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St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .
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.
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This story is no ordinary vampire tale. Mead has done her homework on Romanian folklore and Orthodox Catholic saints, and she uses it to weave a unique and mesmerizing mystery with a whodunit ending that even the most skilled detectives will not predict. With social angst that every teenager can appreciate and sexual tension that leaves Stephanie Meyer's Twilight looking like a children's book, this little gem is sure to be a hit.—VOYA
Mead’s absorbing, debut YA novel, the first in a new series, blends intricately detailed fantasy with a contemporary setting, teen-relevant issues, and a diverse…cast of supporting characters. Occasional steamy sex and a scattering of vulgar language demand mature readers, but teens able to handle the edgy elements will speed through this vamp story and anticipate the next installment.—Booklist