Publication Date: April 10, 2008
Type: Paperback, received as gift
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...
Some Reasons Why This Book Earned Me Glares From Nearly Every One of My Teachers in the Past Two Days, or, alternately, Some Reasons Why This Book is Absolutely Fantastic:
When the heroine acts like an asshole, people don't just brush it away!
When Rose acts stupidly, says something cruel, does something she most certainly shouldn't have, it isn't simply ignored, or excused. People call her on it. Even better, she calls herself on it. For once, a heroine who won't completely refuse to admit they've ever done wrong! You can't believe how wonderful that was to see.
Also, while her words or actions are very frustrating at times, there is a reason, though it's only hinted at in this novel. Part of it's just Rose and her fiery temper, but part of it's . . . not.
There are fascinating new characters!
Quite a few of them, actually, but the most notable being Tasha, Adrian, and Janine, Rose's mother. I loved all of them in their own way; Tasha for her fiery independence so uncommon in Moroi, Adrian for being intriguingly assholian (as well as just plain intriguing), and Janine for being an emotionally stunted badass who still tries despite it all. They were all wonderful additions to the cast, and I'm interested to see the roles they'll have in the rest of the series.
There are real, complex relationships!
There wasn't one relationship in this book that didn't ring true. Not only Rose's relationships, but side relationships such as Lissa and Christian, Dimitri and Tasha, even Lissa and Adrian. Many times, in YA fantasies or paranormals, I've seen "They're supernatural creatures!" or "It's not like our world!" used to dismiss ludicrously unrealistic relationships. Not so with Vampire Academy. Despite the heavy influence their supernatural world and origin has on this cast, their interactions and emotions are so brilliantly believable that I can't help but love them.
Holy character development, Batman!
There's our protagonist, Rose, who's come so far from the rebellious, impetuous teenager we first met at the beginning of Vampire Academy. There was some growth in VA, but in Frostbite, it is a million times more extensive. She emerges from this novel with a gravity and maturity that one could scarcely even glimpse in her younger self. Yes, she's still a spirited, snarky teenager, but she is also more, and I love it.
However, Rose isn't the only one to see some fantastic character development. There are a lot of characters that get expanded upon--in fact, I can think of very few that didn't see some development in this novel. The most notable example, aside from our heroine, would most certainly be Mia.
Man, am I glad those VA fans were right. Her characterization in VA was by far my biggest critique, and in Frostbite, Richelle Mead delivered, just as all the fans promised she would. I don't want to spoil much, but I'll just say that Mia becomes far more than the flat schoolgirl antagonist, and it was a great thing to see. I expect her character will be developed even further in the books to come.
And, perhaps best of all: The emotion.
I'm going to be frank here: it is very rarely that a non-contemporary novel makes me cry.
Even when characters die, it often just does not affect me in the same way; I may be distinctly sad, but it does not often touch me to the point of tears.
But while there was no sobbing or dramatic animal noises, at one point, I did tear up. Because the emotion was so raw and genuine and painful that for a moment I was certain I'd lost someone, too.
That, above all else, is why I salute Mead for this novel.
It's technically 4.5 stars, but I enjoyed this novel far too much not to round it to a 5.