Thursday, March 29, 2012

REVIEW: "Frostbite" by Richelle Mead


Frostbite by Richelle Mead
(Vampire Academy #2)

Young Adult--Paranormal--Vampires
Razorbill--April 2008
Paperback, 327 pages 






SUMMARY

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose...

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.

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.

MY THOUGHTS

WARNING!  POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR FIRST BOOK IN SERIES, VAMPIRE ACADEMY!

In Vampire Academy, readers are introduced to the world of the Moroi, Strigoi, and dhampirs.  They learn about the guardian/protected relationship between dhampirs and Moroi as shown in the friendship between brash, confident Rose and proper, slightly insane Lissa.  But, what began as a seemingly typical "magical school" story took a sharp turn into the darker aspects of vampire society and a brief look into some potential issues with the way the Moroi/dhampir relationship works.

As in most second books, the author does not need to spend as much time world building.  She is now able to delve deeper into this world and its issues.  The plot of Frostbite is full of little side stories and an overarching theme that is slowly beginning to take place.  The main storyline of this book involves massive Strigoi attacks, actually massacres, which forces the students of St. Vlad's to retreat to a ski resort for protection over the holidays.

Rose is still the brash, confident girl that she was in Vampire Academy.  But, she is showing signs of maturing especially after Victor Dashkov's attacks on Lissa in the first book.  She is more devoted to her studies as a guardian while dealing with some of the negative effects of her bond with Lissa.  While Rose does display some of her classic arrogance and party girl attitude, there are situations where she shows she is growing as a person and as a potential guaridan.  In addition to all of this, she also has some complicated love issues surrounding her in this book: Mason's crush on her and her personal feelings for mentor Dimitri.

The lust charm that Dashkov used on Dimitri and Rose has only broken the surface of their feelings.  Both of them are aware of the sexual tension between them and they are also aware that they should not act on those feelings.  In the first book, Dimitri acted as the ideal guy for Rose with his fighting ability and mysterious past.  Frostbite allows the readers to delve deeper into his personality as Rose does.  He becomes less of a mystery and Rose gets to know him beyond the obvious chemistry.  There are scenes where they are able to talk as friends rather than student/teacher or potential love interests.  This is important in making this forbidden relationship more realistic and root-worthy for readers.

Readers also get to see more of the existing secondary characters as well as meet some fascinating new ones.  Christian and Lissa are officially a couple now which has made Christian less surly and more devoted to Lissa and her needs.  In this book, Christian really shows his strength, both emotionally and magically, which was wonderful to see.  But, despite his growth, he still has some self-esteem issues primarily related to his parents' decision to become  Strigoi.  Lissa is still a little too perfect for my taste.  Rose puts her up on a pedestal so much that it has been difficult to get a real read on her character.  But, what I was able to see in Frostbite made me excited: Lissa's attempts to understand her spirit element and her showing signs of leadership capabilities.

There were quite a few new characters popping up in the VA world.  The most interesting, to me anyway, were Tasha, Janine, and Adrian.  Tasha is a Moroi, specifically Christian's aunt, who is a perfect example of growing unrest with the old guardian/Moroi routine and has strong ideas about how to save her people from Strigoi.  Readers also meet Rose's mother, Janine, for the first time.  I loved reading this complex mother/daughter relationship and how it showcased different aspects of dhampir culture and guardianship.  And, then, we have Adrian Ivashkov, the sarcastic, constantly drunk royal pain in the ass who immediately latches on to Rose and brings with him a whole new type of trouble.  I really enjoyed his character and see some definite potential beneath this bad boy exterior.

All in all, this was a solid second installment to what is shaping up to be an entertaining series.  The world has been established and little fissures are popping up to show readers that all is not perfect in this Moroi/dhampir society.  The plot is becoming darker and more complex while the characters are developing and growing rapidly.  I look forward to finding out more about Rose, Dimitri, and the rest of the St. Vlad's gang.

Rating: 4 Stars
SERIES INFORMATION

Vampire Academy
1. Vampire Academy
2. Frostbite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
5. Spirit Bound
5.5. "Sunshine" Kisses from Hell
6. Last Sacrifice

Bloodlines (spin-off)
1. Bloodlines
2. The Golden Lily (To Be Released in 2012)
BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY

2 comments:

  1. I think Frostbite was my favorite VA book, I just loved it! I think having Adrian thrown into the books, and still being able to drool over Dimitri is what did it for me!!

    This is one of my favorite series, ever. So I love hearing about other people enjoying it.
    -Jac @ For Love and Books

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  2. This was one of my favorite books in the series. This and Spirit Bound all because of Adrian Ivahskov. I LOVE HIM! He is such a sweet and hilarious character. His bad boyness is really just a show and to help cover up his spirit side effects. I'm so glad Richelle Mead continued his character in Bloodlines. I will never tire of him. I agree with Lissa being on way to high of a pedestal but I guess Rose feels it's her duty to protect her. I also loved her relationship with her mother. Very complex but honest. I can see why her mom would want to focus on her career but I still felt bad for Rose.

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