After a very long wait, the Shadow Kiss graphic novel is out, along with a bunch of other super cool Vampire Academy books. You can read about them in this week's post and also learn how to get them and what to do if you need autographs. Once again, artist Emma Vieceli and writer Leigh Dragoon have outdone themselves. Believe it or not, I've been as impatient as you to see this graphic novel. Its publication schedule got pushed off so that it would time up nicely with the movie's release, which is smart planning but makes some of us restless! Now that it's here, though, I think it's time we do a thorough examination of...
(Note: the inconsistent picture quality is the result of my crappy scanner, not the book itself, which is perfect)
10. It's Shadow Kiss, yo!
No other book I've written has generated such a big fan response as this one. No other book I've written takes such abuse from fans. Seriously--you wouldn't believe how many copies show up at my signings that have been thrown at walls. Five years after its release, I still get email from people reading it for the first time who are just shocked and emotionally shaken as those who read it when it first came out. This was the game changer in the VA series, and even for me, after over twenty other books, it stands out as one of the most powerful things I've ever written. Why on earth would you NOT want to relive every excruciating moment in beautiful color?
9. Eddie Gets Some Screen Time
Er, well, he gets some page time. This is good news for those Bloodlines fans who've come to adore Eddie and for those who were disappointed that he wasn't cast for the VA movie (psst...go see it to ensure there's a second movie, which he WILL be in). Bloodlines has definitely let us explore a lot of Eddie's character, but SK gives us those early glimpses, where we really get an idea of how hardcore mini-Dimitri is and just how much things with Mason changed his life.
8. Rose and Dimitri Get Applauded for Foreplay
Physical training has been a key part of Rose and Dimitri's relationship since the first book, and those of us reading along certainly know Strigoi aren't always what's actually on their minds. The field experience skirmishes in this book give them plenty of new opportunities to get hot and heavy, and those innocent bystanders have no idea what they're endorsing.
7. Christian Makes Meatloaf
Whenever people get upset about humor in the VA movie, I always think, "Do you not remember that there's a whole scene in Shadow Kiss revolving around a vampire making bacon-wrapped meatloaf?" Honestly, I'm kind of surprised my editor originally let this stay in the book, but I'm so glad it did. This is one of my favorite scenes and has become a fan favorite too. Artist Emma Vieceli drew these panels to perfection, including both Christian's smugness and Rose's expressions reluctantly admitting he really is a good cook.
6. Dimitri Makes Hot Chocolate
The meatloaf scene was a fave of mine from the beginning, so I wasn't surprised readers loved it too. What did surprise me was how excited people got about this scene: Dimitri making hot chocolate with two packets of mix. This was just something I did in passing, but it appears to have generated a whole cult of double hot chocolate fans now, making me feel slightly guilty about having a negative impact on your nutrition. But damn, Dimitri sure looks good doing it.
5. Oh, Adrian
The Frostbite graphic novel gave us our first glimpse of Mr. Ivashkov, but much like Eddie, Adrian really doesn't get to shine until this book. He's in fine Adrian form, very much at his cockiest, full of swagger, charm, and one-liners. It's fascinating for me to go back and relive these early days with him, especially after writing all that's happened to him in Bloodlines. He's gone on one of the biggest journeys of any character, and seeing him like this compared to how he is in The Fiery Heart just knocks me over. He's so much the same...and yet simultaneously so very different.
4. The Cabin Scene!
YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!
3. Rose and Christian Kick Ass
There's a lot of big stuff that goes on in Shadow Kiss, and while most of the attention is on Rose and Dimitri, I can't help but point out how awesome Rose and Christian are in this. They're perfectly platonic, but their chemistry is just as good as the more romantic couples. Their banter hits a high point in this book, and things just go off the chart when they team up to go Strigoi hunting. Emma portrays it beautifully here, and I sincerely hope the movie franchise makes it to this book because Zoey Deutch and Dominic Sherwood nail that chemistry so precisely, it's awe-inspiring.
2. The Ending
Not just any ending. The ending heard round the world. The ending that traumatized people when they thought this was a trilogy and that I was leaving things like this (who would do that to you??). The ending that results in so many abused books. The ending I got so much outraged email about. The ending you love to hate...and love to read again.
1. Blood Promise
Wait, hold on. Why is Blood Promise the last reason you need the Shadow Kiss graphic novel? Well, here's the thing. Last I heard, there are no concrete plans to make a BP graphic novel. It's like your nightmare actually coming true--where the series really DOES end with Shadow Kiss! The first VA graphic novel sold decently, but the Frostbite graphic novel was so-so, which astounds me since I actually think that's a more action-packed book. It didn't get nearly the publicity, though, so maybe people don't even know it's out there. Regardless, if Shadow Kiss doesn't perform better, my publisher doesn't expect to be making a fourth graphic novel. I don't know about you, but I'm chomping at the bit to see Emma draw Sydney, Yeva, Abe(!), and all the others we meet in BP--not to mention Rose traipsing through the Russian countryside and battling you-know-who. So, if you're a graphic novel fan, make sure you grab this one so we can keep the series going! And if you missed Frostbite, I actually made a Top Ten for it when it came out as well that you can check out. All of the graphic novels are available for order through big booksellers like Amazon, B&N, or wherever you buy books. (Note: while superstores like Wal-Mart and Target carry my novels regularly, the graphic novels are harder to find in those all-purpose places. True bookstores may give you better odds of finding or ordering it). You can also get autographed copies from my pals at University Book Store, but be sure to read about deadlines and shipping delays in January.