Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

Goodreads Summary: St. 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.
Goodreads / The Book Depository

Genre: Young Adult, Urban fantasy
Pages: 319
Publisher: Razorbill
How I Got It: Library

First Line: "I felt her fear before I heard her screams."

Favorite Quote: "Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies."


Honestly, I have no idea what possessed me to pick up Vampire Academy and read it. Ever since my friend recommended Marked to me a few years ago I have mostly steered clear of books that centered on vampires (Twilight does not count, in my opinion. That is a different kind of vamp entirely). I read maybe about 60 pages of it, hated it almost immediately and with a passion, and gave it back within the day. Which is kind of funny now, since I barely remember what about it I hated so much anyway. I think it was the heroine. Anyway, the genre was stained for for me, and the Vampire Academy series is one I've heard about for literally years, and steered clear of. I finally caved, and I'm happy I did. 

I loved how interested I was in all the characters. I've never been one of those people really into boarding school settings, but this was different; the way Richelle Mead builds her world is scary and satisfying. I felt like I had a good, solid understanding of how it worked, which isn't something that has happened after just the first book in a while. While I'm sure I still have a lot to learn (there are, after all, quite a few more books in the VA series, plus a spin off), I can appreciate the way it was written. 

I'm not going to lie, I got irritated with Rose sometimes; she could be really shallow, and selfish. The way the rumors in the school circulated to and fro were vicious, and she doesn't help the problem. But at the same time, I really liked her because she stood up for herself and her friend, was witty and funny, and and all-around great character. I also really loved her loyalty to Lissa, and how seriously she takes her guardian job, something she reflected on towards the end of the book. I guess I have a love-hate relationship with this MC, but it could definitely lean more towards love in the future.

It felt a little odd at certain points, because I feel like VA could have easily been written in Lissa's point of view rather than Rose's. With the amount of time Rose spends in her head, it almost felt weird for it not to be. But I'm sure Mead has a good reason for writing the series this way, and I really hope that I enjoy the rest of her novels, especially in this series. 

As a character, I really liked Dimitri. He's very much the serious, broody type of guy I tend to like in my YA books. I'm very interested in finding out more about him, but I didn't always understand the romance. I felt like the attraction between him and Rose was there, but that . . . it just didn't make me feel as strongly as I wanted it to. This, too, is something I hope changes later on. After all, this is only the first one, and there is plenty of time for their relationship to deepen (though I'm sure this will turn into a love triangle somewhere down the line, because, yeah, I can't escape those). 

All in all, this was an awesome start to a series, and I am definitively reading the others. I got my copy from the library, and I am now coveting all of the hardback books and wishing they were on my shelf, despite the somewhat unappealing covers. I have no idea where the story is going to go from here, and I'm so excited to find out!

4.5 stars

Books in this series: 

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

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