So far, I think this is the book that Rose annoys me the most in.
Things have changed. Rose has left the academy, but since she still has her bond with Lissa, we still get to see what’s going on at the Academy anyway. Interesting thing about this bond that I didn’t realize before is that Rose apparently has the ability to go back in Lissa’s mind to previous events. My question to that is, how far back can Rose go, then? Back to when they were kids? To when they were in the accident that eventually bonded them? I guess it’s too much to try and make sense of it and just let it be.
Anyway, yes, this book takes a dramatic change of scenery now that Rose has left and gone to Russia on a solo mission. Now, considering that she’s only 18 at the time and in very unfamiliar territory, I guess it’s actually a miracle that she’s able to find where she wants to go, eventually, but not without its bumps and turns.
I do find interest in meeting new characters, and they abound in this book. You have Sydney Sage, an alchemist who helps Rose out, though not too thrilled about having to do so. They don’t hate each other, but Sydney has issues with all vampires and dhampirs even though, as an alchemist, she’s sworn to help them. Not by her choosing, of course, which makes her quite an interesting character.
Then there’s the mob-leader-like Moroi, Abe Mazur, who also helps Rose in a dire situation, but makes it clear that he doesn’t like her there and wants her out of the country.
Not too far along the book, Rose meets Dimitri’s family at his hometown. Now, I’m torn here because, as much as I found Rose’s time with his family and their friends there interesting by way of character development, I also found it annoying on Rose’s part. For some reason, I do enjoy her snarky attitude, but found little of it here. At times, she seemed too confused and meek in the presence of the Belkovs that I wanted her to leave as soon as possible. And when she did, I was relieved, because I knew she would set off to do as she planned, and that was to face Dimitri and kill him.
Of course, there was also the situation at the academy, which Rose checks in on by way of Lissa, and there are new characters there. Avery Lazar and her family, her father being assigned at the academy. As new characters go, she’s definitely one of those that I wasn’t too sure to trust, which is not surprising, so it didn’t surprise me how things turned out by the end of the book regarding her character.
When Rose finally is confronted with Dimitri, things definitely don’t turn out the way she planned, and this part of the book frustrated me, basically because Rose continued her meekness during this time as well. She wasn’t the snarky, sarcastic, ready-to-fight anything and anyone Rose Hathaway in the previous books. And Dimitri even says it to her, that she’s weak. You can’t help but agree, but at the same time, you’re wondering when on earth she’s finally going to break out of this “spell” that she’s under.
However, considering that there are people in this world that are kind of like that when it comes to the situation they’re trapped in, it’s not uncommon for this to happen, where a person loses himself/herself to their addiction, the same way Rose loses herself to hers when Dimitri does what he does to her.
I appreciated that idea, but again, I was also frustrated with it. When Rose finally pulls out of her meekness, that’s when things go to the action, which by this time I’m starved for. I had to say, Richelle Mead’s way of writing in these fight scenes is pretty good. She makes you mentally exhausted for Rose, but also determined for said character as well, all the while knowing that you don’t want her to do what she has to do to Dimitri.
She does it again when Rose has to help, in a very unusual way, Lissa at the academy.
At the end of the book, I was pretty satisfied with it. Sure, there’s still a lot of things to be dealt with for Rose and Lissa, but it makes for some (hopefully) exciting drama in the next book(s). I mean, there’s Adrian and Dimitri that Rose has to deal with, and there’s Christian that Lissa has to deal with.
Again, the story was a bit too long for me in some scenes, particularly Rose’s time in Baia, with Dimitri’s family. Sure, it was nice to meet Dimitri’s family, but Rose definitely stayed too long there, questioning herself way too much.
I gave it 4 stars because I couldn’t give it 3.7 stars.