"Rose once told me about this poem she'd read. There was this line, 'If your eyes weren't open, you wouldn't know the difference between dreaming and waking.' You know what I'm afraid of? That someday, even with my eyes open, I still won't know."We always knew Adrian battled with the darkness that comes along with wielding spirit magic but something about this book really drove it home to me. In the original VA series, Adrian hid so much of his pain with a heavy dose of alcohol and humor. He still continues to do this but his defenses have started slipping around Sydney. I appreciated that he wasn't quite as wussy in this book. We got to see a tiny hint of protectiveness. Big nod of approval over the growl!I was going to come back and write an actual review but realized that there was no need. I love Richelle Mead. Her characters always get inside of my soul. Her world building and stories stay with me long after I'm finished. The idea of trying to summarize any book of hers with intelligent thoughts is always daunting and I'm pretty sure I fail every time I try. So instead, I'm not going to try this time. I'm just going to have a moment of fangirl gushing over my favorite author, since I rarely allow myself to let my inner preteen jump for joy. Adrian (age 21) He had me at "little dhampir," but his wit is what continues to keep me coming back. I'll admit that it's interesting to see his tortured soul, as long as he doesn't lose the humor just because his dad's a douchebag. Adrian's self-pity sort of hampered his usual vibe and I missed some of the old personality, but I understood why the story is going down the path that it is. He was more good-looking than he had any right to be. He wore his dark brown hair stylishly messy and had eyes that sometimes seemed too green to be real. He smelled like he'd been smoking recently, which I didn't like.Eddie (age 18) I've always had a soft spot for Eddie and have wanted to know more about him ever since the beginning of the original Vampire Academy series. His determination to do right by the people he protects has always made me compare him to a junior version of Dimitri and it made me smile with a sense of pride when he was told that exact same thing in this book. Eddie - keep up with your bad-ass-ness. You'll get the girl someday, even if she has no clue how you feel.Eddie was lean and muscled, but most people underestimated just how strong he was. Adrian sometimes called him mini-Dimitri.Dimitri (age 24) Okay, so you're not a prominent character in this book but thanks for being there in some form, even if it's just to assist and protect. Good job holding it down for the less experienced peeps. You'll always be my number one.Even if I'd been wide awake, I knew Dimitri would've taken my suitcase anyway. That's how he was, a lost remnant of chivalry in the modern world, ever-ready to help others. That was one of the many striking things about Dimitri.I'd seen him fight before, but it never got old. He was captivating. He never stopped moving. Every action was graceful and lethal. He was a dancer of death.Sydney (age 18) She's come a long way from the days of Blood Promise, when I didn't even like her. I know that she's not Rose but that's okay. Mead's biggest strength as a writer is not recycling stories and characters in too big of a way (sometimes you can't help a few similarities). So many authors don't know how to come up with new concepts!!! It's very cool to see a main character who uses her intelligence to solve problems - especially when a good portion of the people around her seem to be fighters. In order for this series to be different from VA (especially when most of the characters have crossed over), it was completely necessary to have a lead role who was drastically different from the last one.It's never a Mead book without tons of random silliness sprinkled throughout. I would have shared the fistfight in the gym that was started with the anti-drug group (because it's always fun to see cheesy mascot people punched out) but it was far too long. So we'll go with Adrian and Sydney at their first self-defense class :"If you're here," he began. "You probably want to learn to use those right away." He pointed at the nunchucks.I caught sight of Adrian's face in the mirror. His expression said, Yes, that is exactly what I want to learn."Well, too bad," said Wolfe. "You aren't ever going to use them. Not in this class, anyway. Oh, they've got their uses, believe me. Saved my ass more than once when I was out bow-hunting in Alaska. But if you pay attention to wht I'm going to tell you, you won't ever need to pick those up, seeing as we don't have a rabid moose problem here in Palm Springs."The new mom raised her hand. "You used nunchucks on a moose?"