Frostbite

With the vampire community horrified and on full alert after a vicious and deadly attack on one of the royal families, St. Vladimir’s Academy is relocated for the holidays to a secure ski resort.  Rose is glad to be away from the school and with Lissa, but trouble seems to follow her wherever she goes.  Her feelings for her Guardian tutor may be mutual but can never be acted on, a close friend confesses his own feelings for her and when the amusing and aristocratic Adrian enters the scene, she is more confused than ever.  After a terrible lapse in judgement sends people she cares about into danger, Rose feels responsible and falls back on the training she has had for most of her life.  Protect at all costs.

It was good being able to dive straight into book two of the Vampire Academy series.  I enjoyed the first book a great deal and it left me wanting more.

Rose is the focal character once more and picks up where the first novel ended.  Just as an aside before I get into it, I thought the Prologue was nicely done, a recap of the previous book but entertaining enough to read even if you had already read Vampire Academy.

It was really interesting how both main characters developed throughout this story.  I admire the way Richelle Mead has taken teenagers around seventeen, with hormones and angst, and merged it with great responsibility and peril.  Maturity can and often does go out the window but I loved the reasoning behind it and thought it quite clever.

Rose and Lissa’s friendship gets more complicated and conflicted as more is revealed about Lissa’s abilities and what her bond with Rose means.  Rose has a unique perspective on life and it can cause amusing results as she uses sarcastic wit almost as a weapon to get out of awkward situations.  As her extra Guardian training with her tutor, the lovely Dimitri progresses, she certainly starts to kick some serious butt and becomes even more formidable.

The two main characters are supported by a group of friends and their relationships play a big part throughout the story.  Even with unrequited and forbidden love, they definitely make the book well rounded and enjoyable.

Mead’s writing was once again clean, crisp and easy to read but spared nothing with the emotional and action scenes.  They had a lot of impact and one scene in particular was very shocking and brought tears to my eyes.

Any book that grips me enough to be able to do that is definitely recommended!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Richelle Mead
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Vampire Academy

Two seventeen year old girls running away from school might not raise many eyebrows, but when one is the last living vampire of her royal line and the other her best friend and dhampir bodyguard, both vampire and dhampir society are scandalised.  Dragged back under heavy protest, Rose Hathaway is frantic to protect Lissa Dragomir, not only from the rigours of high school life, but also from the very thing that caused them to flee St. Vladimir’s Academy in the first place.

I’ve not read Richelle Mead’s work before, so I had no expectations when I started Vampire Academy, the first book in this series.  I’m not really one to take much notice of labels such as ‘Young Adult’ – if the story sounds interesting, I’ll give it a try and in this case it turned out to be a real treat.

Mead has a very clear style of writing that is both easy to read and very entertaining.  I like the dry sense of humour that comes through in the story and the darker scenes evoked an emotional response in me.

One thing I found to be very well done was the explanation of the differences between dhampir/living vampire/undead vampire.  That could have been extremely confusing but it was actually well explained and written as part of the story, so I didn’t feel jerked out of it, while you learn some essential history.

The characterisations are superb and pretty spot on in how I think teenagers of sixteen/seventeen would behave with a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. Rebellious on the one hand, seriously protective of a best friend on the other.  The book is told from Rose’s perspective and she really stood out the most for me.  Sarcastic and sassy but with so much love and empathy for her best friend Lissa.  She manages to get in and out of all kinds of situations, some of her own doing because of her temper and nature, but others not of her own making.  She handles herself well and thinks fast on her feet, even if she is losing.  Lissa is a bit of an enigma, and I didn’t connect with her as well as I did with Rose early on, but that changed quite a lot as the story progressed.

The plot was good, not overly complicated but had enough mystery to keep me turning the pages.  With a few shocks, tantalising forbidden crushes and very entertaining secondary characters added in, this book became a gripping and highly recommended read.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Richelle Mead
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Infinity

At 15, Nick Gautier thinks he knows it all.  How the world works, his place in it, the school he hates and the love for his mother he would do anything to protect.  The night his best friends turn on him is the night his life changed forever.  He is saved by Kyrian, a mysterious man who says he is a Dark-Hunter, an immortal guardian standing between humanity and those that would prey on it.  An introduction to a whole world he never knew existed leaves him bewildered but determined and suddenly, high school doesn’t seem the worst thing he has to survive.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Infinity to read.  Given how adult Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series is, I wasn’t sure she could translate that world into the young adult field.  Would she still retain her ability to tell a fantastic story without the romance I’ve come to know and love?

The answer is yes, yes she can, and very well too!

It was no less gripping for being targetted at a younger audience and it was really intriguing meeting Nick when he was a fifteen year old with no idea what was really out there.  I’d known brief snippets of his history from the main books but seeing the start of it all from his perspective, it really brought home what a complex character he is.  The love and fierce protectiveness he has for his mother was so sweet, his brash acerbic wit made me laugh and some of the key choices he had to make made me want to cheer.  Nick’s young character is distinctly at odds with who we know now in the main series, and there also lies the charm of this book.

Several factions are in play to try and influence Nick in some of those key choices, and there are some very interesting developments with regards to the history I thought I knew.  It’s dizzying at times as you try and work out if who he is now is the result of Infinity or if there is something big coming in the next few books.  My feeling is the latter.

I loved seeing Kyrian as a dark-hunter again (of course this is previous to his book) and as always I wanted to both cheer and melt when Acheron arrives.  What did make me laugh was meeting Tabitha as a schoolgirl, she is very much the same character we know now, just younger and maybe a little crazier!

The plot was actually really interesting and kept me turning the pages.  I wondered how it would work since Nick had no idea about daimons, dark-hunters and the like and kind of got thrust into the middle of it all.  The main plot point though, and I say this with a completely straight face, was zombies.  Both living and undead.

And there lies why I was unsure what to expect.  Zombies?  In a Dark-hunter world book?  But it worked!  Everything else that was going on was woven around that central theme and it made for a very entertaining read.  I also loved the reason they were there in the first place, and felt it was very clever.

How Sherrilyn Kenyon keeps all this straight boggles me.  I envision all the walls of her writing room being filled with cards and strings leading to several others.  I suspect it would look rather like a web!  However she manages it, I have to give her huge kudos as she does keep it straight.   I honestly don’t come across things that jerk me out of the story and think ‘that’s not right’.

So I went from being unsure if this was a book I wanted to read to absolutely loving it and now I can’t wait for the next one.  Sweet torture!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)