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Thursday, February 16, 2012

REVIEW: "Vampire Academy" by Richelle Mead


Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
(Vampire Academy #1)

Young Adult-Paranormal-Vampires
Razorbill--2007
Paperback, 322 pages 

Rating: 4 Stars--Really Liked It







SUMMARY

Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.


MY THOUGHTS

Ever since I started using Goodreads and blogging, I have seen references to Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series.  I bought the first book in Borders "Going Out of Business" sale which became one of those books that I keep meaning to read, but always got distracted from it for one reason or another.  Well, I finally started it over the weekend and finished it within two days.  Now, I think I finally understand what everyone has been talking about!

TEN THINGS I LIKED ABOUT VAMPIRE ACADEMY

1.  Vampire mythology
I have read my fair share of vampire stories (both adult and young adult) so I have seen many different takes on the classic vampire myth.  Therefore, it is very unusual when I see something as original as Mead's society of Moroi, Strigoi, and dhampirs.  The idea of two different types of vampires (living and not) was fascinating and dhampirs being half-Moroi was just a fun bonus. 

2. Rose
The protagonist and narrator of this series is a different kind of YA heroine.  She is tough, strong-willed, and a bit of a flirt.  Rose has a lot of confidence in herself as well as a protective streak a mile wide which makes for a fun combination.  She comes off a little aggressive at times, but I found it a nice change from all the super-sweet, TSTL heroines I've seen pepper this genre. 

3. Rose and Lissa's friendship
Another unique aspect of this novel (and series) is the friendship between Rose and Lissa.  Lissa is the last of her royal Moroi line and Rose is her best friend who is training to be one of Lissa's guardians.  Rose's protectiveness and loyalty towards Lissa is obvious from the beginning of the book and I enjoyed seeing their interactions.  Their friendship was not perfect, but seemed fairly realistic despite the unconventional nature of their relationship.

4. Christian
Christian, at first, appears to be the typical social outcast, but I was pleased to see there was so much more to him.  His tragic past and treatment at the Academy really grabbed my attention and I look forward to seeing more of his character.  I always have a soft spot for the social rejects or underdogs...

5. Dimitri
No VA review would be complete without mentioning the delicious Dimitri.  He is the main reason that I finally started reading this series (so many people choosing him for My Book Boyfriend posts).  While Mead does not provide a lot of information about his character, I fell in love with what was there.  Russian, sexy, badass...yes, please!

6. Dimitri and Rose
Then there is the romance between Dimitri and Rose which is just starting out on, what I would presume, will be a very long road.  The tension between them is electric from the moment they meet each other.  I also liked how Mead had them talk and interact without constantly lusting after one another.  This is definitely teh beginning of a forbidden romance that I am eager to read more about.

7. St. Vladimir's Academy
School stories are some of my absolute favorites...probably left over from my unhealthy Harry Potter obsession.  St. Vladimir's Academy trains both Moroi and dhampirs to fulfill their intended roles in vampire society whether through ruling, magic, or guardianship.  Yet despite the unique mission of the school, there are still plenty of typical high school drama like dating, partying, and bullying.  The student interaction was highly entertaining and helped me understand specifics about Moroi culture as well as little tidbits about the main characters.

8. Plot
The plot of Vampire Academy appears fairly basic and stereotypical at first glance.  There is alot of school-related drama peppered with a minor supernatural problem.  As a reader, I knew there was something more underneath all the Academy stuff, but couldn't put my finger on it.  Then Mead turned up the volume and the action began happening in one scene after the other.  I couldn't flip the pages fast enough.  The twists at the end were a pleasant surprise a well.

9. Changes on the horizon 
Now, that I have been introduced to Moroi society, I have a feeling that there are alot of changes in store for this world.  The relationship between Moroi and dhampirs seems a little archaic and it seems like some of them are going to begin revolting against the norm.  I can't wait to see what will finally break the camel's back on the hierarchy in later installments.

10. Series potential
As a first book, I believe Vampire Academy did an admirable job.  I have an idea about the characters and the setting, but not much more than that.  There is a lot of potential running around like Dimitri and Rose's relationship and the unrest in Moroi culture.  I look forward to reading more of this fabulous series as soon as Frostbite comes in the mail!
FAVORITE QUOTES

**"The greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very quietly, hidden in the shadows. Remember that."
--Christian

**"If I let myself love you, I won't throw myself in front of her. I'll throw myself in front of you."
--Dimitri

SERIES INFORMATION

Vampire Academy
1. Vampire Academy
2. Frostbite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
5. Spirit Bound
6. Last Sacrifice

Bloodlines
1. Bloodlines
2. The Golden Lily (To Be Released 2012)

BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY

4 comments:

  1. I, too, have been hearing so much hype over these books! I am glad I am hearing such good things though, because I don’t know if it would have been the kind of book I would have picked up on my own! Thanks for the great review!

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  2. I have the first VA book, as well, but just can't fit it into my reading schedule just yet. I will, I totally WILL read this, as everyone is saying it is so very good. I'm dying to find out for myself. From your review, I gather there is quite a depth of world-building going on here, and that's fantastic. I love thorough W-B.

    Great review. You've covered so much!

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  3. I've heard so much about this book, but I haven't gotten the chance to read it. Great review!

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  4. YAY For finally picking it up! It's so amazing! I was just re-reading it in fact! And Frostbite because while Dimitri is cool my heart lies with Adrian Ivashkov who comes in during book 2. This is definitely a unique series and I love all the things you pointed out.

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