Rose and Lissa are childhood friends but they are not normal best friends. Lissa is a Moroi princess, a mortal vampire who can tolerate sun to some extent and use elemental magic. Rose, who is Dhampir, is Lissa’s guardian. Dhampirs are half Moroi half humans who can only reproduce with Moroi and not other Dhampirs or humans. Because of this Dhampirs existence is closely intertwined with Morois’. So when Strigoi, the immortal vampires, started hunting Morois in large groups, the Dhampirs became their guardians. They were ready to sacrifice their life for the chance that their species will go on.
Two years ago Lissa and Rose ran away from Vampire Academy where they have lived their entire life. In the real world Lissa doesn’t have feeders, the voluntary blood donors for vampires. They are hooked on the high they receive from vampire saliva. While they are essential for Moroi’s existence, Moroi looks down on them. Similarly Dhampirs are very important for Moroi’s protection but most Moroi mistreat Dhampir women. Moroi men prefer to marry Moroi women but they will have physical relationships with Dhampir women. They never raise their Dhampir children. Those women who decide to raise their children settle in Dhampir community with other women. These women are labelled blood whores as they fornicate with Moroi men and let them drink their blood. In the end it is mostly Dhampir men who become guardians. Some Dhampir women who become guardians – like Rose’s mother, their children are raised by the Academy. While Rose hates her mother for not raising her or meeting her regularly, she despises blood whores much more. This is why she hates herself when she enjoys feeding Lissa her blood.
After Dimitri and other guardians capture them and take them back to the academy, things quickly go downhill. Rose is almost expelled from school for running away and endangering Lissa’s life as she could have been killed by a Strigoi. Instead Dimitri persuades Headmistress Kirova to let her stay as Lissa and Rose have a bond, something which hasn’t happened in centuries. She relents but as punishment Rose is in house arrest. She can only leave for classes and extra training with Dimitri to catch up on everything she missed in last 2 years.
Before running away Lissa and Rose used to be goddesses of the academy. Lissa is from one of the 12 royal families which gave her a celebrity status and Rose’s flirty and badass attitude, not to mention gorgeous looks, made her the life of the party. But when they return they realize that power has shifted. Mia, a social climber, is dating Lissa’s ex Aaron and has made her life’s mission to destroy her. Due to probation, Rose can’t physically do anything to get back at Mia so she uses Jesse to spread the rumours about her family. Mia’s parents are servants because of which many royals who used to be her so called friends starts making fun of her.
Keeping to the rules of probation, Rose starts practicing with Dimitri. On the first day while fighting with her old friend and another guardian novice Mason, she realizes how much she has fallen behind. She starts to worry that if Strigoi attacks Lissa, she might not be able to protect her. Her worry intensifies when someone starts keeping almost dead animals in Lissa’s room. She is also worried that Lissa is going to start cutting herself again.
Through their mental bond Rose sees Lissa flirting with Christian Ozera who comes from one of the 12 royal families but they were disgraced after his parents had voluntarily turned Strigoi. Rose believes that he is a bad influence on her and asks Lissa to stay away from him which she ignores. When Queen Tatiana visits the academy she publicly humiliates Lissa for running away. Lissa is extremely distraught but her near-cousin Natalie and Rose comforts her before Mia comes to humiliate her further. Mia and Rose verbally attack each other and Mia vows to get back at Rose. Dimitri drags Rose away before she hits Mia and violate her probation but not before she sees Christian goes towards Lissa to comfort her. She lies to him about Lissa’s feelings and says that she is just pretending to be nice to him but actually thinks he is a freak. Heartbroken, Christian starts ignoring Lissa.
Mia keeps her promise of revenge and next day the rumours start circulating that Rose has slept with both Jesse and Ralf and has let them drink her blood. Everyone starts calling her blood whore which breaks her heart and she cries. Seeing Rose distressed, Lissa decides to take matters in her hands and uses her compulsion to get back on the top of the social ladder. In this way she isolates and destroys Mia and stops people from torturing Rose. But using so much compulsion is taking a toll on her. She dates Aaron to further torture Mia but it also hurts Christian. Sensing that Lissa is unhappy from pretending to be friends with people who are too superficial for her taste, Rose confesses to Christian about lying and asks him to talk with Lissa.
Christian tells Lissa how her brother Andre had used Mia because of which she hates Dragomirs so much. He also tells her that she shouldn’t be with someone she doesn’t like and kisses her. While Lissa is attracted to Christian, she is also angry and couldn’t accept the truth about her brother. She cuts herself and Rose is forced to tell Dimitri about Lissa’s habit to save her life but Lissa feels betrayed and stops talking to Rose.
In school dance Jessie and Ralf confesses that the reason they spread rumours about Rose was because Mia slept with them and asked them to do so but agrees to tell everyone the truth after Mason threatens them. Mia gets angry and starts yelling at Lissa, prompting Rose to beat her which leads her back in house arrest. Through the bond Rose sees Christian gets hurt and Lissa getting kidnapped by private guardians. She goes to tell Dimitri but the lust spell on the necklace given by Victor makes her forget everything and they start making out until Dimitri throws the necklace away. They realize Victor has kidnapped Lissa to heal himself from Sandovsky Syndrome so he can become the next king. He is captured but turns his daughter Natalie into Strigoi to help him escape. Dimiti kills Natalie and recaptures Victor.
Though Dimitri and Rose love each other, they understand that their age difference, the fact that he is her mentor and that they both are Lissa’s guardian complicates the matter. Hence, they decide not to act on their feelings.