Frostbite is a fantastic follow-up to Vampire Academy. The second book in a series is usually filled with flaws, but not in Mead's case. Action-packed, and emotionally gut-wrenching, this series is a definite must for YA and Vampire fans.
Rose does not have the ideal life by a long shot. Her gender and genetics give her limited options in the vampire world. Rose can't be with the man she loves without sacrificing her best-friend, and even if she makes the "correct" choice she won't ever have anyone of her own to love. It's all very depressing, but she does the very best to make the most of bad circumstances.
Rose really matures in Frostbite, but not by choice. After the trauma she is put through in this book leaves her no choice but to make the "grown-up" decisions. In a way, I miss the more naive Rose from the first book, the one who looked forward to being an adult and fighting the Strigoi. Watching Rose lose that optimism was terribly tragic.
Wow, I have made this sound like the most miserable book in history. READ IT ANYWAYS. What I love about Mead is that she never introduces her characters fully formed - they always have plenty of room to develop. And watching that process? Heartbreakingly brilliant.
In retrospect, I am amazed how much Mead fit into such a small book. Compared to the rest of the Vampire Academy series, Frostbite is a sliver of a book. But so damn much happens in it! Mead deals with the epic Dimitri/Rose tragedy, Rose's addiction to being bitten, Lissa's ever worsening condition, the introduction of Rose's mother, and a whole new (vaguely Chuck Bass-like) character. It's actually quite impressive.
Bottom line? The Vampire Academy series just keeps getting better. Mead actually seems to have a plan for these characters, and I really can't wait to see how it ends!