This review may contain inadvertent spoilers. Proceed at your own risk. Some information and images come from promotional material.
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires–the ones who never die.The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir; she is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.
After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking hearts.
Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir’s–but their world is fraught with danger both inside and out of the Academy’s iron gates. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever…
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.
When I first picked up the book, I was unsure if I could really get into a vampire series. I’ve seen a couple of the Twilight movies and wasn’t all that impressed with the whole vampire thing. I’ve picked up vampire books in the past and rarely been able to get past the first few chapters. However this book is different. Yes, it’s about vampires but it’s not about blood sucking, goth looks, and dark world magic. And, it’s not a love story. Nor a triangle love story.
It is about an uncanny friendship between Lissa, a Moroi princess, and Rose, a Dhampir guardian in training. Prior to the book, Lissa, Rose, and Lissa’s family were involved in an accident which left only Lissa and Rose alive. Shortly after the accident, Lissa and Rose discovered that they’re minds were bonded, something that rarely happens between a Moroi and their guardian. When Rose believes Lissa’s life is in danger, she convinces Lissa to flee the academy. The book begins when Rose and Lissa are captured and returned to the academy.
As they begin to settle into their new yet old surroundings, little things start to go wrong. There are rumors circulating about the reason behind why they left, what went on while they were away, and why they’ve returned. They encountered a few new faces and some familiar ones; Aaron, Lissa’s ex-boyfriend, Mia, Aaron’s current girlfriend, Christian, an outcast Moroi royal, Natalie, Lissa’s cousin, Dimitri, a guardian assigned to push Rose through extra training sessions, and a myriad of other classmates, teachers, and administrators. They used to be part of the popular crowd but decide to take a low key approach upon returning to the academy.
Coasting through the middle doesn’t last long before they are forced to rejoin the popular crowd in an attempt to uncover who’s causing Lissa trouble and put a stop to it. Is it Christian, the outcast Moroi royal? Maybe Mia, Lissa’s ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend? What if the Strigoi are behind the trouble?