Thursday, 30 December 2010

Book Reviews: Vampire Academy - Frostbite and Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead.

* Please note: in my reviews for the  Vampire Academy series,  there may be spoilers for previous instalments of the series.

Product details:
Publisher: Puffin.
Paperback, 327 pages.
Release date: October 1st 2009 (First published 2008).
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Series: Vampire Academy #2.
Other books in series: Vampire Academy.

Rose Hathaway's got serious guy trouble. Her gorgeous tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason has a huge crush on her, she keeps getting stuck in her best friend Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian.

Then a massive Strigoi attack puts St. Vladmir's on high alert, and the Academy crawls with Guardians-including the legendary Janine Hathaway...Rose's formidable, long-absent mother. The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks. This year, St. Vladmir's holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only provide the illusion of safety. When three students run away to strike back against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. Only this time, Rose-and her heat-are in more danger than she ever could have imagined.

Frostbite, the second instalment in Richelle’s Mead Vampire Academy series was a crazy ride that totally left me hooked and wanting more from this series. While I enjoyed Vampire Academy, I wasn’t blown away by it, and so I didn’t go into this book with huge expectations, but to say I was impressed with this one is an understatement. I loved it! The characters and storyline are more developed here, and now in Dimitri I have a major book crush going on. I also liked the in-depth prologue here, and found it very helpful. I had a little trouble getting all the vampire mythology straight in the first book (there’s a lot to take in!), but now I’m good.

My favourite aspect of these books is the dynamic between Rose and Dimitri. There is just something special about those two. In addition to denying her growing feelings for her tutor, Rose has more boy trouble here in the form of her friend Mason, who is increasingly infatuated with her. In addition to this, Dimitri may have another love interest of his own (yikes!), and then there are the constant threats from the Strigoi who are attacking more and more frequently, and who seem to have a vendetta against Royal Moroi families. This spells trouble for Rose and her best friend Lissa, a Moroi princess, who is the last in her family line.

This book had a little bit of everything. Rose is still a little bratty and bitchy at times, but here she goes through hardships that mean she has no choice but to mature. Through all this Dimitri is there for her. Their feelings for each other simmer under the surface, but there is real chemistry between these two. The pages practically sizzle with every scene they share. This book also sees the introduction of Adrian, another Royal Moroi. He is a hardcore party boy and a major flirt who has his sights set on Rose. I’m interested in finding out more about him and the secrets he holds.

The action is non-stop here too. Usually I am not a big fan of major battle scenes or drawn out fight sequences in books, but the pacing here is great, and Mead handles everything wonderfully. Her writing is addictive and this book is a  total page turner. There are also a lot of plot-twists and surprises here and Mead is not afraid to dispense with characters who you might think are in it for the long haul.

Overall, I loved this one, and the final line that Dimitri utters to Rose is so swoonworthy that I picked up the next book, Shadow Kiss straight away after reading this. Now, let me tell you about that one…

Product details:
Publisher: Puffin.
Paperback, 443 pages.
Release date: February 4th 2010 (First published 2008).
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Series: Vampire Academy #3
Other books in series: Vampire Academy, Frostbite.

Rose Hathaway knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa-the last Dragomir princess-must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken...

But since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling right. Something dark has begun to grow in her mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy's iron gates. And now that Lissa and Rose's sworn enemy, Victor Dashkov, is on trial for his freedom, tensions in the Moroi world are higher than ever.

Lying to Lissa about Dimitri is one thing but suddenly there's way more than friendship at stake. The immortal undead are on the prowl, and they want vengeance for the lives that Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmare, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most..but will her choice mean that only one can survive?

If Frostbite is the book that made me fall in love with the Vampire Academy series, then this book is the one that got me completely and utterly addicted. Shadow Kiss is my favourite book of the series so far, and the ending of this one, well, let me tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever been so utterly shocked and dismayed by a plot twist as I was here.  I was staring  in disbelief at the last page of this one for a while after reading it.  One thing is for sure, you can’t  finish Shadow Kiss and not pick up the next book straight away.  This is a heart-wrenching and totally emotional ride. It’s so, so, so good, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

We’re back in the world of St. Vladimir’s Academy, and back in the life of Rose Hathaway, who, since making her first Strigoi kills, has felt a darkness wash over her.  Now even more prone to dark thoughts and mood swings than is usual for her, she is also seeing ghosts, and they seem to be warning her of something. An imminent threat? But, what is it, and why?  The implications of Rose’s shadow kissed state are also explored further here, as is her connection and growing resentment towards Lissa. Their dynamic is changing. Rose wants to be with Dimitri just like Lissa is with Christian, but she is meant to sacrifice that in order to protect Lissa, and while she’s always accepted that her fate is to be Lissa‘s guardian, and has never questioned it before, now that she’s totally in love with Dimitri, things are different.

This is also the book where Dimitri finally gives into his feelings for Rose. He can’t hold back any longer, and this leads to one truly hot scene between them.  Things get pretty steamy between Rose and Dimitri here, and it looks like they are about to descend into a period of blissful romance.  That’s until the Strigoi launch a major attack on the Academy which sees a battle to end all battles, one which will have long-lasting and disastrous consequences for Rose, Dimitri and all those around them.

Right now I love everything about this series. So, it breaks my heart, but I can’t get enough!   The world building and vampire mythology in these books is truly sumptuous and multi-layered, while the depth of characterisation amazes me. I am so invested in these characters.  Rose, although she can be impetuous and brash at times, is one of my favourite book heroines, while Dimitri is high on my book crush list.  Christian has been a favourite of mine since the first book, and he shines here when Rose and him combine their strengths in battle to kick some Strigoi ass!  There’s also more of Adrian here. A lot of people told me I would fall for Adrian in these books, and while I am liking him more and more with each book, that hasn’t happened yet. 

Dimitri has my heart.

It’s little wonder then that I was left shocked and saddened by the ending of this book. Mead certainly knows how to throw a spanner in the works of a happy ever after, huh! I am almost afraid to discover what awaits me in Blood Promise….


  1. I have only read the first book so far, but your reviews make me really want to start books 2 & 3. Excellent and fun reviews, Leanna! :)

  2. I have read all of the series and it rocks. Rose and Dimitri are my fave couple! Great review :)

  3. Dimitri has my heart too! Love this series! Just got Last Sacrifice a couple weeks ago and have been afraid to start it - it is the end of the story and I am not sure I want to know just yet! Thanks for the reviews - great to hear other people like the same stuff I do!!!!

  4. I am THRILLED that Dimitri has stolen your heart! He has had ours for awhile now! SO happy you have joined in!!!

  5. Told you that you'd love book 3 :)

  6. I really need to finish this series! I liked the first yet I can't seem to start on the rest of the books. However your reviews did motivate me .
    Thanks for the reviews!

  7. Oh wow, now I need to hurry and read them all. :)

  8. YES! Another one addicted to VA:) I'm completely and utterly in love with Dimitri as well, Blood Promise was hard for me to read for that reason, but I adored the last two books. Richelle sure knows how to torture her characters! Can't wait to see what you think of the next 3 books:)

  9. @Jenny - Blood Promise actually killed me! I'm so sad! I've had to take a break before finishing up the series. Seeing Dimitri like that is all too much!!!

  10. I love this series and Dimitri is one of my favorite characters. Blood Promise was a painful read for me but things do get better as the series wraps up. I promise!

    Glad you enjoy the books too. Shadow Kiss is probably my favorite book in the series.

  11. Great reviews. Frostbite is my favourite in the series. Love this series, so sad it has ended. Looking forward to Bloodlines though :)

  12. I am SO happy you are loving these books! I think this is my favorite series of all time. Books 4-6 are even better than the first three. I agree about the end of Shadow Kiss. I had to wait for Blood Promise to be released---boy was that impossibly hard!!! We are total Dimitri fans too. :)

  13. Oh boy do I have to get started on my copy of Vampire Academy now or what. Even though I haven't started this series yet, I decided to go and buy Frostbite in the meantime as well. From your reviews (both fabulous and both leaving me eager to start this series), I'm going to have to get the rest of this series before I even start reading them. You know that I trust your judgement implicitly book twin :D


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