dear, but there is no stopping her here. When she's not being a negative edge version of a Mary Sue bent on getting what she wants regardless of the consequences, she is whining, pouting, and throwing tantrums. I tell you, this is one series where the heroine's character actually regresses with each book. Poor Lissa will probably has to breastfeed the infant Rose in the last page of the last book. Yes, as far as I've concerned, Rose has definitely outlived her welcome. Bring on the spin-off and hopefully Rose-free series, Ms Mead!

Meanwhile, the plot is slow. I have this feeling that the author is just drawing things out to fill up this book since her contract asks for six books in the series. Things only move to high gear late in the story, and even then, the events that happen are quite predictable. [spoiler starts] Dimitri is now back to normal, but he is so dismayed by the sins he had committed while he was cool that he now doesn't want to get back with Rose. So we are back to square one where the Rose and Dimitri romance is concerned. How wonderful. And Rose lets a villain go free just for her anticlimatic reunion with her whiny emo boyfriend. Way to go, sweetheart! [spoiler ends]

I know, the synopsis of this book is scanty and lack details. But that is because this book is a filler book - a slow and plodding story where very little happens for the most part. There are only a few significant developments here that move the story arc in about 480 pages. The rest of the pages are just filler angst-ridden moments of Rose and her friends auditioning for the next TV series by Joss Whedon. Christian and Lissa are pouting at each other, reminding me of how tedious I tend to find adolescent puppy love angst to be, while Adrian and Rose also pout at each other, which is pretty much a waste of time to me as Adrian is clearly not the right person for Rose. Team Dimitri or Team Adrian? Whatever. Spin-off series, please!

Since there is one more book left to go, I may as well stay to the bitter finish. But after reading the bewilderingly stupid Spirit Bound and witnessing Rose mutate into the Bella Sue from hell, I am definitely rooting for the Strigoi to wipe those useless emo Moron, er, Moroi main cast and their dhampir groupies off the face of the existence.

Rating: 52


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