Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Series: Vampire Academy #2
Pages: 327
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: April 10, 2008
How Received: Library

Summary: 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. Vlad’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 heart—are in more danger than she could have ever imagined.

My Thoughts:
*I tried keeping this spoiler free, but I’m sure I slipped up. =x Also, I gushed more about the characters than the book itself. xD

Frostbite resumes where Vampire Academy leaves off. For the first 50 or so pages, Richelle gives us a prologue and re-invites readers into her books – a very effective way to slowly adjust readers back into the plot. Since it’s been two weeks since I had read VA, I found it very helpful.

Where Vampire Academy was balanced between a suspenseful and humorous read, Frostbite produced a darker, grimmer mood throughout the entire novel. Humor was still interlaced in the book, but it had been remarkably less than the first novel. Within the first chapter, Richelle launched us into the first grievance: a brutal murder case that should not have been possible.

As the story progresses, it goes from light to the burning emotions of jealousy, despair, bitterness, and loneliness. To group together with the thought of “safety in numbers”, the vampire society, including St. Vladmir’s students, assembles in a ski resort in Idaho. The only problem? Three students escape in an irrational attempt to hunt down the Strigoi, and it’s up to Rose to “save” them.

I still hold by on my first impression of Rose: she is one of the strongest female protagonists I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Rose is still feisty, snarky, and stubborn as heck, but when Lissa becomes too consumed in her new romance and Dimitri finds another love interest, she becomes alone and it takes a toll on her. But instead of giving in to the loneliness (as I would have), she endured it. She tried to manage it as best as she could – she slipped a couple of times, naturally, but she handled herself so well. The thing I liked best about Rose is that you could visibly see her growing as a character. Through various events, she learns a lot of restraint in this novel. She was able to constrain her own feelings and let someone go so that they would be happy – she finally placed someone else’s feelings (besides Lissa’s) before her own.

There aren’t enough words I could say to convey how amazing Rose was in this novel. Sure, she makes mistakes, but she learns from them. Her fierce determination to protect those she loved towards the end of the novel, as well as the fact that she wouldn’t leave without them, was almost heartbreaking. She’s the strongest character I’ve met so far, yet what is truly remarkable is that you see her flaws flourish. The events at the end really shook her up – she always wanted to be cool and bad ass, and join the “grown-ups”. Then when she finally had, she realized it wasn’t as glorious as she expected. I enjoyed seeing that side of Rose, because it portrayed her flaws so perfectly.

Lissa is not so annoying in this novel! She’s on depression meds, has a new romance, and all is well with her. She pretty much ditches Rose because she spends all her time with Christian (which is only too realistic to “real world” relationships). I was surprisingly pleased with Christian’s involvement in this novel. I loved his attitude, and how he cast aside his personal feelings when the time called for it.

Dimitri kind of pissed me off this time – he was so bipolar in regards to his sort-of-relationship with Rose. I do, however, love the explanation for why at the end. I didn’t know I could get so giddy after such a heart-breaking scene. Their romance was more sweet and languid than the first time around. It would build up to a point, then go back down when Dimitri realized he has to put duty first, and back up again, etc. Finally, it culminated at the end during Dimitri’s final decision.

Mason... I couldn’t help but compare Mason to Eric from House of Night. He was the doting, adoring love-sick puppy that follows the main character around. He’s the generic perfect boyfriend, complete with jealousy issues and an assurance that they’ll get emotionally hurt, that NO main character ever chooses. I’m actually looking forward to getting to know Mia more in the up-coming novel. (I’m just taking a wild guess and assuming Rose and Mia are going to be sort-of-friends now). There was a lot more to Mia this time than her one-dimensional unwarranted anger towards Rose. She was an equally lonely soul and was way more vulnerable than I would have imagined.

Rose’s mother makes an appearance! Since I was so absorbed into Rose’s mindset, I didn’t enjoy her mother as much as I wanted to. But of course, when they finally had their mother-daughter moment of bonding, I cried. Yes, I cried. I can’t wait to see what happens with Adrian – I’ve read a couple of reviews before I even started this series and saw his name thrown around a lot, so I’m guessing he becomes a more prominent character.

Suspense still plagues the plot in the first half of the novel, because we’ve never really been introduced to a full-fledged Strigoi. When Moroi start getting attacked by groups of Strigoi (which is unheard of), I was pretty much on the edge of my seat the entire time. The pacing was good – nothing lagged too much, and there was always something vital happening every other chapter or so.

My predictions for this novel were so off. There’s really only one twist (I think so, anyway – everything else was given to us), which involves the Strigoi. I was placing my bets on what character would be involved with the event, but I never in a million years would have guessed Richelle picked the character that she did.

This is a spoiler:
I could have SWORN it was going to be Eddie that died! Authors hardly ever kill off secondary-sort-of-main characters (JK Rowling excluded)! My jaw was pretty much hanging WIDE OPEN when Isaiah snapped Mason’s neck! She kills off Mason and now it could pretty much be a free for all! Any characters can go. No one is safe anymore. =s

Cover Musings: THERE IS A STRIGOI ON THE COVER! I didn’t notice it until I got to Isaiah’s part! I thought it was another love interest! =x How is that for foreshadowing? Once again, I love the female model for the cover. I also love how they incorporated a more somber color scheme to fit with the mood of the novel.

Memorable Quotes:
I said earlier that dead things don’t always stay dead. Well, I’m one of them. Don’t worry—I’m not like the Strigoi. But I did die once. (I don’t recommend it.) (pg. 4)
He’s hot—like, the kind of hot that makes you stop walking on the street and get hit by traffic. (pg. 6)
The rest of us just sort of stared. I don’t think anyone had expected Adrian to suddenly take an abrupt trip to Crazyville. (pg. 203)
I grabbed the Maglite and clocked him on the back of the head. He grunted and crumpled to the ground. He’d barely seen me coming, and despite the horribleness of what I’d just done, I kind of wished one of my instructors had been there to grade me on such an awesome performance. (pg. 244-245)
"So, how do we find them?" asked Christian.
I shrugged. "Maybe if we act like Strigoi, they’ll try to stake us." (pg. 249)
By all accounts, if you got all your blood sucked out of you, you also got enough endorphins pumped in during the process to dull most of the pain. It was like going to sleep. Of course, that was all speculation. People who died from vampire bites didn’t really come back to report on the experience. (pg. 289)
When a person can see into your soul, it’s hard. It forces you to be open. Vulnerable. It’s much easier being with someone who’s just more of a casual friend. (pg. 326)

Overall Thoughts/Final CommentsI loved this book more than I loved Vampire Academy. Is that even possible? Frostbite sinks its teeth into you with a vice like bite and absolutely refuses to let go until you’re completely absorbed into the story. The plot is gripping, intriguing and mysterious; it compels you to turn those pages faster to get to the “main events”. The characters this time around were even better than the first time (again, is that possible?). Rose does a lot of growing up in this novel, although she does most of it solo.

If you’ve not picked up the Vampire Academy series yet, I strongly urge you to go do so. This is an amazing series that I regret putting off reading for so long.


brandileigh2003 said...

I love this series soo much. I never noticed the S on the cover-- I was so eager to read it I guess :)

I agree about D- but I understand where he is coming from, he loves her but it is forbidden on so many levels!

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Vanessa Valiente said...

I love this series, sooooo much. Great review.

Come Check out my blog...you just won an award...I know you have already received this one, but I think your blog is great:)


Kristina Barnes♥ said...

@Brandi: Me too! I'm a huge, huge fan of VA now! :)

Like I said, I didn't notice the S either! I seriously thought that was going to be a new love interest. I didn't even take a look at him closely! Also, I totally understand where Dimitri is coming from -- it's his nature to be the controlled, collected one.

@Dealings of a Book Junkie: Thanks! I love it too! xD

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