Series: #2 in the Vampire Academy series
Release Date: April 10, 2008
Read it in: 6 days
In the second book of the Vampire Academy series, the strigoi (bad vamps) are out to kill the moroi (good vamps) again-- and this time they are targeting the royal families. Lissa Dragomir is the last in her royal clan, and Rose needs to protect her best friend as more and more families end up being brutally murdered. The students are moved to a luxurious ski resort to hide out until the culprits are hunted down. Meanwhile, Rose and Dmitri's forbidden romance flares up again, even though they're both trying to move on...
Rose is such an awesome main character. This book dealt more with her struggle of keeping her emotions under control and not acting without thinking first, like she did in the first book. You could see her growth as she tried to overcome some of her greatest weaknesses, trying to do the right thing instead of whatever she wanted. I was really impressed by how clearly and strongly Rose's thoughts and emotions came through in this book-- her bitter frustration and anger towards her guardian mother (who left her when she was little), her confusion over whether to just go with Mason (her friend who's pretty much head-over-heels for her), and her inability to stop thinking about Dmitri (her off-limits older but insanely hott trainer).
Speaking of, I really liked how Rose's "forbidden" relationship developed with Dmitri in this one. It is so obvious that they're still completely into each other, even though they both try to deny it and find other distractions! I love the tension that has built up between them, and then of course there's the whole thing with bad-guy Adrian (who also happens to be, *gasp!*, incredibly hott). I still hope Rose and Dmitri end up together. The end scene with them made me melt... go Team Dmitri! (Oh, crap- did I just become a fangirl?!? :)
Lissa had more of a background role in this book, which was OK since it gave Rose more attention. However, I do wish that Rose and Lissa had been closer-- they just seemed kind of distant and disconnected with each other. I get that Lissa is a moroi and is involved with Christian, and Rose is a damphir and has her own personal life to deal with, but I hope that we get to see them talk and interact more as friends in the later books.
I don't know how I felt about Isiah, the big, bad evil strigoi in this one. Clearly he was a serious threat and I wondered how Rose and the others would escape in the end, but he was also a pretty cliche villain-- complete with sidekick-- and that made him seem less "villainous" and more comical than scary.
Finally, I liked how we get the whole back story between Rose and her mom in this book-- it always makes a character seem so much more real and multidimensional when we have past stories and hang-ups explained about them. It was great to see their rocky relationship turn into something where they could finally reach an understanding about who they each are and the decisions they've made in the past. I hope they will continue to grow closer!
Altogether, I'm thinking that VA rocks. I'm really happy I started this series and can't wait to get into Shadow Kiss!