Frostbite by Richelle Mead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Why did I wait so long to read this series? I am officially hooked - about halfway through this novel, I ran to the shops to buy the next three. It's one of those series.
Although I would argue that most parts of this book were amazing, my favourite part of Frostbite was easily the Rose's character development. She was tough as nails and hilarious in Vampire Academy, but in Frostbite she gains some much needed maturity. Rose really takes charge and shows what a genuinely good guardian she is going to make, and she did that all without Lissa being in danger. It's one thing to protect Lissa because she's both Rose's best friend and bonded Moroi, but to take charge like she did when Lissa was not around was truly amazing. I am in awe of her, and Rose is now firmly added to my list of favourite YA heroines.
Vampire Academy definitely had a soap opera-esque feel to it, which was lost in Frostbite. Whilst I did love this feel in the first novel, I think moving away from it definitely benefited Rose and the other characters overall. Frostbite had much more action, and since it was no longer set in a high school, the characters seemed much more mature. Leaving the school also had the added benefit of allowing a greater understanding of the Moroi/Dhampir/Strogoi world and culture.
There were some intriguing new characters in Frostbite: Adrian, Tasha and Janine to name a few. Seeing how they melded into Rose's world in their own unique ways was beautiful (did anyone else get teary over Rose and her mother near the end of the novel?) Adrian and Mason both provided a flirty distraction from the ever-present and ever-gorgeous Dimitri - something I both appreciated and hated. I definitely understand why this happened - it was necessary to let Rose spread her wings without Dimitri, but damn did I miss his beautiful face throughout this novel.
Speaking of things I missed in this novel, where was Lissa? She was barely in this novel at all, and I think that is what stopped me giving it 5 stars. Whilst I loved and enjoyed Rose developing on her own, one of my favourite parts of Vampire Academy was Lissa's experience with magic and also depression. In Frostbite she is really only a cursory character. I hope she will appear more in Shadow Kiss.
Overall, this was a strong second installment in an insanely addictive series. Definitely worth the read if you were a fan of Vampire Academy, or just of vampire fiction in general.
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