0.5 out of 5 Stars (Yes, it really is that bad)SPOLIER ALERTOh man, this book.Rose Hathaway is vampire princess Lissa Dragomir’s guardian and best friend. Lissa is a Moroi, a good vampire, and Rose is a dhampir, a Moroi/human hybrid. It’s a dhampir’s job to protect Moroi from the bad vampires, Strigori. Returning to their Moroi/dhampir boarding school after running away, both try to readjust to school life, while hiding Lissa’s dangerous secret. But don’t worry, because 80% of this book is stupid high school bullshit until the plot decides to show up.The saddest thing about this book is that there is an interesting overarching story and some inspired stuff hiding under all the crap. Sadly, I don’t think I can wade through all the crap for the nuggets of gold.The biggest obstacle was the protagonist. Rose is probably the most obnoxious heroine I have ever read. She’s a complete Mary Sue, hiding under the guise that because she kicks ass, she is a STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER. Rose is reckless, nasty, and hypocritical. The world bends over backwards for her all the time, sometimes to the point of not making any sense (Lissa saved Rose over her own parents? Rose can somehow convince guards to let her see a prisoner when they won’t even let his own daughter see him?). She’s apparently hottest thing anyone has ever seen and she acts like she’s God’s gift. Rose is constantly insensitive about mental illness and homosexuality. She’s utterly unlikeable.And the weirdest thing is that Rose doesn’t feel like the main character in her own story. The action and the plot revolve around Lissa and her special gift. Lissa is the one being targeted. Lissa is the one who has to deal with the negative fallout of her gift. Lissa is the one dealing with bullies. So Lissa should be the main POV character. But instead we’re told second hand what happens to Lissa through her and Rose’s mental link. Lissa herself is actually a pretty likable character. She first appears “weak,” but through the book she develops a drive to help and protect those she loves. Compared to Lissa, Rose feels like a much less interesting side character. Rose’s controlling, I-know-what’s-best-for-you behavior and spying makes her look like a creepy stalker. This leads to my theory that Rose and Lissa are closeted lesbians.Rose is super controlling of Lissa and constantly uses their mental link to invade Lissa’s privacy for no good reason (the author wants Lissa’s POV? Why not just have some chapters from her POV?). Lissa ignores her dead parents and brother to bring a dead Rose back to life. Rose lets Lissa drink her blood in an act that is considered super sexual and “dirty.” There are definite lesbian vibes, despite how hard the book tries to deny it. I actually think the book would be better if it just embraced those undertones, but instead we get the cardboardiest of cardboard love interests.According to the fans, Dimitri is like OMG THE HOTTEST THING EVER. I didn’t get it. He was pretty boring. We’re constantly told how hot and badass he is instead of being shown. There is absolutely no chemistry whatsoever between Rose and Dimitri. The only reason I could come up with for them to be into each other was that ‘I’m hot! You’re hot! Let’s fuck!’ It doesn’t help that he’s a 24-year-old assigned as 17-year-old’s mentor. And despite what this book would have you believe, mentor is a synonym for teacher. So Rose falls in love with her teacher, and Dimitri creepily encourages this. In the last few chapters, Rose and Dimitri are put under a lust spell (because I guess a sleeping spell would have been more difficult?) to distract them so the baddies can kidnap Lissa, and they end up almost having sex. So not only was Rose almost statutorily raped, but she almost had sex under compulsion, meaning she wasn’t able to give her full consent. What the FUCK? Of course Rose isn’t mad about how fucked up any of this is, she’s more worried if Dimitri luuuuuuuuuuuuurves her. Dimitri in no way tries to dissuade her. He does more ‘I’m such a bad person! You’re too good for me! Stay away!’ instead of actually trying to push her away. The book insinuates that it’s twue wuv and Rose and Dimitri and meant to be together forever. It’s all creepy as fuck.And then there is Mia. She’s your standard queen bitch that has made it her inexplicable purpose to ruin the lives of Lissa and Rose. Instead of ignoring Mia, Rose instead confronts her and antagonizes her even more. Mia and Rose and Lissa participate in spreading hurtful gossip and sabotaging each other's social standing. By the right of being Main Characters, Rose and Lissa’s rumor spreading and insults are O.K! When Mia does it, she’s a vile bitch. I’m all for the protagonist confronting bullies and not acting like a martyr, but Rose and Lissa’s fighting back isn’t really fighting back as much as bullying back. It doesn’t help that Mia spreads rumors about Rose being a Blood Whore and Rose basically shuts down because life is OMG AWFUL, but then Rose turns around and spreads rumors about Mia being a whore herself.This brings up the whole concept of Blood Whores. The book states that most female dhampirs would rather raise their children (which can only be made with Moroi males – yes this makes no sense), and become ‘food’ for Moroi. The Moroi bite has a drug-like effect, so many of these women become addicted to the bite. Despite relying on these dhampirs and women for food, the Moroi call them ‘Blood Whores.’ Being a Blood Whore is the most offensive and lowest thing a Dhampir woman could be called. This is actually a really interesting class observation. But instead of using this to make a comment on society, Rose just internalizes this thinking. Despite these women being her brethren, DESPITE DIMITRI HAVING GROWN UP WITH THEM, Rose looks down on them like the rest of the Moroi and Guardian dhampirs. She sees these women are ‘lesser’ since they decided to raise their kids rather than become guardians, despite the fact that Rose’s own mother basically abandoned her to continue being a guardian. There is this really creepy subtext that Dimitri’s mother, who was abused by his father, was ‘weak’ for not fighting back. WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK?On the flip side, most of the Guardian women are described as leathery, muscular, and having short hair and tattoos – stereotypical ‘butch’ features. Rose actually worries that’s she’ll become ugly aka butch like these women, but Dimitri assures her she’s too beautiful and special. Fuck you, Rose Hathaway. Fuck you.The Moroi are too weak to fend for themselves, the ‘Blood Whores’ aren’t pro-active enough, and the guardians are too butch – the only way to be positively feminine in this series is to be Rose herself. That’s a very narrow definition of femininity. For any book to imply that the main character’s femininity is somehow more valid or better than anyone else’s is insulting and anti-feminist.The only character who was actually completely likeable in the entire book was Christian, the loner Moroi who loves Lissa from afar. Christian is actually interesting, has a personality besides HOT! (though he is definitely that), and he and Lissa have actual chemistry (not to mention are legal).Even without my problems, this isn’t a well written or unique book. The plot was super uneven and guessed the bad guys from like 50000 miles away. I’ve heard the books get better as the series progresses, but I don’t think I could suffer through more of Rose’s bullshit and super spesul snowflake-ness. The half-star is for Christian and his adorable relationship with Lissa. Everything else can burn in a fiery lake. I don’t recommend these. Actually, I think the messages are harmful to girls. There is enough gossip/social sabotage/backstabbing in real life, do we really need it in our fiction too?