Apart from the general bloodsuckiness, blood whore accusations and magical shenanigans, St. Vladmir's Academy appears like any other high school: full of drama, gossip and cliques. Rose is sassy which means I like her, even if she's a little full of herself sometimes. Dimitri's definitely a plus in the story. As a hardass trainer with a Russian accent, it's only to follow that she'd be attracted. The Moroi/Dhampir relationship's fresh and it makes up for the kinda anticlimax about the Strigoi. We hear a lot about them, but since they don't actually do much throughout the book, it doesn't really grip us with terror. The only thing that kept coming up at the mention of Strigoi was the thought that it sounds a whole lot like Strega.
Let's Mess with Lissa #1: The book starts off with Rose taking her bodyguarding duty seriously and continues that way. When they return to St. Vlad's, the problems for Lissa start almost at once. Lissa's a gentle (i.e. weak) soul that dredges up every ounce of protectiveness in Rose, which is good because it gives her a likeable, responsible side to balance out the impulsive decisions and backtalking. The first attempt to seriously screw with Lissa's head though starts with the dead animals on her bed. This sends Lissa off into a spiral that Rose knows and can feel, but doesn't know how to stop.
Let's Mess with Lissa #2: In case there weren't already enough problems dealing with the rumors that circulated after they escaped, a short chick, Mia, decides to make their lives hell. While at first she just throws around damaging rumors, Mia aims to hurt Lissa by targeting Rose. The blood whore rumor spreads around school. Rose handles it, but the whole situation pushes Lissa over the edge. She decides to quell the rumor by using compulsion like whoa. Lissa goes from being weak to Miss Socialite, buzzing around and manipulating the other nobles. Not any of which is helping her mental state.
We finally meet the Strigoi at the end of the book in the form of Natalie turned crazypants. However, she's too much for Rose to take on and Dimitri storms in cowboy style and saves the day. Dimitri and Rose leave a lot of intrigue since after getting hot and heavy they can't be together. Not if both of them are going to be guardians to Lissa. (Man, Lissa, you're raining on the love parade) Still, a fun first entry into the world that definitely entices me to read on.