SHOW BOOK DETAILS
THE BOOK -Vampire Academy
by Richelle Mead
Bk. #1 of Vampire Academy
First published in 2007 by Razorbill
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
EDITION I PURCHASED -Paperback, 332 pages
Published in 2007 by Razorbill
My Rating: 5/5 stars
THE PLOT -Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from the Strigoi; the fiercest 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 Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger... and the Strigoi are always close by. Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever...
Vampire Academy is one of those novels that pulls you in and doesn't let you go. Starting from the off with Rose and Lissa being found after two years of running away from St. Vladimir's Academy - a school for Moroi vampires and their guardians - following an accident that sent Lissa on a downward spiral after losing both her parents and her brother. Now, Lissa feels the need to make up for lost time and represent the Dragomir name in a way that would make her family proud. Nothing is ever that simple, of course, and when Lissa starts spiralling once again, Rose must figure out a way to keep Lissa safe not only from outside threats, but also from herself.
Though the supernatural school aspect is becoming increasingly overdone, Mead managed to combine high school drama with more serious issues such as self harm and mental illness, all the while mainting that light, easy to read feel - I've never experienced an author that can meld the two sides of the coin so perfectly. Not only that, but the vampire mythology she incorporated was completely unique to me and I loved that the lines between vampire and human were a little more blurred. I definitely cannot wait to learn more about the Moroi, Strigoi, and dhampir races.
Rose was a character whom I loved immediately. Though she comes across as snarky and confident, there's a vulnerable side to her that we have yet to fully witness. Despite her habit of being a tease and flirting with every boy on campus, she's harmless... at least in that regard. When it comes to her fighting skills, the girl is pretty kickass. Training to be a Guardian after graduation, Rose needs to step up her pace if she's going to catch up with the rest of her peers - after all, being on the run for two years leaves little time for Guardian training (according to Rose, at least). In order for Rose to pass her exams, Guardian Dimitri Belikov provides Rose with extra training sessions in the hopes that she will be ready when the time comes.
Dimitri is a badass. There's really no other way to describe him. From his leather duster to his Russian accent, he already has the makings of an awesome character - add in the fact that he's drop dead gorgeous and a complete genius in combat, and you've got one of the most swoonworthy characters in YA history, right here. His older age of 24 adds a level of maturity to the novel that Rose could not have accomplished herself, and he has a habit of bringing out the best in her, both in her training and in their personal lives. It's obvious that these two are made for each other, though I know Mead isn't going to make it easy for them. I can't wait to see what hurdles she throws in their path - I have a feeling they're going to be gigantic. Their interactions in this novel were hilarious, though there was definitely an undercurrent of desire coursing through both of them. I see fireworks in their future, and I can't wait to see what happens.
Now, Lissa was a character whom I felt pretty impartial towards throughout this entire novel. Despite her fascinating bond with Rose, I never felt as though we learned anything personal about her - at least not enough for me to decide whether or not I like her. She's a pretty quiet character, and though her story is just as important as Rose's, I left this book feeling as though I didn't know her at all. It was a strange experience, though I have faith that Mead will do something that will make me love Lissa.
The story itself really gripped me, and the plot twists that Mead threw our way surprised me every time. I would never have expected the culprit behind the gruesome gifts that keep showing up around Lissa, and I was shocked to discover who it was. In hindsight, it should have been pretty obvious, but being so absorbed in a novel definitely dulls your sense of reason. I absolutely loved the way this novel ended, however, and I'll most certainly be picking up the sequel as soon as possible.