I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. A friend recommended it with some reservations, so I had low expectations going in. Maybe that’s why I was blown away!
The whole vampire trope has been so overdone ever since Twilight. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good vampire story! It’s just that the bookish market seemed to be flooded with fang stories, leaving me sick of them.
What sets this book apart from typical vampire stories is its roots in mythology and folklore. Reading up on the author, I learned that Mead has a background education in comparative religion and spent significant time researching mythology. Her reading sparked the idea for this series, and it is very evident. The concept of moroi vs. strigoi (light vs. dark vampires), and the half human dhampirs who serve as guardians to the preyed upon moroi FELT believable. It seemed like it could actually happen. Its very plausibility is what puts it far ahead of books featuring sparkly vampires (ahem!).
The concept of the bond Lissa and Rose share was fascinating. Weighing the ethical dilemma of diving into her best friend’s head, which on one hand, is an invasion of privacy, but on the other, a method of keeping her safe, was truly interesting! I kept going back and forth between being pissed at Rose for doing it, and then also relieved since it allowed her to come to the rescue on more than one occasion.
It should come as no surprise that I LOVED the love interest, Rose’s mentor Dimitri. Kind of creepy about the age difference, and the fact that he’s kind of her teacher… but whatever. I shipped it!
Another noteworthy element in the book was Lissa’s psychological issues. She would feel so overwhelmed with emotion, that she would cut herself. Feeling that physical pain allowed her to better deal with the mental pain. The way Mead handled this topic, and expertly wove it into the story, was incredible. I never really understood the point of cutting, but Lissa’s emotions seemed to vibrate off the page. I get it now.
Another aspect of the story that I LOVED was Rose’s bitchiness. Let’s get real. There are very few female leading ladies that are allowed to be hard core, super snarky, sometimes downright mean, bad asses. Women like that are generally not likeable characters. Mead manages to make Rose kind of bitchy, but totally relatable. I was rooting for her, despite not liking her on occasion. This was very well done, and I wish more authors would write “real” characters like Rose more often.
Overall, I ended up really, really liking this book! Shockingly so! With hearing mixed reviews going in, I was prepared to feel ambivalent. Instead, I was sucked into the story and was freaking out at some of the scarier moments. I can’t wait to read the next one! (My cruel husband said I had to wait until next week to purchase Frostbite, since I spent too much money on books this week. Meanie! I want to know what happens next RIGHT NOW! Lol!)
Purchase the book HERE!
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Cover image obtained from Goodreads.