Now this is a sequel!! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the setting, the characters, the relationship dynamics. Oh it was all glorious. So where to begin??
Rose. I struggled so much to like Rose in the first book, her possessive nature towards Lissa really bugged me, but in this book I felt for her. Rose has grown up and matured, and gives Lissa her space to be with Christian, it's just unfortunate that she also gets to share it too. Even the way he handles things with Dimitri, fine she may say things out of spite or to get a rise from him but they came to an adult decision regarding their future as they both wish to be guardians to Lissa. So the introduction of Christian's aunt is just great. She causes a right stir, not only when it comes to Dimitri but to the Moroi/Strigoi issue. She says what a lot of Moroi are already thinking about are afraid to say, but because of her family reputation anything good or bad she says, no one will want to listen. I feel this is going to be an important issue throughout the books, most likely leading to a final battle or something. With the lack of Dhampirs to protect Moroi it's time to take the fight in their own hands, including the use of Moroi magic which is a big no no when it comes to fighting.
Boy oh boy am I glad the second book is out of school. I can deal with the setting based in a school, I've read House of Night and it was fine. What I couldn't deal with was the over the top bitching, constantly leading to a punch up. But not only was the bitching turned down the maturity was turned up. Sure there are still tensions when it comes to people like Mia and the guys she spread rumours about regarding Rose, but the annoying confrontation aren't there. I think this helped when it came to the arrival of Rose mother, the famous Janine. Although Rose tended to act a little brat like when it came to her, you could understand it. The Dhampir world is either be a guardian or stay home and raise your kid and be a blood whore. I believe the lack of answers about who her dad is doesn't help, nor does her reputation. Everyone will compare Rose to her mother and how amazing of a guardian she is, but for Rose her point of view is so different. But towards the end her attitude does shift, I'm not talking sudden amazing mother daughter bond, but the ice has thawed and there is a respect between the two of them.
Speaking of relationships I'm quite proud of Rose when it comes to her and men. Dimitri is an on going work in progress, but fact she 'gets with' Mason for the right reasons is another reason why I like her. She does it because they do get on, and they would make a good couple, she throws it out there and gives it ago, but when she realises it's wrong she tries to nip it in the bud then and there and not prolong it as she knows Mason feelings towards her are far stronger. Not to mention the new addition of Adrian. Straight away I was suspicious, does he like Rose, is he only being friendly to get to Lissa, is he working with Victor?? I feel we won't be getting rid of him any time soon.
So the end. Wow, the kidnapping was a great example of what Christian's aunt Tasha was talking about. How Rose deals with this was brilliant, her personality changed slightly after the discovery at the beginning, she was treated more like guardian, after seeing what she saw you can't really talk to her like she a child. and Dimitri certainly doesn't. So to see her trying to think of ways to save them all and really step up was great. Rose can easily fill the shoes of her mother, and I believe everyone sees it including her mum, well towards the end anyway.
All in all this was a great read and a great sequel. Seeing Rose step up her game was so good, right from the get go you sense she's different, seeing those dead bodies obviously made something click inside, no matter how much training you do nothing will prepare you for the actual dead, a single body is one thing but a whole house full is mentally scaring. Top marks.