RECAP: I became hooked on reading this series AFTER watching the movie on Valentine's Day. You can read my movie review here and my review of the first book here. I also wrote a post in which I speculated on what, exactly, Lissa's "spirit" magic might be, which you can read here.
In Frostbite, the events of the first book have recently ended, and Rose Hathaway is getting set to take an important Guardian test. The celebrated Guardian who's supposed to administer Rose's test isn't able to, however - he's been attacked and killed by the Strigoi, along with members of the royal Badica family.
To protect the Moroi families from these bold new Strigoi attacks, the Powers That Be at St. Vladimir's move all the students, along with any families who want to go and their Guardians, to a ski resort over the winter holiday. Rose's famous Guardian mother, Janine, shows up to spend Christmas with her daughter; their relationship is strained at best.
Christian Ozera also has a relative show up for the holidays - his aunt Tasha. When Christian's parents became Strigoi, they attempted to kidnap him and turn him when he grew a little older, but Tasha fought them off and thwarted that plan. As a consequence, she has a Strigoi-bite scar on her face. Rose considers Tasha beautiful because of, not despite, this reminder of her bravery.
|This bit of ephemera fluttered out of my library copy of Frostbite|
I read somewhere - possibly when I added Frostbite on Goodreads - that Dimitri would have a new love interest in this book. I thought maybe it would be one of the female guardians, Tamara or Alberta. In the first book, it's Guardian Alberta who goes with Dimitri to attempt to rescue Lissa from Victor Dashkov. In the movie version, Guardian Alberta (for some reason listed as "Guardian Gabriela" on IMDB) is played by U.K. actress Dominique Tipper.
Absolutely gorgeous human being, am I right? So I thought maybe Dimitri and Alberta would have an attraction to each other. But apparently not.
Rose is crushed at the thought of losing Dimitri. Tasha isn't the only new character introduced, though. We also meet an early-20-something college student and royal Moroi named Adrian Ivashkov. Adrian is very flirtatious with both Rose and Lissa, causing a rift between Lissa and Christian (even though Adrian and Lissa call each other "cousin"). I'm not yet sure what his importance to the 6-book story arc is going to be, but one thing is revealed in this book: Adrian is another Spirit user. He has different abilities than Lissa, though. He can enter Rose's dreams. He doesn't need antidepressant medications like Lissa does, but he does self-medicate with tobacco and alcohol.
Now back to Lissa and Christian for a moment. There's a very awkward scene in the book in which Lissa and Rose's bond means Rose is inside Lissa's head while Lissa and Christian are making love. It's awkward for Rose, of course, and later for Lissa when Rose has to confess it, but it's also beautiful for Lissa and Christian. Rose doesn't know, but I suspect Christian is a virgin. It's rather sweet that Lissa is the experienced one and she gets to initiate Christian.
Meanwhile, Rose considers a more-than-friends relationship with fellow Dhampir Mason. I heard some "alas, poor Mason" rumblings before I started this book, so I suspected things wouldn't end well for him, and not just romantically. Things DON'T end well for Mason romantically, as Rose discovers herself fantasizing about Dimitri while touching Mason.
But then things go from disappointing to disastrous. Mason and some other students go alone after the Strigoi who killed the royals, getting themselves - along with Rose and Christian - held prisoner by the scary vampires and their daywalking human helpers. Christian has to use his fire magic to help Rose escape, and although she earns her first molnija marks for killing two Strigoi, Mason is killed.
The scene that follows is as harrowing and gut-wrenching as Harry Potter's refusing to let go of Cedric Diggory's body. At the end of the book, Rose is walking around in a state of shock, barely able to process her molnija ceremony. I'm not even sure she entirely processes the kiss Dimitri gives her after assuring her he won't be leaving with Tasha, or fathering Tasha's children. Dimitri's last words in this book are "Lots of things," a suggestive expression meaning he has lots of things to teach her both in training practice and otherwise.
The ending of Frostbite wasn't really a cliffhanger. The only thing that wasn't completely wrapped up was whether Christian and Lissa were still fighting or not. They'd better not break up. They're kind of perfect together. I'm already scared because the sixth book is called Last Sacrifice. I hope Richelle Mead doesn't pull a Veronica Roth...
|Reverse of library book ephemera|
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