Part of the Vampire Academy series
Rosemarie Hathaway seriously endangered her future job as a Guardian in the secret vampire world when she ran away with her best friend, Vasalisa Dragomir. Vasalissa, or Lissa, is the last in her royal Moroi line, making her extremely precious. Lissa has the rare magical ability to heal people and bring them back from the dead – like she did with Rose. Because she saved Rose’s life, Rose is linked to her – a link that is called “Shadow Kissed”. Rose is able to read Lissa’s mind, making her an excellent choice as Lissa’s Guardian.
The two were captured and returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, where Rose was nearly expelled for her misdeeds. She was saved from expulsion by Dimitri Belikov, a young, handsome Guardian who had noticed Lissa and Rose’s bond, and had offered to take her under his wing to train. The two fell for each other and managed to control themselves. Things only got out of control when Victor Dashkov, an uncle of Lissa, put a lust spell on them, and they almost slept together. Dimitri managed to break the spell, and they were able to save Lissa from Victor who had kidnapped her. After Lissa was saved Dimitri told Rose that he had never loved her, but after she was attacked by Victor’s daughter who had turned into an evil vampire, Dimitri told her that he had and always would love her, though if they were still planning to become Guardians to Lissa when she graduated they could never be with each other – it would place Lissa in too much danger.
When a Moroi royal family is murdered by Strigoi, the Moroi/Dhampir world is on full alert. The Strigoi managed to kill an impressive number of Guardians by breaking a magical ward – something that humans had done because it is impossible for Strigoi to touch the wards. This in itself is strange – humans working with Strigoi would mean a much bigger problem to the Guardians. Rose witnesses the aftermath when she and Dimitri go to the house that was attacked – she was meant to take a test there with one of the Guardians that was killed.
She stays and watches the clean-up procedure with Dimitri, and afterwards returns to the school where everything is in chaos. She once again calms Lissa down, though technically she is the one that went through the ordeal, and starts to feel as though she is always the one who should be strong. This is the first of her many mood swings, which she later discovers is part of being shadow-kissed – because she has a Spirit-Bond with Lissa, she catches some of the insanity that comes with Lissa’s power.
Mason, a guy who has liked Rose for ages, makes no excuse that he would like to date her. She realizes that it would not be a bad idea to date someone her own age and not pine over someone she isn’t allowed to date.
The school decides to send its students to a private resort frequented by Moroi. As a result of the attack, the school and many other Moroi families decide to spend the holiday there. That is where Rose meets Adrian Ivashkov, a playboy Royal who is also a Spirit user like Lissa. Dimitri tells her to stay away from Adrian, and Rose basically spends time with Adrian to piss her instructor off. She found out that there may be something between Dimitri and Tasha Ozera – Christian’s aunt who is actually a nice lady and more suitable for him, even if she is a Moroi and he a Dhampir. Rose and Dimitri fights over this, and he tells her that she only proves her age with her childish habits.
Meanwhile, another Strigoi attack has taken place, and it resulted in the murder of Mia Renaldi’s mother. Rose and Lissa feel very sorry for Mia, even though they once hated her. They are unable to help her feel better, but she does start hanging out around them more.
Mason and Rose, now technically a couple, have a bad fight when Rose can’t seem to make up her mind on whether she wants to sleep with him. She realizes later that he went to Spokane with Eddie and Mia to hunt Strigoi, and she and Christian immediately follow without even considering telling any authority.
Christian and Lissa find their three friends safe, but soon afterwards all five are captured by Stigoi and bound up. After and immense struggle, Rose manages to kill the Strigoi and free her friends. All except Mason, who is killed by a Strigoi. The official school guardians arrive shortly afterwards, and it is only then that Rose leaves Mason’s body.
Dimitri tells Rose that he has realized that he could never love anyone else but her, and that they will somehow find a way to be together.
Reading this book the first time caused me slight irritation, though I persisted. Second time around, after I’ve finished the series, I am irritated by it because I don’t find the book necessary to the series. I honestly feel that the tale could have been told in 3 – 4 books. The only justification for this book is the introduction of Adrian and Tasha. They are important characters later on, but they could probably have been introduced in the third book and it would have still worked out.
Rose starts to be a better person here, although she is still way too fond of herself to be overly endearing for me. Her best characteristics remains her brutal honesty and fearlessness, and her worst her vanity. She shouldn’t have dated Mason while still in love with Dimitri. She should have told her teachers when she realized her friends were missing. She should have taken them back on the safest route in Spokane. I could really go on forever because she is seriously flawed, and even though it adds character to the story it is still annoying.
The injustice of the Moroi society frustrates me to no end. There is no justice or equality, and the use of Dhampirs for Guardians is a form of slavery. I maintain that Rose is the one who deserves the spotlight, not the overly fragile Lissa.
To bring some balance I have to mention that Adrian is one of my favorite supernatural characters ever, and I am so glad he was written. He is absolutely essential to the Bloodlines series, which stems from Vampire Academy. He is charming and dangerous and a player, and yet he still manages to be a good man who has the capacity for great love. I enjoy his cheesy pick-up lines and his sarcasm, when he dances with insanity, his love for vices and his addiction to Rose – which is just another vice because she is just as destructive as his alcohol or cigarettes.
This book serves mainly as an introduction to people and events that are important later on, and illustrating the importance of Rose and Dimitri’s love. It starts to show how unfair Rose’s destiny is, and makes you wonder whether she will eventually become Lissa’s Guardian and if it really is the thing she wants the most.
Read my review on the first book, Vampire Academy, here.
PS: If you’ve read the books and blogged about it, please drop me a comment. I am desperate to find some other opinions on this series!