Frostbite is the second installment in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. This book highlights the danger of Strigoi more than the first, with the main scene at the beginning depicting just how dangerous and bloodthirsty they are. It also keeps the young adult, paranormal romance genre alive with the growing sexual tension between Rose and Dimitri, plus adding other characters to try and push the two characters away from each other.
It follows closely with the ending of the first book and starts with Rose and Dimitri getting ready to travel to a respectable guardians home for her qualifier. There is a lot of focus on Rose and her feelings for Dimitri, Mead highlighting the way they work well together and the ease they have with each other even with the awkward lust spell they were under at the end of the first book. Their trip is stopped with the discovery that the royal Moroi family that the guardian protects had all be slaughtered including other multiple guardians by Strigoi. It introduces the new calculating ways of the bloodthirsty beasts with the discovery of a silver stake--which Strigoi cannot touch--used to take down the magical shields around the house. This indicates to the guardians that the Stirgoi have humans working for them, which is an odd concept because Stirgoi are famous for their inability to work with others.
This event increases the security at St Vladimir's Academy with more guardians brought into the school to protect the Moroi and Dhampirs. One of the added guardians is Janine Hathaway, a very renown guardian and Rose's mother. Neither Rose or Janine get a long well with each other since Janine made the decision to put her guardianship before being a mother, which led to Rose feeling abandoned. On top of this, Rose is dealing with Lissa's new relationship with Christian, where she gets sucked into the head of her when things start to heat up between each other. This increases her frustrations about her feelings towards Dimitri, which are also threatened by the introduction of Tasha Ozera, Christian's aunt.
With the increased security at St Vladimir's, all the students who are not taken away by their parents are sent on a ski trip under the watchful eye of multiple guardians. While they are there, another attack against Moroi is reported with a family found slaughtered under similar circumstances as the first, and more fear builds within the students and guardians at the ski lodge. Rose finds herself having fun in the midst of the drama, enjoying the ski trip and showing off to her friend and love interest, Mason. Their relationship grows rapidly in this story as a way for Rose to cope with the ongoing turmoil of her feelings towards Dimitri and Tasha's growing relationship. On top of this, Rose is introduced to Adrian Ivashkov, a royal Moroi with an addiction to smoking and alcohol and has very bad reputation. His feelings towards her are very obvious but are pushed to the side when he discovers he and Lissa are very similar.
With ongoing parties and tensions rising among Moroi and Dhampir over their protection, Frostbite takes us on a wild journey that hooks us back into the series. It is an effective story that evokes feelings of sympathy towards some characters and aggravation towards others, while also giving us a deeper look into the hierachal system within the Moroi and Dhampirs that was not seen in the first book.
What I thought
I never read this book when I was younger, which is a shame because I know I would have loved this one just as much, or more, than the first. This story really brought the series up a level from where the last book left us. Although I liked the plot twists in the first book, I wasn't left with positive feeling for the rest of the series. The action was there in the conflicts between characters in the last book, and the transformation of Natalie Dashkov into a Strigoi really shocked me. However, if the rest of the series continued in the same fashion I knew I was going to get tired of it.
Now let me tell you, that was definitely not the case. Mead puts this book into another gear, and with most introductions of the characters and the basics around the Moroi, Dhampir and Strigoi lifestyles already done in the first book. Because of this, the story is able to expand on the complexities of Moroi life and the real dangers for the guardians. It is also able to add in some comedic value to the text, with lighthearted moments being as memorable as the action-packed serious events. It is in these lighthearted moments where we grow to love the different characters, which is a very evil thing for Mead to do with how the story ends (SPOILER: if you're an emotional mess like me when reading books, have some tissues at the ready!). There were some interesting plot twists in the story that I definitely didn't guess would happen, although there were some that seemed a little obvious with how the text was moving. It didn't disappoint me though since the rest of the book was written in such an engaging way that I enjoyed it nonetheless.
In regards to the ongoing relationship troubles, I did still cringe from time to time at how cliched some parts were but I found myself becoming a little more invested in the relationships that formed. Since the text, like the first, is written with simplicity, it doesn't take much to guess how the relationship between some characters will end. However, it is still enjoyable (to a point) to see how they get there, although there were times where I felt compelled to scream at the book 'JUST GET ON WITH IT'. The addition of new characters that build on some of these relationship issues I enjoyed. However, I felt the mother-daughter aggression between Rose and Janine was a little frustrating and very spoilt-brat like, which shows Rose's low maturity level, so if you didn't like Rose's immaturity in the first book... well it doesn't get much better in the second.
In my last review, I made mention to the fact there wasn't a lot of action. Frostbite certainly has more in it and there is definitely a growing feeling of impending danger for the characters. However, it probably still won't hit the mark for you action lovers out there with the real action, again, only happening right at the end. Nevertheless, there is definitely a feeling of increased danger and drama that is rocking the world of Moroi and Dhampir, and promises us more in the next installment: Shadow Kiss.
Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.