Set in the present day against a hidden universe of vampires, half-humans, alchemy, and magic. Richelle Mead shifts the focus from the brooding male vampires of "Twilight", "True Blood" and "Vampire Diaries" to that of a strong, yet flawed, 17-year-old female who confronts her world with grit, determination, and lots of moxie. Rose Hathaway is a dhampir, half human/half vampire and guardian of the Moroi, a race of peaceful and magical mortal vampires who can walk in the daylight, survive by feeding off willing blood donors, grow old and die. Hidden deep in the forests of Montana is St. Vladimir's Academy, where Moroi and dhampirs learn to take their place in Moroi society.
Rose must master her inherited abilities as a dhampir and earn the approval of the Royal Council, as guardian to Princess Lissa, her best friend and sole heir of one of the twelve Royal families of Moroi. Rose and Lissa share a mysterious psychic bond and sense of destiny, but first they must survive an intense social scene, politics and the physical challenges of Moroi life at the Academy. Outside the sanctuary of St. Vladimir's waits their greatest threat of all, the Strigoi, a race of bloodthirsty immortal vampires and predators of the Moroi.