Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (9/10)

Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin Razorbill (2007)
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires--the ones who never die.
The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir.  Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.
After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene.  And both girls will resume breaking hearts.
Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's – inside the Academy’s iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger.  Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities.  Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever...

I get plenty of flack from people when I inform them that is my ultimate all-time favourite series. Usually this is from those people who have not read it themselves and tend to lump in the same catagory as Twilight.

Unlike Bella, Rose has a personality and can take care of herself. Moreso, she is protective of her best friend and can be impulsive and reckless. She is not perfect and has issues, but at least she is more rounded than certain sparkly-vampire-loving heroines I know. I adore her sarcasm and wit. I love that she makes mistakes and at least takes the consequences of these mistakes in stride.

One of the outstanding features of this series as a whole is character development. While I am only supposed to be reviewing the first book in this post, I feel compelled to bring this up. Many characters are simply vessels for the plot to progress while Rose is reason enough to continue reading this series as she learns more about herself and the secrets in both her past and the lives of the Moroi she has been trained to protect.

And the romance... *insert girly sigh here*. I adore Dimitri. I really do. I love that he doesn't simply pander to Rose's whims.

The secondary characters are also remarkably developed and add depth to the story. I would love to see this made into a film and all the various personalities brought to life on screen.

Don't just let yourself be put off by the vampire hype and negative reviews about this series. I do unserstand why some people did not enjoy it. But, it does have a lot to offer the right audience and is far superior to House of Night, a series that also seems to assist in tainting the opinion of these types of books in general.

All six books are easily avaliable. The order they have to be read in is as follows:
  1. Vampire Academy
  2. Frostbite
  3. Shadow Kiss
  4. Blood Promise
  5. Spirit Bound
  6. Last Sacrifice
There is also a spin off series. The first book, Bloodlines, is avaliable and the second, The Golden Lily, will be out in the US on the 19th of June 2012.

Check out the Wikipedia entry on the series here.
Visit the official website here.

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