Let me start by saying YES THIS IS MY FIRST TIME READING THIS SERIES! I am not one of those who likes to read books that have a lot of hype tied to them because I don't like the letdown if I don't feel its all its cracked up to be. This was one of those times. Granted, I didn't NOT like it, I just didn't LOVE it either. I think it was a good story, but not better than others. I just didn't feel that it was 5 star worthy. But I will be reading the rest of the series. Maybe I'll like it more as it goes on. Overall, I did enjoy Mead's writing. It really kept me entertained. One of the best things was her characters. I love kick ass heroines and Rose is now one of my favorites. I love how bold, smart, and ruthless she is. Her character is everything that a strong heroine needs to be. Then Dimitri is a great match for her (as her mentor.) She looks up to him and sees him as a "bad ass" when she herself is just as bad ass. I also liked the setting. I found myself thinking of what St. Vladimir's really looked like. Yeah my imagination runs wild lol Another thing I was confused about, was Dimitri. I read review after review that was like "Oh he's so dreamy, I LOVE him," but he didn't jump out to me like that. Again, maybe in the rest of the series he becomes more dominant as Rose's lover, but I just felt like "Oh ok, he's the love interest." I found myself more into Christian and Lissa's love. I think it might be because I like the bad boys, but whatever it was, I haven't fallen head over heels for Dimitri yet... He was just there.