Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead. The 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.
Anyone who knows me or who’s read this blog for any length of time knows that YA paranormal isn’t exactly my favorite genre. But for some reason, I’ve been having really good luck with it lately. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been consciously trying to get into the genre more lately or if it’s because I just wasn’t reading good paranormals before--probably a combination of the two. Anyway, moral of the story, I ended up liking “Vampire Academy” way more than I ever thought I would.

I went into the book with the attitude of “I probably won’t like it, but everyone else seems to love the series, so I’ll give it a shot.” And at first, I wasn’t really into it. Vampires have never really been my thing, and I didn’t get Rose at all. She’s so opposite of me--she’s bold, outgoing, impulsive, and passionate--and I couldn’t really connect with her. Half the time I didn’t understand why she was doing the stuff she was doing. But at about the point where I was ready to give up on the book, it finally clicked with me.

I liked that the vampire world Mead created wasn’t the stereotypical one. In this version of vampires, there are Moroi (the good, living vampires), the Strigoi (the evil, dead vampires), and the Dhampir (the half-human, half-Moroi guardians of the Moroi). I thought it was awesome how Mead created a whole new culture, complete with social conflicts, issues, and divisions. And I liked the whole academy/training grounds for Moroi and Dhampir thing. Someone told me “Vampire Academy” was like Hogwarts with vampires, and it’s kinda true.

Although it took me a long time to start liking Rose, I did appreciate how protective and supportive she is of her friend Lissa. I will admit that at first she seemed a little freakily overprotective, but as the story progressed and I found out more about why Rose watches out for Lissa so much, it became totally understandable. I do wish Lissa wasn’t quite so fragile, but I guess her being that way provides a good foil for Rose.

Oh, and I have to mention Dimitri, Rose’s mentor/love interest. Man, there is something about the tall, strong, silent type that gets me every time. Dimitri’s just so . . . sexy. I don’t really know how else to describe him. The age difference between him and Rose (she’s 17, he’s 24) did give me a minor case of the creepy-crawlies, but since he realizes the age difference is a problem, it didn’t bug me as much as it could have.

Overall, I ended up liking this book way more than I ever expected to. It created an interesting vampire culture, and even though it took me a looooooong time to like Rose, by the end I thought she was totally awesome. I was glancing at the GoodReads’ ratings for this series, and each book is rated progressively higher. To anyone who’s read the series, is that true? I was planning on reading the second one, but I’m not much of one for series. But if they really do keep getting better throughout the series, maybe I’ll have to commit to all six.


  1. Karen, I completely understand the while not liking Rose straight away thing. When I first picked up the book, I almost stopped reading because she is so very confident in her looks and her abilities. I think it's just a bit confronting when a lot of YA is all about the shy, unassuming female. Now I am absolutely butt crazy in love with Rose. Her character grows so much throughout the series. And I don't think I have to go on about Dimitri! Glad you liked this one.

    I'm having a giveaway of the book Telesa by Lani Wendt Young on my blog. Check it out at The Write Obsession

  2. The over-protectiveness was a bit weird to me at the beginning also. I really enjoyed this series, though. I grew to really like Rose she gets a lot more badass toward the end of the series. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    Xpresso Reads

  3. I've been hesitating to start this series BECAUSE it's so popular. For whatever reason I'm often the only one that doesn't like a really popular YA series (Twilight...Hunger Games...etc.) But I may try it yet. Good luck with the rest of the series! Great review!

  4. Ooh! You finally started this one! I remember you were speculating it before so I'm super happy that you decided to fall into the masses and pick it up! :)

    I totally agree with you about not liking Rose at first. She was rude and selfish sometimes, and I couldn't connect with her either. But I ADORE her now, especially after the events of later books which I will not spoil, and I'm glad you came to like her too!

    Awesome review, Karen! I'm SO glad that you liked it, and I promise you that is just keeps getting better! :)

  5. I still haven't read any of the Vampire Academy books, but I hear nothing but raves about it! I think I really need to start reading this series.

  6. I also liked this one more than I thought I would but still so things like Rose's overconfidence in her sex appeal and Lisa's fragility AND Dimitri's ponytail (yuck!) bugged me a little too much.

    But maybe, MAYBE one day when I don't have too much on my plate, I will give the second book a chance, one of my friends is a VERY BIG fan, she will probably make me do it (:

  7. Definitely!! The books get better and better especially the 3rd, oh boy it is good!! I wish i could re-discover the series, it's one of my favourites!!!

    Great review and yeah lol the age gap between rose and dimitri is quite large but it never bothers me really:P


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