Top positive review
as the unlikely ally and love interest of the confused Lissa
on 5 March 2016
I actually don't know if I can make this spoiler free. After the battering my heart took in Frostbite, both from the loss of Mason, and the almost-loss of Dimitri, it's fair to say that I couldn't wait to get into this because I was foolish, and hadn't learned any lessons.
This whole book was a panicked heartbeat for me; Rose is facing trials alongside her fellow dhampirs, her friendship with Lissa is taking its toll on her emotionally, magically and physically, as Lissa learns more and more about Spirit, and Rose keeps more and more from her.
The bond they share, which has always helped Rose guard Lissa, is proving a hindrance to their relationship as time goes by.
How have I not mentioned Christian Ozera, until now? OK. The surly, sarcastic Christian, the outcast of the Moroi Royal Family, thanks to his parents desire to willingly turn Strigoi (you know, the evil, immortal vampires) joins us in Vampire Academy, as the unlikely ally and love interest of the confused Lissa. I mention him now because despite the fact that Rose has warmed to him in as much as she can warm to anybody, and despite the fact that he is Lissa's boyfriend, and that she is supposed to be (unofficially) Lissa's guardian when they turn 18 and leave St Vladimir's vampire academy, the guardians decide to challenge her by assigning Christian as her Moroi to guard as part of the trial, instead of Lissa.
The majority of this book centres around the trial of Victor Dashkov, who attempted to kidnap and use Lissa in Vampire Academy for her Spirit power, in order for him to fend off an incurable debilitating illness. And these two stressors leave little time for Rose to discuss her concerns over the bond, confide in her friend or get some relief from the burden of baring it all on such young shoulders.
Not only is Rose haunted by her past with Mason, but she is also haunted by him in day to day life on campus, partly because of the effects of the Spirit bond, and for the fact that she almost died previously (Lissa brought her back using her magic).
In this book we get the first glimpse into the politics of the palace, Lissa's possible future, and into what Dimitri's love can cost. By the end of the book we see how far Rose is willing to go for love, and how much she can truly bare to carry alone.