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Vampire Academy: The Trials

“It’s been a fraught kind of week.”

Communication takes many forms. When it’s done well, you may not even need words. When it’s done poorly... all manner of things can go wrong.

The definition of communication is the process of conveying information. It says nothing about whether that information is truthful. By the above definition, Tatiana is a master communicator. She always seems to know the right thing to say to get what she needs from people. Whether it’s using Dimitri’s faith and loss to convince him to fight for her (among other things), or to twist Sonya’s transformation into seeds of doubt about Victor's abilities as Monarch.

After days (weeks?) of attempting to elevate the level of discourse, Victor has sunk to Tatiana’s level. What began as an argument for protecting non-Royals like his family and the Dhampirs he claims to sympathize with from the Elementalists’ abuses has become a quest for power. He hid the truth about Sonya from the public, lied to his family and admitted he would sacrifice everything to become king. If how he treats his family is a commentary on who is as a person, he doesn’t belong anywhere near the throne, no matter what the Elements say.

Can Victor talk his way out of his predicament? Or will Tatiana win the day despite losing The Trials? She has the better narrative, or at least a simpler one. If the Royals ostracized Christian when his parents became Strigoi, I can’t imagine they’d want a king who let his daughter become one. There’s also Victor’s family to contend with. Robert may be a forgiving man, but I don’t see this going over well.

The younger generation may not be as duplicitous, but their lack of communication skills may make them equally cruel. Of all the men Lissa could have chosen, she picked the one she had feelings for. So, why harp on the fact it was just a marriage of convenience? Did Lissa believe that would make it easier for Christian? If so, then she should have called it off the moment she knew it was real for him. To take advantage of his feelings to get her quorum back was just as selfish as whatever she’s supposedly “taken” from Rose.

Lissa’s post dream walk conversation with Christian may have been more honest, but it clarified nothing. Her desire for a wedding filled with happiness disproves her claim that she was marrying Christian out of convenience. Yet, their discussion ended with him convinced their relationship was over, although Lissa specifically said she still intended to marry him. If nothing else, what was that kiss, if not a promise?

It's obvious Lissa was having second thoughts about her decision to end things with Rose. Having to talk their way through their dream walk only made it worse. It makes me wonder how much of her confrontation with Rose contributed to her pain and rage. After all, Lissa already suspected Christian’s parent’s hand in her family’s death. Though, I imagine having to relive it was especially painful. Side note: I may have yelled “Karma” at my TV screen given Lissa’s recent abandonment of Rose.

Rose's and Mason’s communication skills aren’t any better. She knows he’s at least infatuated with her and he knows she has feelings for Dimitri. They both choose to ignore reality in favor of the belief that nothing has changed between them. So, he continues to pick up the pieces in her life. From making Rose shower, to calling her out when she pretends she’s okay without Lissa, to whisking her away when the world becomes too much. Given how well Mason knows Rose, he has to realize after that fight he’s her second choice. Can self-delusion be considered a form of miscommunication?

I’ve always been taught that a good fight scene tells a story. It is the equivalent of dialogue. By those standards, this was an exceptional fight scene. Yes, there were a few unrealistic moves, but since Rose and Dimitri are supernatural beings, these can be hand waved away. And yes, their conversation may have been about faith and duty. However, that fight was solely about their relationship and whether it was worth fighting for.

The fight also proved how much stronger Rose is than Dimitri. Not physically. We all know Dimitri should have won the fight. But mentally. There is something broken in Dimitri that goes beyond his supposed anger issues. Maybe it was Alexie’s death, or maybe it’s just the daily grind of protecting people he knows in his heart are unworthy. Up to now, he’s walled himself off from feeling anything. Unfortunately, Rose has shattered his defenses and left him untethered to his faith or his duty.

I’m convinced that’s the reason he succumbed to Tatiana. I have no idea how she knew Dimitri spent days praying after the death of his friend, but it wasn’t a shock that she’d use his grief for her own ends. The surprising part is that Dimitri let it happen. He knew the kind of person she was and what she was doing. He just didn’t care. Whether Dimitri slept with Tatiana is immaterial. They both know his heart belongs to Rose. In some respects, they had the most honest communication of all.

Each episode manages to build on its predecessor, expanding the mythology as it gives each character more depth. I continue to be impressed.

4 out of 5 Books of translation

Bits and Bites:

I could have told Christian that Jesse was too self-centered to help his parents, Strigoi fetish or no. Maybe his father could have pushed him into it, but Dane seems far too concerned with appearances to sully the family name like that.

I hope Meredith and Mia get back on the same page soon. Mia is going to need someone, and I doubt she’ll want to go to her parents after this.


Dimitri: “There’s room for Dhampir friendship in your ideology?”

Tatiana: “If faith were easy, it wouldn’t need to be practiced.”

Lissa: “Will you marry me?”

Rose: “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”

Christian: “However this came about, and whatever else this marriage will be, it will be real to me.”

Dimitri: “All I have is this life and the faith that’s helped me endure it.”

Jesse: “You think I’d stick my neck out for anyone? Me?”

Rose: “What kind of champion refuses to fight?”

Mason: “Work your shit out, okay?... Thank you.”

Dimitri: “My value here has been compromised.”

Tatiana: “It’s hard wanting something you can’t have, isn’t it?”

Rose: “We both need to find our way... without each other.”

Robert: “You’ll make Dominion a better place for our children, my love.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, the supernatural, and anything with a cape.

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