Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.
First, let me tell you that in one school district, and no I don't remember which one because I read through all of the ones posted on the ALA website and couldn't remember or find it when I needed it (should have taken notes!) banned not only all of the published books from this series but any future publications. So they are banning books that they don't even know the content of from their shelves. Can we say First Amendment rights, anyone?
Okay, first I'll tell you what I didn't like about this book. LISSA. Could she have been anymore pathetic and weak? Every time they said her name I thought of a limp lifeless runway model. I didn't know why the author didn't just have Rose carry her everywhere. Okay, she did lose her family in a horrible car crash and almost lost Rose. That was awful, but it was also well over two years ago. Seek therapy if you're still that lifeless. She is so obviously depressed and Rose should know that through their connection. Now I did like the fact that she didn't jump right back into the politics and phoniness of the royals. So I'll give her some points for that. But it just seemed like she was always depressed and worried or anxious and because of the connection between her and Rose, it got to Rose, too.
Now Rose, on the otherhand was truly a strong female protagonist. She took her punishment like a man. She was snarky and bold. She held her head up even when everyone was laughing at her and whispering behind her back and she took her job as Lissa's guardian seriously. She listened in through her connection to her moods and was a huge help to her when she was down. She saved her life on more than one occasion and she put her party hard and play hard life behind her for the sake of keeping her best friend safe.
The story begins with Lissa feeding off of Rose. Apparently this is a big no-no in the Dhampir/Moroi society.
They have been absent from the school for two years, on the run for some reason we don't know until much later in the book. Rose looks out the window while Lissa is in the kitchen fixing food for her when she sees a man obviously watching her and she knows this is it. The school has found them. Why are they so important? Lissa is a Moroi princess, the last in her bloodline. Rose is too weak after having her blood taken to run fast enough to get away, so they are caught. Back at school they never reveal the real reason they ran and the princess is not punished because Rose, as her guardian should never have let her run and should have brought her back.
The mental/emotional/ psyhic connection they have between each other is unexplainable and only known by a few people. Even less people know the powers that Lissa has. Slowly the girls are accepted back into the fold and then Mia, who seems to hate Lissa for an unknown reason, destroys Rose, even makes the stalwart Rose cry. And Lissa's plan to get her back is to slowly get back into the royals good graces and control the rumors about Rose. In the meantime, Rose is enduring solitary confinement in her room and harsh training sessions with the gorgeous Dimitri.
Tensions build slowly until Lissa and Rose have a fight and are no longing speaking to each other. Rose is miserable and Lissa appears to be as well. Rose has been doing research on St.Vladimir, the saint that the academy is named after. She was actually listening to the priest when he mentioned the saint and "the shadow kissed Anna" who went everywhere with him and helped him stay sane as he healed the sick. They had the same type of bond that Lissa and Rose have and she tried to figure out what Shadow Kissed means. Then a frightening vision brings Rose to Dimitri and the head of the Academy to save Lissa.
The story line was a little slow for me in parts and of course the ending left lots of loose threads because this is a series. It was tidy, but the conniving little Mia is still out there gathering information on Lissa from somewhere, privy to secrets she shouldn't have. And anyone could go Stigori at any time, even Lissa.
I'm not dying to read the next book, but I probably will just to see if Lissa gets a steel rod implanted in her back so she doesn't have to have Rose hold her up all the time.
Definitely for older teens as there is some sexual content in it. I'm assuming that's why the whole series was banned. I'm sure what happened in the book is tame to some of what's happening in that school district. But, again, if the kids want to read it, they'll get their hands on it one way or another. Banning it only makes it more tantalizing.
Heather in Sandwich