Book Review: City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)

COB

Plot: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know… 

My sister was campaigning that I  read this, hands wildly thrown in the air, that it was good and I needed to read this (you get the idea). I needed a healthy break from Grey’s Anatomy (seriously too attached), so it was a great time to pick up a new book series.

I think we all know these YA books are such hits with their population group because it tells the story of a teen who realizes that she really is different, and that it isn’t just her wildly out of control hormones making her feel excluded. I happen to still like them – they are fun and campy and you can use them as “filler” books between more serious reads.

City of Bones is a good example of this. Clary is likable, Jace is a good love interest. Jace has an attitude as big as the Great Wall of China so that makes him an entertaining character even when you want to punch him, which is quite often. There is a regrettable love triangle going on between Clary’s best friend Simon, Clary and Jace, and that is really typical and not too unexpected, but I still an arc like this as I consider it lazy writing. Imagine a series where two characters are completely into each other and a third doesn’t have to get hurt? For all Tris’ many mistakes, she and Four in the Divergent series never deviate from each other. But it does play into the dreamworld of a teen girl who wishes that not only one, but two, really handsome guys can pine after her

Simon is also a pretty cool only-human character (there needs to be one in every YA book). He is sweet and it is annoying that he lost his superior position in Clary’s life just because she realized her true identity. I hope he is around throughout the series. He’s a funny guy.

So if you’ve read the book you will know there is a major plot twist at the end. It made me furious furious furious (probably as intended). I hope some magic happens and it un-plots itself because I just can’t deal with this.

The book felt about a hundred pages too long. Gosh, the ending is just too drawn out and the author could have kept a few paragraphs off the book and still have gotten to the end like she did.

So now that I have bitched about the bad things, I will tell you that this is easy and light reading. The lore is explained as the book continues and it is as imaginative as we can hope from a genre that has explored every single avenue repeatedly. There are demon hunters, werewolves, vampires, faeries and an entire underworld that hosts them. The focus is on the demon hunters, and how snobby and elite they can be. The villain is all around bad and unforgiving, and not unlike Hitler in his beliefs. He is mad and determined and not even remotely afraid in taking out the people that needs to be taken out in order for him to succeed.

The main protagonist Clary is determined and can deal – she isn’t needy or silly or whiney, and she does her thing. I liked that about her, because too often female protagonists in their own story end up depending on every male available. Clary isn’t like that, and while she may be minuscule, she remains someone to be reckoned with.

If you like the genre, you will definitely like this. I will pick up the movie (even though it has terrible ratings), and maybe even the series – I see that got cancelled too – just to see whether their casting matches to my imagination

Have you read the series? No spoilers please!

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Movie Review: Fallen (2016)

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Plot: A young girl finds herself in a reform school after therapy since she was blamed for the death of a young boy. At the school she finds herself drawn to a fellow student, unaware that he is an angel, and has loved her for thousands of years.

Rotten Tomatoes gives Fallen a 7% rating. A really unfair 7% rating. Look, the movie starts with a type of introduction that was clearly stolen from the Lord of The Rings intro (I kid you not), complete with a Galadriel-esque voice over and mystique images. Then it proceeds to the teenage-on-earphones driving in scene so reminiscent from Twilight that I didn’t expect too much. All these movies hope to become the sleeper hit that the first Twilight film was, and they all copy at least one or two aspects of that film.

I wasn’t such a fan of the book Fallen when I read it a couple of years ago, but that had more to do with the writing style than the actual content. Also, are all schools for troubled youth beautiful old mansions or is this just Hollywood?

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Anyway, Fallen is a surprisingly okay film for the tired Young Adult genre that has seen more misses than hits the last few years. Fatal flaw or not, I have a weakness for these films and always end up getting a copy. They don’t have to be good for everybody for me to give it a chance. There are some scenes which are remarkably silly (angels fighting in clouds), but for the most part I was interested and wanted to keep watching. The chemistry between the three leads are great, and the support cast, notably Lola Kirk as Penn, provided enough color to the film to keep it going. She’s hilarious and did the whole nerdy girl perfectly. Also, the two male parts of the love triangle never gets any real animosity going between them.

I liked the story well enough – the angels who didn’t choose sides when Lucifer and God split were sentenced to earth, and that is where one angel (hint, he’s a handsome blonde teenager), fell in-love with a teenage girl (hint, she’s a beautiful brunette), and as a result, this angel damned all the remaining angels, both good and bad, to a lifetime on earth. They are generically white, light angels versus heavy eyeliner dark makeup so that we can definitely know who is on whose side. Naturally beautiful blonde angel guy is stuck pining for eternity, and every 17 years gets to fall in-love again as his true love meets him and dies as soon as they kiss. Pretty sad, I know. Luckily for us, Luce’s reincarnation this time is “different”, and they share a smooch only to discover that she’s not dying and there is hope for them this time around.

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The film has a satisfactory grungy look and tries hard to be hardcore. Since I am about as “hardcore” as a pink marshmallow, I was impressed with the scenes of a metal club (if you can overcome the fact that these troubled teens break out of their dormitory with loud bikes) and found it satisfactorily cool.

I might even pick up the books again to see if they are better this time around. It definitely wasn’t a bad way to spend an hour and thirty minutes, and I won’t scream loudly against picking it up again at some stage.

Rating: 6.5/10

Book Review: How To Hang A Witch (Adriana Mather)

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I’m not sure how exactly Zoe manages to find these interesting and obscure reads, but sooner rather than later I saw symptoms of what would invariably lead to a book hangover for her. I was intrigued enough to be interested, and following her recommendation (we only refer books we know the other will like), and getting a hard copy (quite hard to do, I assure you, I was looked at as if I was perhaps a witch myself after inquiring this interesting title at the local book store), I started reading. It was delicious, not knowing one thing about the book, and the originality and suspense of the novel kept me engrossed and finished it within three days. Reading a new book is risky – so much time spent on something that might not work out! – But I was well rewarded. I won’t say too much about the story – but it is YA with some interesting twists, and the high school setting and typical teenage bitchiness is perfectly mixed with the spookiness of Salem and its tainted history. I’ve always found the Witch Trials really interesting, and they are well explored in this book.

How To Hang A Witch reads really easily and fluently, and the book does not drag or have events that shouldn’t have been included. The characters are likable – especially Sam, who really suffers from the children in her school, unknown forces and how to deal with her father’s illness, but she’s luckily never marketed as self-pitying or a wimp.

I started getting suspicions on who the main villain was when I reached about 75% completeness of the book, and was proven correct. It’s a great turn of events and suitably nasty, and those last few pages were intense and anxiously read.

I am just a bit sulky about how it ended – but since I saw that there is another book out, I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Although pretty sure I can’t actually like you if you don’t like this book, I would recommend it to people who generally enjoy YA. It’s not a genre for everyone, but I do hope that those who pick it up really enjoy themselves!

Rating: 8.5/10

Book Review: Silver Shadows (Richelle Mead)

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Sydney Sage is kept captive by the people she’s devoted her life to – the Alchemists, an ancient society sworn to keep the Vampire population hidden from the human race. Sydney, who was raised an Alchemist by her strict and domineering father, did the one thing the Alchemists find truly unforgivable – she fell in love with Moroi Vampire Adrian Ivashkov. Her sister betrayed her and Sydney was taken to reeducation – a place where Alchemists are kept and “persuaded” to become “good” again.

As months pass, Sydney knows she needs to at least pretend to bend in her beliefs. She is introduced into the group life stage of reeducation, where she meets other Alchemists in the same position as her. At first they all treat her life a pariah, but slowly Sydney gets included and manages to make a few friends.

Adrian Ivashkov is meanwhile working hard to find Sydney. He is already unstable due to his Spirit abilities – a magical element that makes him see people’s auras and visit dreams, but Sydney’s disappearance has driven him even further into destructive behavior. He is aided by Marcus, a rouge Alchemist who has contacts all over the world and also wants to see Sydney safe. Even though Jill Dragomir, the only living relative to Queen Vasalisa Dragomir, is the one who needs to be kept under constant protection, she insists that two of her Guardians help save Lissa should they find a lead.

Sydney discovers the reason Adrian hasn’t been able to visit her in her dreams – she and her fellow inmates are being drugged with gas each night and Adrian can’t penetrate it. She employs the help of her newfound friends to stop the gas flow, enabling Adrian to visit her. It gives them both hope to see each other again, but it is still frustrating because Sydney has no idea where she is based.

Through meticulous work Marcus finally finds venues where Sydney could possibly be based, but Adrian has to resort to visiting other detainees in their dreams for information when Sydney gets caught using magic.

Can Adrian, Marcus and Eddie save Sydney? How will they possibly stay away from recapture? What psychological scars does Sydney carry from her incarceration time? Is Jill as safe as she believes she is? What will the Moroi royal court do when they finally learn Adrian is in love with a human?

Rating: 6.5/10

I’ve been following this series from the beginning rather religiously, and after each new release would mope when I the book was finished – the series always had a few books outstanding. I kept off reading Silver Shadows with the idea to leave it until closer to the time for the last book of the series, Ruby Circle. I think RC is being released early next month so I managed quite well!

I enjoyed Silver Shadows. It is written in first person with sections dedicated to Sydney and Adrian – essential, so you can have a look at Sydney’s captivity and the budding rescue mission. Sydney’s capture was beginning to feel long, as were her many setbacks and determination to not shut up – something I respect but there is a time and place for everything, you know?

The love story is completely ridiculous – the extremely sciency good girl falls for a borderline alcoholic with mental problems. Okay, maybe that has happened, but I think in the long run two such extremes won’t make the world’s most stable couple. I like both Adrian and Sydney – neither is overly whiney or childish and they don’t have the frustrating petulance often found in YA.

The book is decently written, especially compared to other YA books out there. It is miles better than Vampire Academy, the series on which Bloodlines stems from, and I think Mead has genuinely grown as a writer.

If you look beneath the frothy vampire story you might find what I did – these books are about social injustice and I even want to say racism – the class systems used in these books are unfair and based solely on race.

This is a fun series, but don’t expect the world’s tightest plot and superb writing though. (And I can’t wait for the next one!)

Movie Review: Vampire Academy (2014)

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Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) and Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry) are best friends that escaped from St. Vladimir’s Academy, or Vampire Academy, when Lissa felt unsafe. They are eventually caught and taken back to school by one of the Guardians, Dimitri Belikov (Danila Kozlovsky), who becomes one of Rose’s teachers and the guy she falls for.

I went in fangirl mode to watch Vampire Academy on Saturday night and I have never been more disappointed. VA is officially the standard now for horrible book to movie adaptions.

Rating: 5.5/10

What I liked:

For most parts, the movie stuck to the book relatively close.

The class rooms and training arenas were well done.

Rose’s eyes (although it is not in the book) – when she sees into Lissa’s mind. Looked pretty cool.

The fight scenes were amazingly well done – surprisingly so in comparison to the quality of the rest of the movie.

Casting of: Rose (Zoey Deutch), Dimitri (Danila Kozlovsky), Victor Dashkov (Gabriel Byrne), Natalie Dashkov (Sarah Hyland), Christian Ozera (Dominic Sherwood), Mason (Cameron Monaghan), Sonya Karp (Claire Foy)

Zoey Deutch really did the Rose Hathaway attitude well. She looks the part, she played the part and I loved her outfits all around.

Danila Kozlovsky as Dimitri Belikov: Wow. Just wow. I would give him an 8/10 for correct character casting and portrayal. At least they got a real Russian to play him and didn’t attempt some horrible accent changing thing.

Girl Power: The girls in the movie kicks ass and can take care of themselves. It is what I loved about the books too, and I am glad they didn’t want to change either of the leading females to whining brats.

What I didn’t like:

It was like the Twilight-meets-Harry Potter-meets-Mean Girls movie. The OPENING scenes are similar to all those trees in Twilight, the castle shots look like they were taken at Hogwarts and the constant bitching and sarky remarks were right out of Mean Girls. Does Mark Waters only know how to direct one type of movie?

It felt like the movie was rushed. Don’t give me nonsense about a shoe string budgets – plenty franchises’ first instalments were made on tiny budgets and did wonderful – like Twilight, which for all its faults had decent directing.

The soundtrack: The opening song bombs the movie from the get go, and it never fully recovers.

Nothing was properly explained. The series has a lot of new lore to explain and it was rushed over. People who haven’t read the books won’t even begin to understand what is happening in the movie.

Underused characters: Christian and Mason were really well cast but Christian became a vapid pretty boy – this is the guy whose parents turned into evil monsters and has lived under the scandal that it caused his entire life. He is not the pretty little man who easily became a devoted pet to either Rose or Lissa. Mason did really well. He is one of the few who acted decently and showed some depth, but he wasn’t used all that much.

Rose and Dimitri’s love story. So much was left out – all the signs that he is secretly in love with her just wasn’t there. They had so much more to offer. It is also never fully explained why he is training her individually.

Rose and Dimitri 2

*At least one of the scenes were done right.

Lissa knowing about Dimitri and Rose – WTF she only finds out when Rose leaves St. Vladimir’s to hunt Dimitri down later on.

Kirova being portrayed as underhanded. She has always struck me as a fair disciplinarian who is irritated with Rose’s constant rule breaking.

Mia Renaldi (Sami Gayle): I see the curly ringlets were thrown out, but the actress at least did a decent job.

Lissa and Rose just TELLING Natalie what is going on in their lives. The Spirit, the Bond – those are SECRETS dammit.

The compulsion looks fake.

The fire scene where Christian sets Ralf Sarkozy on fire. IT.WAS.SO.FAKE.

Sonya Karp being some of the Strigoi that wants to attack the school. Just no. She enters much later on with another purpose.

Lucy Fry as Vasalisa Dragomir: What accent was she playing at? It seemed like a very bad mix of British and Australian. Those two shouldn’t be mixed. She seemed very immature and selfish one moment and very adult and wise at other times. The character didn’t match up and neither did she come close to what Lissa is in the books.

Conclusion:

Fire the director and screen writer. I’ve always thought the books would make an excellent TV series, not movies, because let’s face it: Taking six books and hoping they will all make it to cinema is ridiculous unless it’s Harry Potter. Stop trying to make the franchise what it isn’t. Make it more dark and sexy and not so damn PG rated.

And once again, Fire the director.

Book Review: Spirit Bound (Richelle Mead)

Book: 61/100

After learning that there might be a way to return Strigoi to their mortal state, Rose Hathaway realises that she needs to break her archenemy, Victor Dashkov, from prison. She enlists the help of her friends Lissa Dragomir and Eddie Castile, and they set of to break him out. They miraculously manage it, and end up in Las Vegas, where Victor wants to meet his half-brother, Robert Doru. Robert tells them that to save a Strigoi, a Spirit user needs to stake it with a silver stake that has been charmed with all the Moroi elements – earth, fire, water and spirit. Lissa wants to do this, but Rose knows allowing her might mean her friend’s death. Adrian Ivashkov arrives in Las Vegas, and he is understandably upset when he realizes Rose’s plan to bring her ex-boyfriend back from the dead. Dimitri attacks them while in Vegas, but once again Rose is unable to kill him, enraging Eddie, the other Guardian there. She confides in him that Dimitri was more than a teacher to her, and while he is sympathetic, he remains firm that she should have staked him. Robert and Victor escape, turning the trip into a complete disaster.

Back at the royal court Rose and Eddie gets into trouble for taking Lissa into dangerous surroundings. Rose gets stuck with paperwork, something she really hates. She meets Mikhael Tanner, another Guardian who lost someone he loved when she turned Strigoi. It turns out that his love was Sonya Karp, Rose and Lissa’s teacher who went crazy from being a spirit user.

Lissa and Christian Ozera is captured by Dimitri when they leave court for a college tour, and tells Rose through her and Lissa’s spirit bond he expects her to come and save her friend. She and other Guardians attack them, and Lissa manages to return Dimitri to his original Dhampir state. He is taken captive because no one knows what to believe, and Rose is stunned when he doesn’t want to see or speak to her.

The Queen of the Moroi, Tatiana Ivashkov, is known for despising Rose. When she asks Rose to tell her story of Strigoi hunting, Rose is stunned but complies. When she realizes Tatiana plans to use it to force Guardians to start working at sixteen, she openly threatens the Queen. When the Queen is found murdered with Rose’s stake, things doesn’t look good for her. She is taken into custody.

How will she possibly survive this? Who murdered the Queen? And will Dimitri ever be able to face her again?

Rating: 6/10

Once again, not a bad read. There is still some unnecessary things that happen, silly subplots that distract from the overall storyline. The series is very original, although the love triangle certainly isn’t. I think Rose was completely wrong looking at Adrian while she wasn’t over Dimitri, and even thinking that it could work. Tatiana’s murder was a surprise, and made the seventh book possible (once again supporting my theory that the series didn’t need seven books)

I would recommend this book to people who love YA fiction. It is a really good book, although if you want to read it it is advisable to read the series in correct order.

Book Review: Shadow Kissed (Richelle Mead)

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Book: 59/100

Book three of the Vampire Academy Series

What happened?

After an attack on St. Vladimir’s academy, the entire school headed to an exclusive resort for the holidays. While there, a bunch of Rose Hathaway’s friends sneaked out to go capture Strigoi in Spokane, and Rose went after them. She managed to save most of her friends, except Mason. Afterwards, her teacher Dimitri told her he had accepted that he would always love her.

Shadow Kissed

Rose is set to take trials at being a Guardian within St. Vladimir’s Academy. The trials consist of Dhampir novice Guardians shadowing selected Moroi, and “protecting” them if one of their teachers attacks them while faking as Strigoi. She fully expects to be assigned to Lissa because of their bond and also because everyone knows that is how things should be. Rose is outraged when she is assigned to look after Christian Ozera, Lissa’s boyfriend. Eddie gets to guard Lissa, and while she knows that he will do a very good job, she is peeved that they would actually separate her from her best friend. Dimitri chastises her and she finally acknowledges that it might be a good idea.

As an aftermath to the bloodshed she witness the past year, and a side effect of being shadow-kissed, Rose has developed the scary ability to see ghosts. Initially, she doesn’t know this, and thinks she is going crazy when she sees Mason’s ghost in the school. She learns that the magical wards that surround the school is supposed to block ghosts and Strigoi, but everyone tells her the wards are maintained and in perfect order.

Rose learns that Victor Dashkov, the man who had tortured Lissa, is set for trial. Dimitri tells her that she and Lissa aren’t allowed to attend, and she is furious with him. Adrian Ivashkov, a Moroi royal, manages to get them to attend to impress Rose, making Dimitri feel useless as he really tried his best.

At the Moroi Royal Court, the queen summons Rose and tells her to stay away from her great-nephew, Adrian. She makes it clear that she won’t allow the relationship, not listening when Rose says that she truly isn’t interested in Adrian. Rose receives a threatening message from Victor Dashkov, with some hints that he might out her and Dimitri’s forbidden love. She goes to Dimitri, and they visit him together. They discuss the matter, and even though Victor still taunts them, Dimitri says he is confident that their secret won’t come out. Victor is eventually sentenced to life imprisonment, and locked away.

Rose continues to have headaches whenever she is not in school or the Academy. Every time it seems like there are ghosts are around her, waiting for her attention.  Meanwhile, she is messing up her Guardian tests, because she sees Mason every time she is supposed to fight. It is only because of Dimitri’s vote of confidence that she is allowed to continue, and she is ordered to do only half day guarding after she tells her teachers about the ghosts and they think her stressful life is catching up to her.

Rose notices that there are many kids with bruises at the school who won’t confess who is hurting them. She investigates, and learns that it is a secret club started by elite Moroi who tries to force their friends into using compulsion – something that is forbidden in their world. The group tries to recruit Lissa and Christian too, but they laugh it off.

Rose finally gets to prove herself when Dimitiri attacks her and Lissa, faking as a Strigoi. It is a close fight, but she wins, impressing her teachers and friends alike. After that she realizes that Lissa is under attack from the compulsion group, and rushes to her aid. She helps her friend, but takes some of Lissa’s Spirit-induced darkness and starts attacking the group. She is restrained by Dimitri and taken to a cabin away from the guilty so that she can calm down. Finally, their resolve falters and after a year of restraint they make love. Upon returning to the school grounds, Rose sees Mason, and shortly afterwards she sees the Strigoi that Mason had pointed out.

With the evil vampires on school ground, Rose hurries back on Dimitri’s orders and alert the Guardians. They go into full scale attack, and when Rose finds Christian on the school ground, they combine their skills and kill many Strigoi together. The living Strigoi flees campus before sunrise, and Dimitri tells Rose that they took Dhampirs and Moroi captive.

After debating the pros and cons, the Guardians decide to stage a rescue mission. They head out to the caves where they know the Strigoi are hiding, and rescue the captives. Rose sees Dimitri get trapped, but is pulled to safety. At school, Rose hears something that makes her world crash – That Dimitri had been turned into a Strigoi. Her only choice now is to hunt him down and kill him, as they promised each other they would. But will she find him and come out alive?

Rating: 6.5/10

After Frostbite, this book seems so well done. Things relevant to the storyline actually happen here, and the events aren’t too stretched out. I applauded Rose and Dimitri for finally getting together and his decision to just accept his feelings and work with it instead of the denial that had tormented him. Turning him into a Strigoi was a great idea, and I was floored that Richelle Mead actually had the nerve to do it. Without knowing what happened in the rest of the series made me sad for their lost love so short after their acceptance of it, but reading onwards it became clear that a great plan was in the works for the series.

This is definitely one of the better books in the series, and quite enjoyable.

Book Review: Frostbite (Richelle Mead)

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Book: 58/100

Part of the Vampire Academy series

Book two

What happened?

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.

Frostbite

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.

Rating: 5.5/10

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!