Publisher: UK – Penguin
It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy and Rose is close to graduation, but since making her first Strigoi kills, things haven't felt quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all . . . might be seeing ghosts. Consumed by her forbidden love with her tutor Dimitri and protecting her best friend, the Moroi princess Lissa, Rose is in no state to see the deadly threat that will change her entire world - and make her choose between the two people she loves most.
After enjoying Vampire Academy and Frostbite I was really looking forward to Rose’s next adventure and I wasn’t disappointed. We join Rose, Lissa and of course Dimitri at the start of the Guardian’s field test where they are assigned a Mori to guard while the instructors ‘fake’ attacks to see how the guardians will react. Add to this Rose is still dealing with the aftermath of events in Frostbite and starts to see ghosts...
There was significantly less teen angst this time round as Rose really starts to grow into a woman and makes some mature decisions. This doesn’t stop her from acting before thinking on occasion though! There is plenty of action throughout with some additional politics included during a trip to the vampire court. As before the prose is a delight and the characters leap of the page and practically demand their inclusion in your heart. The relationship between Dimitri and Rose takes a deep turn here with both of them actually starting to have hope for the future. However, once again Richelle Mead proves to be the queen of last minute rug-pull changes as the stakes are raised once again. It’s very refreshing to read a series where just because you like the characters, doesn’t mean that they’re safe. It makes the danger feel very real as you never know who will survive and who might not.
A fabulous instalment leaving me on the edge of my seat for the next book – and I’m sure I will fall off before I finish the series!
Recommended for fans of Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers and Rachel Vincent. 9 out of 10.