Book: Frostbite by Richelle Mead (Book 2 of 6) Sponsor
Note: These reviews may contain inadvertent spoilers about the book. Read at your own risk.
It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks….This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.
But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…
I jumped down from the Pilot, my boots sinking through an inch of smooth snow and crunching on the gravel of the driveway. The day was still and silent, save for the occasional breath of wind. Dimitri and I walked up to the house, following a river rock sidewalk that cut through the front yard. I could see him sliding into his business mode, but his overall attitude was as cheery as mine. We’d both taken a kind of guilty satisfaction in the pleasant car ride.
My foot slipped on the ice covered sidewalk, and Dimitri instantly reached out to steady me. I had a weird moment of déjà vu to the first night we’d met, back when he’d also saved me from a similar fall. Freezing temperatures or not, his hand felt warm on my arm, even through the layers of down in my puffer coat.
“You okay?” He released his hold, to my dismay.
“Yeah,” I said, casting accusing eyes to the icy sidewalk. “Haven’t these people ever heard of salt?”
I meant it jokingly, but Dimitri suddenly stopped walking. I instantly came to a halt too. Tension so palpable it nearly slapped me snapped into place around him. He turned his head, eyes searching the broad, white plains surrounding us before settling back on the house. I wanted to ask questions, but something in his posture told me to stay silent. He studied the building for almost a full minute, looked down at the icy sidewalk, then glanced back at the driveway, covered in a sheet of snow broken only by our footprints.
Cautiously, he approached the front door, and I followed. He stopped again, this time to study the door. It wasn’t open, but it wasn’t entirely shut either. It looked like it had been closed in haste, not sealing. Further examination showed scuffs along the door’s edge, as though it had been forced at some point. The slightest nudge would open it. Dimitri lightly ran his fingers along where the door met its frame, his breath making small clouds in the air. When he touched the door’s handle it jiggled a little, like it had been broken.
Finally, he said quietly, “Rose, go wait in the car.”
One word—but one filled with power. In that single syllable I was reminded of the man I’d seen throw people around and stake a Strigoi. I backed up, walking on the snow covered lawn rather than risk the sidewalk. Dimitri stood where he was, not moving until I’d slipped back into the car, closing the door as softly as possible. Then with the gentlest of movements, he pushed on the barely held door and disappeared inside.
Burning with curiosity, I counted to ten and then climbed out of the car.
I knew better than to go in after him, but I had to know what was going on with this house. The neglected sidewalk and driveway indicated no one had been home for a couple days, although it could also mean the Badicas simply never left the house. It was possible, I supposed, that they’d been the victims of an ordinary break-in by humans. It was also possible that something had scared them off—say, like Strigoi. I knew that possibility was what had made Dimitri’s face turn so grim, but it seemed an unlikely scenario with Arthur Schoenberg on duty.
Standing on the driveway, I glanced up at the sky. The light was bleak and watery, but it was there. Noon. The sun’s highest point today. Strigoi couldn’t be out in sunlight. I didn’t need to fear them, only Dimitri’s anger.
I circled around the right side of the house, walking in much deeper snow—almost a foot of it. Nothing else weird about the house struck me. Icicles hung from the eaves, and the tinted windows revealed no secrets. My foot suddenly hit something, and I looked down. There, half-buried in the snow, was a silver stake. It had been driven into the ground. I picked it up and brushed off the snow, frowning. What was a stake doing out here? Silver stakes were valuable. They were a guardian’s most deadly weapon, capable of killing a Strigoi with a single strike through the heart. When they were forged, four Moroi charmed them with magic from each of the four elements. I hadn’t learned to use one yet, but gripping it in my hand, I suddenly felt safer as I continued my survey.
A large patio door led from the back of the house to a wooden deck that probably would have been a lot of fun to hang out on in the summer. But the patio’s glass had been broken, so much so that a person could easily get through the jagged hole. I crept up the deck steps, careful of the ice, knowing I was going to get in major trouble when Dimitri found out what I was doing. In spite of the cold, sweat poured down my neck.
Daylight, daylight, I reminded myself. Nothing to worry about.
I reached the patio and studied the dark glass. I couldn’t tell what had broken it. Just inside, snow had blown in and made a small drift on pale blue carpet. I tugged on the door’s handle, but it was locked. Not that that mattered with a hole that big. Careful of the sharp edges, I reached through the opening and unlocked the handle’s latch from the inside. I removed my hand just as carefully and pulled open the sliding door. It hissed slightly along its tracks, a quiet sound that nonetheless seemed too loud in the eerie silence.
I stepped through the doorway, standing in the patch of sunlight that had been cast inside by opening the door. My eyes adjusted from the sun to the dimness within. Wind swirled through the open patio, dancing with the curtains around me. I was in a living room. It had all the ordinary items one might expect. Couches. TV. A rocking chair.
And a body.
Read chapter 1 in full.
Who knew that Christmas time at St. Vladimir’s Academy could be so eventful? Lust, snow, injury, ski slopes, and multiple twists and turns make this book an addictive read. And all of this goes on while the adults are busy dealing with the recent development of Strigoi cooperation with humans.
It all starts with an attack on a Moroi royal family killing the entire household including their guardians which throws a wrench in the Moroi’s winter plans as parents are worried about taking their children out of the Academy’s protection. Thankfully, a Moroi family owns a ski lodge that can house the royal elite nearby and everyone takes the ski vacation in hopes to relax, even if it’s just a little.
Two of the main characters will be drawn together through a shared experience, the death of a loved one. It will be interesting to continue reading the series and see how the experience changes their relationship – if it does at all.
And you finally get to meet Rose’s mother. Actually Rose’s face meets her mother’s fist. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.
This is the second book in the Vampire Academy series which we’ll be reviewing this month. Read all of the reviews here.
Pick up your copy of Frostbite from your local library, request it on Paperback Swap, or buy a copy on Amazon. You can also get a signed copy of Richelle Mead books by following the directions on her website.