Synopsis (via Goodreads):
It's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians—including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks….This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.My Thoughts: I'm having a hard time reviewing this book because I keep seeing all these little clues popping up for happenings in later books and I don't want to give too much away for those who haven't read the rest of the series. But, my GOD!, Richelle Mead is outstanding at dropping hints throughout her books.
But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…
Things that I really enjoyed this time around:
- Janine Hathaway, Rose's mother. Watching Rose come to grips with the fact that her mother acts cold and unmoved because she's just as human as the rest of them is gripping. Rose's revelation that maybe the reason her mom was such a crappy mom was because she wasn't ready to have a kid, she wasn't grown up enough for that particular responsibility, lets us see Rose maturing before our eyes. Parents aren't perfect. They aren't given a handbook on what to do. Janine has dedicated her life so completely to her role as a Guardian that she doesn't know how to relate to her own child. Seeing her take those tentative steps toward getting to know Rose gives her depth.
- The 'Shadow-Kissed' aspect of Rose and Lissa's bond. At one point Adrian says "Everyone has light around them, except for you. You have shadows. You take them from Lissa." Exploring that bond pushes the story forward. It becomes a major plot point in the next book. It doesn't come out of the blue, either. Lissa grapples with her depression in the first book and makes several references to it in this one. Rose has a moment where she senses what she can do with that darkness growing in Lissa, but without understanding it she's left floundering.
- Mia goes from vicious rival to staunch supporter. Christian's character also grows from just being Lissa's boyfriend and anchor to a player in the changes that need to take place within the ranks of the Moroi. Mia's transformation is perhaps the more surprising of the two. She was petty and vindictive in the first book. For most of this book, as well, until a tragedy forces her to face that there are things a whole lot bigger out there than her stupid high school rivalries. Christian is one of my favorite characters. He's been forced to be an outsider for his entire life because of what his parents chose to do. I was thrilled at the strength and focus he found when he and Tasha began training to use the Moroi magic offensively.
- Adrian. I found him a little annoying the first time I read this book, but he's really grown on me. That he's been floundering along with no training and no guidance as he tries to make sense of his magic makes him someone that I found myself admiring. Sure, he numbs himself with alcohol and cigarettes, but it's the only way he knows how to deal with the madness lurking inside him. He did the best he could with the information he had.
Some quotes that caught my eye:
Fortunately, I didn't believe anyone could actually take down Dimitri. I'd seen him kill a Strigoi without breaking a sweat. He was invincible. A badass. A god.-Oh, Rose, you're both right and wrong aren't you?
He choked on the smoke, caught between inhaling and laughing. "Rose Hathaway, I can't wait to see you again. If you're this charming while tired and annoyed and this gorgeous while bruised and in ski clothes, you must be devastating at your peak."-And that pretty much sums up Adrian, that sexy scoundrel.
"Ah, the Dragomirs," he mused. "I'd forgotten about them. Easy to. There's what, one? Two of them left? Barely worth remembering."-A throwaway line that made me sit up and re-read it.
Other reviews in this series:
Book 1: Vampire Academy
More books by Richelle Mead