I'm really not sure about these two on the cover. The only conclusion I can come to is that it's Christian and Lissa, though I'm sure it's supposed to be Rose and Dimitri. And while I can buy that that girl could be Lissa, the dude is definitely not Christian. Or Dimitri. Ah, well. So I picked up the second Vampire Academy book hoping for more standout world building and perhaps a little more in-depth character development. I finished Vampire Academy enthused about the series' possibilities, but a little disenchanted with the characters as well as the info-dump climax. The villain starts monologuing and I'm rolling my eyes. I do enjoy Richelle Mead's smooth writing and the upfront approach she takes to running her characters through the mill and seeing what comes out on the other side. So I went into Frostbite with an open mind.
Life at St. Vlad's has entered a sort of holding pattern. Rose and Dimitri have agreed to stay away from each other "socially." You know, in the interest of putting their duty as dhampir above the desires of their hearts. Dimitri is thinking of moving on, both professionally and emotionally, while Rose's friend Mason would give his right arm for a few quality minutes alone with Dimitri's girl. Christian and Lissa, on the other hand, have decided to make a go of it and their open affection is grating like fingernails on a chalkboard on Rose's nerves. Her little psychic connection with Lissa makes romantic encounters more than a little uncomfortable. So when a proposed Christmas vacation trip to a resort and ski lodge comes up, Rose jumps at the chance, eager to escape even for a little while. Add in a Strigoi attack on some veteran guardians, and an unexpected visit from Rose's mother, and the beginnings of a potentially enormous power shift, and you've got quite the little powder keg. While hobnobbing among the Moiroi elite, Rose encounters well-known bad boy Adrian Ivashkov. Adrian has his own demons and they may have connections with Lissa, and hence with Rose.
This installment was a decided improvement on the first book. I enjoyed taking everyone out of their usual haunts and setting them down in a new environment to see how nicely they play. Trust Rose to make it not very nicely at all. Her face-offs with her mother were especially enjoyable, one workout scene in particular had me grinning. This scene in particular served to place me firmly on Rose's side. I understood her anger and outrage and considered it perfectly justified. When it comes to Dimitri I fear I'm a little bit through. Rose's love and longing and general forlorn-ness I totally get. Hell, I remember feeling precisely that way at her age. But Dimitri's 24. I'm somehow a little less sympathetic with his plight and wish he would just man up and decide. My opinion here is no doubt influenced by Adrian. True to form, I'm a fan of the bad boy. Clove cigarettes and constant self-medicating aside, the boy is mysterious and funny and interesting and I am a fan of whatever will bring he and Rose a little closer together. There. I've said it. You can sign me up for Team Adrian from here on out. Frostbite has the deeper development of Rose's character that I was hoping for and it builds up to a genuine nail-biter of a climax. I throughly enjoyed it. Point to you, Ms. Mead. On to book three.