Title: Thirst No.4: The Shadow of Death
Author: Christopher Pike
Series: Thirst, #4
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Date Published: August 9th, 2011
Alisa is a five-thousand-year-old vampire, stronger and more cunning than her adversaries. But now she’s trapped in the body of a newborn vampire and at the mercy of a terrible thirst. Worst of all, she’s facing enemies whose fierce desire for domination grows ever stronger.
The immortal race the Telar is threatening to release a virus to decimate humanity. But Alisa and her friends can’t take down the Telar on their own, and they must turn to the mysterious organization the IIC for help. But the IIC has secrets of its own and may have ulterior motives.
With two rivals and no one to trust, Alisa must rely on her dark side to defeat them. But it could cost her life, or her soul…
For those of you who haven’t heard of, or gotten into the Thirst series, let me give you a little background first. The Thirst series is a combination of the six books in The Last Vampire series, which wrapped up about 15 years ago, as well as two completely new books. So you may have read The Last Vampire series as a kid or a teenager if you’re between 25-30. The first two volumes in the Thirst series are those six books (three in the first volume, and three in the second volume). Then Thirst No. 3 was a completely new book continuing the series, and this book, Thirst No. 4 is “officially” (for now at least) the last book in the series again. Quite honestly, The Last Vampire series (a.k.a. Thirst No. 1 and No. 2) wrapped up quite nicely and it really wasn’t necessary to continue them. That being said, I have enjoyed the extra additions despite the completely ridiculous and unbelievable reason for the revival of Sita.
Anyways, onto this book. At this point in the series Sita and her friends are out to destroy two organizations that threaten the world and humanity as a whole — the Telar and the IIC. In this book, the war between these two superpowers comes to a head and finally spills over. It was very exciting to read how this came about and this book had lots of twists and turns and surprises that I did not expect.
While the beginning of the book was a bit slow going, once it picked up it was really exciting to read about. I especially enjoyed Pike’s interpretation of the underworld and his idea of what this sort of limbo would look like. I won’t get into much on that though, since it would give some stuff away. But, I’ve enjoyed the spiritual aspects of this series immensely. Pike sort of combines a lot of mythology and religions into one universal idea and it’s really pretty fascinating how he merges them all. This is probably my favorite part of the entire series as a whole.
Sita has also gone through a lot of changes. When I first met Sita, I honestly didn’t like her. She wasn’t (and still isn’t) your typical heroine. She’s not whiny, she’s not weak, she’s not even merciful the majority of the time. Even those “badass” heroines you read about have a soft spot in there somewhere, and really Sita would’ve kicked all their butts in her sleep. She is, I suppose, the ultimate badass heroine. The problem in the beginning of the series is that she really had absolutely no humanity in her, and she really needed to soften up to a certain degree. Especially when it comes to mercy — which she truly had none of. But Sita has come a long way and while she is still pretty darn intimidating, she has proven to me that she is also a good person (at least most of the time lol).
Where this book fell short for me was the ending. I’ve learned that with Christopher Pike, he likes to twist and turn things around so that completely unexpected things will happen. While some of these twists I found extremely entertaining and I applaud him for those, the ending was sort of like the beginning of Thirst No. 3 in a lot of ways. It made no sense and felt stretched to accommodate whatever goal Pike wanted to accomplish at the time. I didn’t really like it and I didn’t really think it worked out very well at all. It also left it open for more books, even though there are claims that this is the last one (again).
In addition to the ending failing a bit in my eyes, I felt like there were some holes that were just left open and never really explained or solved. It’s as if he was going to take them further, but then decided to go into a new direction and just dropped those ideas all together:
The primary one being with John. He has always been this huge mystery and seemed like he was setup to do some crazy big things in the future, but then nothing happened with him. We still don’t know who or what he was, and whatever role he was intended to play never panned out. That was very disappointing and pretty sloppy — especially if this really is the last book in the series. Along the same lines, I felt like we learned a bit about this mysterious game he is always playing, but we never really learned the why of it. Again, this seemed like a plot line that was just dropped along the way and never wrapped up.
But what I did like was the getting there. Even though I didn’t really like where it ended up and found it extremely confusing and strange, I found the journey to be a lot of fun. I was hoping for a bit more Matt in this one, but he got pushed to the background most of the time. However, leave it to Sita to stand on her own because she definitely knows how to “be in charge wherever she is”. I don’t know if there will be more books randomly in another 10 years, or if this is finally the end. But either way, I’ve enjoyed the journey, no matter how bumpy the road.