Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review - Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2)Frostbite
by Richelle Mead
Paperback, 327 pages
Published April 10th 2008 by Razorbill

Premise: Ganked from Goodreads:

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose... 

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...

My Review:


Frostbite has a kick, just like the title suggests. Rose's snarky attitude is starting to cost her. Everywhere she turns, she runs into choices - about her mom, Lissa & Christian, Dimitri, Mason... not to mention Adrian! What a character! This book could stand alone, the author provides plenty of filler for a new reader to catch up on what they might have missed in Vampire Academy. That was my least favorite part - all the filler details. What I loved was Rose's character development. I learned so much about her. BFF forever!!  The story picks up pace until it's sprinting. The closer I got towards the end, the harder it was to put down.

My Rating:  I gotta break it down 'cause I hate giving the same rating to entirely different books:

2.5 - Filler details. I didn't need 'em and they made me yawn.
5    - Character development. Holy Cow!!  This book is an essential piece of Rose's life!!
4.5 - Action. Even when I guessed what was coming, I was biting my nails. Wonderful!
3.5 - Pace. Those filler moments really set the pace for me. It started too slowly and took time to build up speed.

Overall: 4 - Good book!

The thing is... I need to discuss some details. So, this is where newbies to VA should stop and consider adding it to their TBR. (Go for it!) All you VA nuts out there...

 let's talk about Frostbite!!!

This section contains Spoilers!!

Ok... first my complaint. I found myself dragging my way through the first half because I kept running into more detailed descriptions of what I had learned in VA. I am still conflicted on how I feel about that. Either my intelligence is being insulted or I am not being left behind… veeeery thoroughly. Do I say “thanks”? or “no thanks!” I started skipping entire paragraphs once the author began her review voice.

Rose - OMG!!  She has always had so much attitude towards the Moroi system and rules in general. In Frostbite she learns so many hard lessons!! Her willingness to accept who she is and adjust made me just love her.

There's her mom. I totally picture this little ball of tight energy - a grown up version of Rose, just a little shorter and a little colder. Like post-hard knocks. And Rose has so much resentment towards her... that fighting scene? The one where the two of 'em are "training" and Rose is pushing her mom's buttons?  How awesome was that?!?!  Ha!  It seemed like "black eye" was a language Rose understood, too, you know? Like suddenly she can see things (albeit reluctantly) from her mom's point of view. 

Then there's Dimitri. Darn his stiff Russian exterior!! He's so set on being responsible and a good trainer, let alone guardian that he's downright COLD!  Which is totally amplified with Tasha hanging around. I seriously wanted to strangle Dimitri for actually showing a casual, chatty side. I mean, I was gawking. I didn't think it was possible and here he goes showing hidden layers of tenderness... TO THE WRONG PERSON!!

Of course, this is what pushes Rose into examining whether she should hook up with someone closer to her age, too. The differences between Mason and Dimitri are too great. Mason pushes Rose into being responsible with his misplaced confidence, which is deliciously complicated. Talk about fighting yer inner bad-girl!! 

Now Rose is sent into some sort of tailspin, wondering if she's really a rebel at all. Ha! She test her theory and BAM!!  Bad idea!  Innocent Mason jumps at the chance to prove to himself and Rose and all that stupid Moroi system that he's got a great idea and the guts to pull it off! *groan*

We can't forget Adrian, though, right?  I mean, all these comments about "now you get to meet Adrian" and how Adrian competes for hottest fictional character and stuff... I had some high expectations for him. And what is he? Some hot guy that's full of himself and his position in this Moroi system who smokes and drinks... constantly. His cocky flirtations seriously got under my skin so that I was throwing him off as enthusiastically as Rose was. After all the hype, I was sooooo relieved she didn't fall for his smooth ways. I was half afraid she'd be tripping over herself over him, especially as insecure as she was at that moment.

As I'm writing this, I'm into the thick of Blood Promise and I realize Adrian's character is being revealed nice -n- slowly, peeling back layers upon layers of worthy dude underneath this smoke haze. I can't help liking him where I'm at in the series. But back in Frostbite?  I was giving him pure cold shoulder. And I say that was his fault. He's just getting what he asked for. Back then.

*Pause* for a moment of awe that the author created people I can feel so strongly about!!  Wow!

As for the action... the stuff that picked up speed and got to rolling faster than fast so that I was chewin' on my fingers, tense for everyone. Part of what made that entire situation amazing was that the answers were obvious. A moroi was going to have to use magic to get them out of that situation. I mean, I was screaming in frustration when they just allowed themselves to get captured. They really did take that too calmly. But they hadn't made the Human-Strigoi connection that the author set the reader up to see before they did. You know? They were thinking "humans, no problem - irritating, but not life-threatening." 

I was frustrated in the torture chamber, too, because I felt so certain that they'd get too weak to fight back at all. There was such a time pressure crunch, it just about drove me crazy. I accepted that the answers weren't obvious to the characters involved, and I'm curious whether anyone disagrees. It took Rose an agonizingly long time to think of it, too.  

And I did NOT expect them to lose anyone. Seriously... that was a blow that made it hard for me to review Frostbite immediately afterwards. I was in mourning.

I wondered whether everyone would deal with the death as just part of the job, too. Sort of sad, but sort of expected. And I can't tell you how awesome it was and continues to be that each person is honored as the wonderful character they were/are and not schluffed off as "doin' their duty". 

Basically... this book was amazing as far as digging underneath everyone's skin and getting to know 'em all better. I can't imagine what it would have been like to read this book when it came out and have to wait for the next. ARGH!!  But happily... I'm reading on my way!  They are all so REAL to me!!

About the Author:

Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

More on her BIO page.

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See my review of Vampire Academy HERE!!

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)