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Updated: Mar 25, 2021

Check out our episode here! Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Rose Hathaway, dhampir, and Lissa Dragomir, Moroi vampire princess, have been back at St. Vladimir's Academy for three months after their two years on the run. Their lives are pretty much back to normal now. Lissa is still on her antidepressants to manage the toll using spirit magic takes on her body. Spirit is still a new thing and not many people know about it, and Rose and Lissa still don't know what all she can do with it, other than healing and super compulsion, but with the antidepressants, Lissa is unable to use her magic at all. She tells Rose that she's worried her medication might be failing because the bad feelings are starting to creep back in. Rose, using the psychic bond they share after Lissa used her spirit magic to bring Rose back to life after the car accident that killed her entire family, searches Lissa's mind to make sure she's telling the truth. Rose senses a darkness inside Lissa, can almost touch it, and it makes her feel sick. She searches again and the darkness is gone. Maybe her medication isn't failing after all. After making sure that Lissa is completely fine, Rose leaves to find Dimitri, her smoking hot mentor that she's definitely in love with. He's taking her to a guardian interview that she has to pass if she wants to graduate in the spring and become Lissa's guardian.

Rose and Dimitri have a long car ride ahead of them. They are driving five hours away to meet Arthur Schoenberg, the Badica family guardian who is even more badass than Dimitri, to administer the interview. When they arrive, things don't look right. The door to the house is broken, so Dimitri asks Rose to stay in the car while he investigates. And of course she does not. She walks around to the back of the house and finds a silver stake plunged into the ground. That is weird. The glass door into the back of the house is shattered, so she slips inside and finds bodies. Dead Moroi. Everywhere. Dimitri grabs her from behind and tells her if he were a Strigoi, an evil undead vampire, she'd be dead. But it's noon and Strigoi can't be out during the day, so she knew she'd be fine. How is it possible that all these Moroi and their guardians are dead? It was a Strigoi attack and it likely happened a few days ago. The silver stake Rose found broke the magical wards set up around the house. But how is that possible? Strigoi can't touch the silver stakes and there's no way a Moroi would help them break through the ward. A human might though. And that's not good at all.

Dimitri calls some other guardians and they all do a walk-through when they arrive. Dimitri asks Rose to explain what happened, kind of like a lesson. Always with the training, this guy. The Badicas were having a get-together and at least four Strigoi broke in and killed them all and their guardians and their children. In a house without a ward, there would have been a guardian outside, checking the perimeter, but with the ward in place, they were all inside the house. And then the ward was broken and everyone was killed in a surprise attack. In an upstairs bathroom, a message was scrawled in blood. One royal family nearly gone. Others to follow. This makes Rose think of the Dragomir family. Lissa is literally the only one left. This can't be good.

Back at school, everyone is flustered about the attack on the Badicas. Rose talks to Lissa and Christian about it and has a rush of anger. If anyone tried to hurt Lissa, she'd kill them. They all kind of wonder about Rose's exceptionally bad temper, but then start talking about Christmas. It's getting close, and normally, all the students get together with their families or take trips, but not this year. Christian's aunt is coming to campus to visit though. The next day, everyone is excited, especially Rose's dhampir friend Mason. There is a ski resort in Idaho used exclusively by royal Moroi and that's where all the Moroi and guardians and novices will be spending Christmas this year. Ooh! Ski trip! But it's not quite Christmas yet. Rose has a training session with Dimitri where she finally gets to practice with a stake. He makes her mad though when she doesn't know where the heart is located, which is pretty important if that's exactly where you have to stab a Strigoi for them to die. Rose's day gets worse when she goes into one of her guardian classes to find they have guests and one of them is her mother.

Rose and her mother, Janine, do not get along. The visiting guardians tell stories of Strigoi kills and Rose thinks her mother is just in it for the glory and to get the molnija marks. She fails to realize that she and her mother are almost exactly alike and that her mom really truly is a badass. Her mom follows her out after class and they bicker about Rose going on the run for two years and falling behind in her training and about Janine as an absent mother. Rose goes to another training session with Dimitri, tells him exactly where the heart is and gets a silver stake. They practice the best ways to use it and then, after her lesson, she begins to complain about her mother and her boastfulness and how she's just in it for the molnija marks, which is definitely not true, but can you tell a teenager that her mom is actually not that terrible? No. Dimitri realizes that Rose and Janine are exactly alike and decides he's going to show her that killing Strigoi isn't just about getting glory and tattoos.

Dimitri takes Rose to a small cabin on the outskirts of the campus where they find Lissa, Christian and his aunt, Tasha. Tasha saved Christian from his parents when they turned Strigoi and has a huge bite mark scar on her face to show for it. She's beautiful, despite the scar, and charming and funny and really friendly with Dimitri, or Dimka as she calls him, and Rose really likes her. She's shocked to find out that she has no guardians even though she's a royal, and that she lives apart from the rest of the vampires and teaches self defense classes. That is not at all how Moroi royalty are meant to behave. Being a part of a family that turned Strigoi really hurt Tasha's and Christian's reputations, but they don't let it get them down. After leaving the cabin, Rose admits to Dimitri that killing Strigoi is definitely not about the glory or the tattoos and that she knows that her mom is a badass. Good thing she's come to that conclusion because the next day in training, Dimitri isn't there but Janine is. They spar and Rose gets her ass kicked, or, more accurately, her face punched. She spent the entire sparring session griping at her absentee mother, going so far as to say that she selected a mate, Rose's father, just to pass down her fighting genes. She did not say this in a nice way and got a black eye for it. Accidentally of course.

After being released from the medical center, concussion free, Rose goes to see Lissa, but runs into Mia Rinalde on the way. If you will recall, Mia is the tiny evil rumor monger responsible for lots of Rose and Lissa's stress from the first book. She of course has lots to say about Rose's mom blacking her eye, but it's Mia, so we can't expect anything better from her. Rose gets to Lissa's dorm and they talk about the face punch and how it was probably accidental but also probably deserved. If only Lissa could use her spirit magic, she could heal Rose in a second, but no, her medication, though feeling less potent, is still keeping her away from her magic. She is kind of feeling depressed again, but it's not bad. Rose searches inside Lissa and feels the sadness there, but then it's fine and Lissa is back to normal. She tells Rose about some other historical spirit users she found during her lessons. They didn't heal, but one could move objects with his mind. Cool! Then Lissa suggests that Rose try dating Mason. She likes him well enough. Rose all of the sudden wants to tell Lissa everything about Dimitri but then it's time for Lissa to leave to meet up with Christian. Rose goes to her room and decides to just go to bed early when she's suddenly snapped inside Lissa's head. Uh oh! Don't worry, she's not in trouble, but she is about to have sex with Christian. Yikes! Get out of there, Rose! Nobody needs to see that!! She sees enough, finally snaps herself out, and immediately goes to bed.

The next day, Rose is feeling lots of emotions. She runs into Mason on her way to practice with Dimitri and is her flirty old self again. Maybe she should like Mason. He is obviously head over heels for her. He even got her a Christmas present! She invites him to spend Christmas with her, Lissa, Christian and Aunt Tasha which he's super excited about, then they part ways. In training with Dimitri, Rose leaves her hair down, embarrassed for Dimitri to see her black eye. It was fine with Mason, but with Dimitri, she has to be perfect. Fueled by her anger at her mother and the passion and longing left over from experiencing Lissa and Christian's time together, Rose is all over the place in the gym. Dimitri says she should pull her hair back because it'd be dangerous if she were in a real fight, but no. She doesn't want to do that. He forces her to look at him and tries to calm her down, to teach her to keep her emotions in check, but there's no way that's happening with him so close. Plus, she can see those are just words. She can see how he feels, or maybe that's all over. Maybe he feels about her the same way he would feel about anybody else. Then, she kisses him. And he kisses her back. He pulls away, telling her not to tell him how he feels, then leaves the gym.

Dimitri cancels their practices for a few days after that, obviously because their kiss was inappropriate, and then it's Christmas. Lissa, Christian, Rose and Mason spend time with Tasha, and Dimitri arrives looking fine in a black sweater, but he and Rose don't really speak much. Lissa gives Rose an old family heirloom, a rosary-like chotki that is meant to be worn by a Dragomir Guardian. Dimitri and Tasha talk about an old friend of theirs having a ton of babies and laugh and have a lovely time. Rose feels pretty left out, but at least Mason is there. Then her mother shows up and Rose loses Mason to Janine's stories of decapitating Strigoi with axes. The party splits up after that and Rose goes back to her dorm, but Janine comes too. She gives Rose a gift, a charm that looks like an eye, and talks about how Dimitri will be a good match for Tasha. Uh, what? Excuse me? Tasha has asked Dimitri to be her guardian. They will be a nice fit and since Tasha likes him, she might be willing to have dhampir babies with him. Oh no. Oh no! This crushes Rose, but she can't talk to her mom about it. She can't really talk to anyone about it, starts feeling depressed, and tells her mom she's tired and needs to go to bed, aka, she really needs to cry about Dimitri.

They leave for the private Moroi/Dhampir ski resort the next day on a private jet. The resort is very luxurious and Rose and Mason have lots of fun skiing down increasingly dangerous slopes together… until Mason gets hurt. Nothing is broken or anything, except probably his pride, but that puts an end to the slopes for now. On her way back inside the resort, Rose meets a Moroi who is exceptionally flirty with her, especially about the way she smells. His name is Adrian Ivashkov. The Ivashkovs are a very wealthy and famous Moroi family and Adrian is a bit of a troublemaker, much like Rose. Mia walks by, probably taking rumor-notes, but is quickly dismissed by Rose. She and Adrian flirt a little bit more, Adrian more than Rose, but she decides to go in when the smoke from his clove cigarettes starts to bother her. Rose wakes late the next day, Lissa nowhere to be found, so she opens her senses and tracks her down. She finds Lissa in Tasha's room training Christian in offensive magic use. That is super frowned upon in Moroi society, but Rose can see it has its advantages. If a fire user were fighting alongside a guardian, they'd make a good team and could take down several Strigoi, since fire is one of the three ways to kill a Strigoi. When Tasha suggests she and Rose fight Strigoi together sometime, Rose not so nicely declines. She can't get over the fact that Tasha is making moves on Dimitri.

Later, Rose, Lissa and Christian meet up with Mason, but not for long. Lissa and Christian have to do Royal Moroi stuff, so Rose and Mason spend the day together. He's a little upset because he found out about Rose talking to Adrian, who has a reputation of sleeping around. Seriously though, she talked to him for like five minutes. Ahh... But Mia saw them chatting so of course she started up the rumor mill again. Mason suggests he has no right to be upset about Rose talking to Adrian, and then she kisses him. They might not be going out yet, but they're pretty close. That night, Rose has a dream about Adrian, but is it Rose's dream or Adrian's? They have a conversation about Rose being surrounded by darkness and she explains that she's shadow-kissed and that that means she's died and been brought back to life. She's never talked about that to anyone except for Lissa and Victor Dashkov, but this is just a dream, so it can't hurt to talk about it with Adrian, can it? Rose is then jolted awake by Lissa. There has been another huge Strigoi attack!

Like with the Badicas, the Drozdovs, another royal family, were almost all taken out. A dozen or so Moroi and half that many guardians were attacked and killed by what has to be the same group of Strigoi. It's so unlikely that they would work together like this and plan these attacks, especially because they have humans working for them. Something about it being the Drozdov family sticks with Rose and then she remembers… Mia's parents worked for that family and, looking at a list of those killed in the attack, she sees Mia's mother's name. Yikes. The Moroi royalty at the ski resort have a meeting. Almost everyone goes, including Rose and all her friends and Dimitri. Several of the leading royals discuss different plans to keep themselves safe, like living in a commune or sending novice dhampirs out to fight at sixteen instead of eighteen. Tasha is disgusted by this. She takes the stage and suggests instead of complaining that there aren't enough dhampirs to protect the Moroi that they learn to protect themselves and work with the guardians to go after the Strigoi. Then she sets a complainer's sweater on fire. The room erupts into chaos.

Dimitri suggests they leave because nothing else constructive is going to come from that meeting. Rose stays with Dimitri for a few extra minutes and rudely suggests that Dimitri needs to get back in there to protect Tasha and then takes it even farther when she says that Dimitri really seems to like girls that aren't his own age, either several years younger or several years older. Sheesh Rose. Dimitri suggests that what happens between him and Tasha isn't any of her concern. Then Adrian comes up and invites Rose and her friends and Mia, who also arrive just then, to a swimming party at the spa. Everyone is talking about the Strigoi attack. Mia seems to want to fight, too, and of course she would since her mother was just killed. Rose ends up drinking a lot and shambles off to find a fancy dessert to eat when she stumbles into the middle of a fistfight between Moroi. One of them happens to be the complainer with the fiery sweater. She tries to stop their fight, then Mason joins her and pushes one guy into a pool. She leaves the fighters and shambles off again, this time into a room full of feeders. Adrian leads her away and gives her some water to help with her drunkenness and asks questions about Lissa. For some reason, she doesn't mind talking to him, even about this stuff. Lissa shows up then and he asks if she used their bond to find Rose. Nope, it only works one way. Then he asks about her specialization and seems to know a little too much about the fact that she "hasn't specialized yet" in quotes because she has, just in spirit, which is still mostly unknown to everyone. He places his hand on Lissa's and says he'd like to talk to her more about that later. There's a jolt between them and she agrees. Rose not-so-subtly reminds Lissa of Christian, her boyfriend, and then he, Mason and Mia walk in and they all leave together.

They head back to their rooms, Mia walking with Rose for some reason. They actually don't fight, well, too terribly much, then Mia asks Rose how she can use her water magic to help fight Strigoi. Rose, blunt as she is, tells Mia that water is probably the least useful element against the undead vampires. Mia calls Rose a bitch and tells her she's stupid around guys and that Mason is great. Ahh, so Mia has a crush on Mason... Rose goes to him after that and they make out for a bit before he sends her to her room, refusing to take things any further while she's still drunk. He's such a good guy. The next day, Rose gets a package. It's a box of perfumes from Adrian. Part of their first flirty conversation had to do with mixing your own natural smell with perfume, so he sent her a bunch. She smells them all and decides she needs to give them back. Well... all except for one. She packs the box back up and takes it to his room, where she finds Lissa. What?

Before Rose can find out why Lissa is in Adrian's room, Dimitri comes along and sends the girls back to their rooms. Girls should not be in boys' rooms, even if that boy doesn't go to school with them. Dimitri asks Rose to chat for a moment. He talks about how the guardians found out some intel about the Strigoi and that they're likely hiding out in Spokane, but they can't do anything about it just yet. Now, back to being in rooms where you shouldn't be. Rose throws the "what we do is none of your business" comment he used on her about him and Tasha back at him, but it's just childish when she does it. Then he again mentions Adrian's bad reputation, but why is he only chastising her about this? Lissa was actually inside his room! Ahh... He must be jealous. And speaking of jealousy, here comes Tasha, putting her hand on Dimitri's forearm and asking him to come play pool. Dejected, Rose goes back to her room. On her way, she runs into Mason. She tells him about the Strigoi in Spokane and he immediately wants to go. She distracts him, pulls him to her room, and starts making out with him. Geez Rose! Three guys in one day! While she's making out with Mason, she realizes she's imagining kissing Dimitri instead and breaks it off with Mason. He gets pissed because of her hot and cold attitude and leaves the room.

Rose wakes up from a nap when Lissa returns to their room. She's upset because Christian found out about her being in Adrian's room, but really, nothing happened! Instead of finding out why Lissa was in there, she switches the conversation to why Rose was there and then about Mason. So much boy trouble! Rose can't tell Lissa that really Dimitri is behind all her boy trouble even though she wants to. Since Christian is mad at Lissa, that means Rose has to be her plus one to a fancy Moroi dinner party. She's going to have to get used to it if she's going to be her guardian someday. After the dinner, the Moroi royals start bickering about fighting the Strigoi again. Lissa elegantly steps in and suggests that those Moroi who want to fight should train at academies. There are plenty of guardians there whose job it is to train the dhampirs in hand-to-hand combat so no one would be without personal guardians, plus it would be a good idea for young Moroi who want to learn to use their magic offensively too. They could all work together and stay safe. Lissa is really stepping into her role as royalty and impressing a lot of people. Rose sneaks away and is cornered by Adrian. He mentions how she's always following him around and how this is the fifth time that they've spoken, but no. Rose says it's just been four: the first time outside, then the spa party, then returning the perfumes and now. But oh wait... He doesn't mean that dream... does he? He talks about Lissa being able to charm even people that hate her and Rose comments like he does with her. Then her mother is there. Uh oh. This probably isn't going to be good.

Yeah, it's definitely not good. Janine embarrassingly drags Rose out of the dinner party and gets on to her about being seen with Adrian and about how she's not ready to have babies yet. Geez! She's not having babies with anyone! She sits outside for a while afterward where Dimitri finds her. He gives her his coat and they talk in not so many words about their feelings. Rose, heartbreaking as it is, tells Dimitri he should accept Tasha's offer and become her guardian. Even though she desperately loves him, while she might not be ready to have babies, he probably is. This would be a good opportunity for him and she would rather he be happy. All he says back to her is Roza. She leaves him then and goes to find Mason so she can tell him they can never be together. Here's another surprising moment where Rose Hathaway grows up.

She goes to Mason's room, but his roommate says he thought Mason was with her. He packed a bag and took off. Oh no. She asks the guardians on duty around the perimeter of the resort and finds that one of them was compelled to let Mason, his best friend Eddie and Mia leave the resort. Oh no. Oh no! They're going to Spokane! Why did she tell him about that?! It's going to be all her fault if they are killed by Strigoi. She goes to Christian's room and gets him to compel her out of the resort too. She's going after her friends. Christian refuses to let her go alone, so they soon find themselves on a bus. On the long ride, Rose is able to convince Christian that Lissa and Adrian don't have anything going on, then he falls asleep. When they arrive in Spokane, it's still daylight out, which means everyone should still be safe from the Strigoi. Rose and Christian find Mason, Eddie and Mia in a shopping mall that supposedly had underground tunnels where the Strigoi would be hiding, but the three runaways went down there and found no one. Rose convinces them to go back to the resort, but they've got a while before the bus gets back, so they go down into the tunnels again. Rose can tell Dimitri and the other guardians what she does or doesn't find there. What she finds is bad. Initials of all the royal Moroi families painted on the wall, some crossed out. They leave immediately, but then get lost on their way back to the bus station. A van pulls up and forces them all inside. These must be the humans who are working with the Strigoi. Uh oh…

Yep, that's definitely who they are. They drive to a nondescript neighborhood and take Rose, Christian, Mason, Eddie and Mia inside and down to the basement where they tie them up. Some time later, two Strigoi enter the basement, Isaiah and Elena. Elena is clearly a newly awakened Strigoi, but Isaiah is ancient and powerful. Awakening sounds like some crazy religious cult, but I guess that's not too far off the mark. The Strigoi tell the two Moroi that unfortunately, only one of them gets to survive and be awakened, and to be that one survivor, they will have to kill one of the dhampir. Then Isaiah shows just how delicious a dhampir can be and compels Eddie to let him drink. Whoa. That compulsion is strong. Christian will never kill one of his friends. Mia doesn't say anything, but cowers in fear. The Strigoi leave the basement after that, laughing and saying that Christian doesn't know what he'll do if he gets hungry enough. They like him and they knew his parents. That's probably not a good thing. That probably means that they're going to turn him into a Strigoi before this is all over.

A lot of time passes for them in the basement and they have no way to escape. Even their trips to the bathroom are heavily monitored. Isaiah and Elena often come in to see if the Moroi are any closer to draining one of their friends, but no. As weak as they are, they won't do it. Poor Eddie gets a new bite from Isaiah every visit though. Rose dozes off at one point and is met in a dream by Adrian. What a time to be dreaming about him! The dream gets weird though when he asks her, frantically, where she is in the real world. She tells him that she's in a basement but before she can say where, she wakes up. The Strigoi are back again and their torture is the same as every other time. Later, Rose sinks into Lissa's head. She finds her talking to Adrian. He has discovered that she is a spirit user and that he is too. He never specialized either, and now he knows why. With his magic, he can see auras, which is how he knew he and Lissa were alike, and also, Rose realizes, why he sees darkness around her. He's just like those other spirit users Lissa discovered in her studies that could do unique things. Adrian can also walk in dreams and has been trying to find Rose. Can't Lissa do any of this? No. She can't. Her abilities are healing and compulsion, but not now. Not with the medication. They'll just have to let it wear off and then they'll see if she can do anything like Adrian can.

Rose leaves her friends to their magic use, pissed because Lissa will just sink back into her depression as soon as she starts using magic again, and then realizes, holy shit, I'm with two magic users too! Why haven't we been using magic against these kidnappers the entire time? She stares at Christian then makes a commotion to their guards about her throat burning and being on fire and then looks pointedly at Christian again. He says he's ready to drink and that he's going to kill Rose. The guards use pliers to break Christian's bonds and let him up. Instead of biting into Rose's neck, he pretends to and burns her plastic wrist restraints instead. Rose quickly knocks out the guards while Christian frees Mason, Mia and Eddie. They take a guard's gun and sneak through the house. When they get to the main floor and see the sun through the curtains, Rose instructs Mason to get the others out. That's when Isaiah and Elena show up. Rose puts up enough of a fuss by shooting Elena in the leg that Mason is able to get the others out, but then Isaiah grabs her and threatens her with a painful death. Mason comes back then and tries to kill Isaiah by shooting him multiple times in the chest. Isaiah is a far older Strigoi than Elena so the bullets do basically nothing to him. Then he grabs Mason and snaps his neck.

This sends Rose into a rage. She crumples down next to Mason, not looking like much of a threat, then she springs up when a glass fish tank shatters. The water floats in an orb across the room and begins to suffocate Isaiah. Rose grabs a shard of glass and plunges it into his heart and he passes out. Then she grabs a sword from above the mantle of the fireplace. She flies at Elena and hacks her head off. Isaiah is next. She hacks his head off too. When the Strigoi are dead, she crumples down by Mason again. Mia comes to her side and tells her they need to leave, but she refuses, so Mia goes for help. An unknowable amount of time passes and then a swarm of people are in the room. Rose takes up her sword again to defend Mason and keep him safe. She only lets go when Dimitri says her name. He ushers her out of the house and the next time she remembers anything, she's on a private jet back to the academy. Mia sits with her for a little bit. Rose thanks Mia for saving her life and says she'll help train her when they get back. Then Rose apologizes to Mia about her mother's death and says she wishes she could talk to her own mother. Well, she can because she's here on the plane, too. Mia goes to get her.

Back at school, Rose just floats along, still in a daze about Mason's death and killing the Strigoi. A few days pass and she gets her molnija marks, but not the promise mark yet. Even though she's killed two Strigoi, she's still a novice guardian. She won't be able to get her promise mark until she graduates. The ceremony is pretty subdued, just guardians there, no novices. Her mother is proud of her and so are her teachers, and of course Dimitri. Her mother lets her know that she'll be leaving soon now that the holidays are over, but Rose knew that. Rose asks her mom about the eye charm she gave her for Christmas. In her dreams, Adrian always mentioned her being protected and she realized it was the eye doing it. Called a nazar, it is a Turkish symbol of protection, given to Janine by Rose's father, and now given to Rose. It's clear that even though they don't get along, the two have a lot of respect for each other, especially Rose for her mother.

Back in her dorm, Rose finds a delivery of flowers sent to her by Adrian. He's on campus for Mason's funeral and, shocking to Rose, to study with Lissa and her magic teacher to learn more about spirit. He didn't end up convincing Lissa to stop her medication and though they were initially impressed that he wasn't on medication, he was definitely self-medicating with cigarettes and alcohol. They also noticed him acting strangely and talking nonsense once, so clearly spirit is negatively impacting him too. Rose leaves Lissa to go to practice with Dimitri, but he wants Rose to have time to process killing the Strigoi and losing her friend. He tells her that he decided not to become Tasha's guardian because even though it would have been a nice distraction, he doesn't want to leave his Roza. Even though she's young, she's experienced more than many others and also, she just gets him when no one else does. When you find that in another person, you can't let it go. Then he kisses her. She wants the kiss to go on forever, but it eventually stops. She leaves, telling him she'll see him at their next practice. Dimitri still has a lot of things to teach her, and you can take that however you'd like.

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