Rose Hathaway is in Russia to kill her instructor-turned-boyfriend-turned-Strigoi Dimitri Belikov, because ‘that’s what he would have wanted’. Together with Sydney-the-Alchemist she travels to Baia, where she tells Dimitri’s family that he’s dead. After being in Baia for a while, she goes on to another city to hunt Strigoi and get word out to Dimitri that she’s looking for him. When she does eventually find him, he locks her up in his mansion because he wants her (to turn Strigoi). Rose eventually escapes and stakes Dimitri, saving her friend Lissa from an evil Spirit-user in the meantime, and returns to St. Vladimirs. Only then does she find out that he hasn’t actually died yet. Uh oh.
What went down
- Remember the heartbreaking end of book three? (Don’t worry, you can cry, I won’t judge you.) Well, Rose went off to Siberia because she is certain that Dimitri-the-Strigoi went there, and she has made it her mission to go and kill him.
- In Russia, Rose meets Sydney – an Alchemist, basically a human trying to keep vampires a secret from other humans – who actually knows the small town Dimitri’s family lives. Rose is certain that he must be there, and Rose goes off to the village. Sydney has to come with her because her officials told her so.
- When they get to the village, Baia, Rose meets Dimitri’s family. She is welcomed and treated as if she were Dimitri’s widow, and it’s all very sad and I cried, okay. Anyway, she stays with them for a while and even thinks about really joining them.
- While she is in Baia, Dimitri’s evil but kind of nice grandmother takes her to see a couple that has the same bond as Lissa and Rose have. These people, Mark and Oksana, are actually married, even though Mark is a Dhampir and Oksana a Moroi. She learns a few things about being shadow-kissed.
- She also meets this mysterious man called Abe, who tries to threatens her into going back to St. Vladimir’s, for some apparent reason. Because Rose is Rose, she refuses to do what he says, but eventually decides to leave Baia anyway.
- Because she isn’t done hunting Strigoi (and Dimitri), she travels to Novosibirsk with a couple of untrained guardians who like killing Strigoi for fun. However, they have no experience, and Rose has, so she kind of becomes their leader for a while.
- As a group, they fight a lot of Strigoi, but only so that Rose can find out where Dimitri is, and eventually manage to get word to Dimitri that she is looking for him.
- When she finally does meet Dimitri, she is too shocked by his Strigoi appearance to kill him, and he captures her instead. For a while, he keeps her hostage at his mansion (because even when he’s Strigoi, he is the most badass person ever) and tells her that he wants her to become Strigoi as well. Rose becomes kind of obsessed with him.
- She also keeps checking up on Lissa through the bond and realizes that Lissa’s new friend, Avery, is actually another Spirit user and keeps pushing Rose out of Lissa’s head. Rose now has new motivation to escape Dimitri’s mansion.
- She finally manages to escape, fighting lots of Strigoi on her way out, and grabs a stake when doing so. Dimitri chases her, but eventually she is able to stake him and he falls off a bridge into a river.
- Rose is then brought to a house where Oksana, Mark and Abe are waiting for her (with some help from Sydney). After another visit to Lissa, Rose realizes that Avery is actually trying to kill Lissa to bond Lissa to Avery. It turns out that both Avery’s brother Reed and guardian Simon are shadow-kissed and bonded with Avery, which has caused Avery to go a little insane.
- Oksana knows some cool trick that allows Rose to somehow take control over Lissa’s body while visiting. Together, they manage to fight off Avery, Reed and Simon. They manage to save Lissa’s life.
- After this, Rose asks Oksana and Mark if they know if there’s any way to turn back a Strigoi, and they do. There was this spirit user called Robert Duru who claimed he knew how. However, nobody knows where he is except for his half brother… Viktor Dashkov. Yep, that guy.
- But since Rose already staked Dimitri, she returns to St. Vladimir’s. Rose’s mother Janine happens to be there, and Rose finds out that Abe, the creepy gangster guy, is actually her father. Yay.
How did it end?
Rose goes back to school and tries to get over Dimitri, but then she receives a package with a stake and a note. Turns out that Dimitri is not actually dead, because she didn’t stake him properly. He also turned into a creepy stalker, apparently, and he wants to kill Rose instead of turn her Strigoi now. Rose, having just learned that Strigoi can be brought back from the dead, realizes that she can now bring Dimitri back from the dead: she just has to find Robert Duru. She comes up with a plan.
Dhampir: Half human, half vampire, Dhampirs usually train to protect Moroi from Strigoi. Also, Dhampirs can’t survive without Moroi, needing them for generation and everything.
Moroi: Vampires who are alive. Which means they can die and everything. They don’t die immediately in sunlight, but it’s no good for them either, which is why they live at night. Moroi do need blood, but they don’t kill for it. Instead, they have feeders, humans who are willing to feed them. Oh, and a Moroi’s bite is described as something like an orgasm, basically. Oh well. (Also, Moroi are ruled by a queen and have seven royal families.)
Strigoi: Vampires who are dead. Also known as EVIL. Moroi become Strigoi when they a) kill someone on purpose, or b) are fed Strigoi blood. (Correct me if I’m mistaken, but I think that was the second thing.) Strigoi can’t go out in the sunlight, and also, they don’t have magic. They ARE very strong, which is a problem sometimes.
Blood-whore: Dhampir women who, instead of becoming guardians, decide to live in a group and raise their children. The accusing term ‘blood-whore’ is used because some of these women are known to let Moroi bite them while having sex. Which is basically a no-go in Moroi land.
Alchemist: Humans working together with Moroi and Dhampirs to keep vampire a secret. Alchemists have a golden tattoo on their face that prevents them from ever talking to humans about vampires. Alchemists are very religious and very scared of vampires.