Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)
Vampire Academy
by Richelle Mead
Paperback, 332 pages
Published August 16th 2007 by Razorbill

Premise: Ganked from Goodreads:

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.

My Review:

First, I want to thank everyone who raves about this series so much that I finally read it. THANK YOU!  Special thanks to Valeria for insisting that "the beginning is the best place to start!"  :-D

Rose is wonderful. She is such a deep character. I love her name, but she hates rose-lookin’ things symbolizing her name, like she’s not all “cute” and flowery. (Hilarious!) I enjoy the way Rose has this opinion of herself as a “bad girl” and yet there’s a deep undercurrent of values. She has beautiful LAYERS!! I love layers!

Lissa is so opposite and also multilayered. (Yay!) She plays the social game and I can’t tell whether she really hates it or kinda enjoys it. She seems to enjoy the attention of her peers and the perks of popularity, but she needs alone time, too. When the depression hits, especially the cutting, I just want to throttle her. Maybe slap her awake? Something not nice and very firm ‘cause she folds into herself like melting jello and requires recuing rather desperately. I’m not sure if I applaud Mead for creating such a wishy-washy character or growl wondering where in the world it emerged from. You know? 

Dimitri is… pretty darn WOW. I haven’t seen as much of him as I’d like to, yet. Lol. No, really, he’s nearly a full-rounded character with hints of dark past and great inner strength… while also revealing tiny peeks at a beating heart… but not quite. I am left with the impression of someone coming into view through the fog, condensing into someone very tall. And Russian. And crazy-cool. With a serious sense of responsibility.

Christian is fun!!  Did anyone else love Christian?  He’s so… unsocial! Moody!  I totally see how he’s entirely Uncool, and yet, I just liked him... right up ‘til the end when he was as woosy as any vampire.

Speaking of which… how creative to have woosy vampires! ("Woos" meaning spineless or the squishy middle of a snail requiring protection.) They remind me of century old nobility, or something, with all the intelligent grace of courtiers but none of the power of warriors. I love the hint that this might change and Christian is daring to think of his magic as a weapon… not that the idea will go over well any time soon. And… not like he figured out how to use it when it might’ve come in handy, either.

The damphirs are fun, although the mating rituals are a little complicated. I can’t really cheer on a system that requires foolin’ around. (Seriously. That is lame.)

I’m also wondering about the devotion of the damphir guardians and their vampires. Doesn’t seem like the system is working out very well. Which is partly why I’m looking forward to diving into the next book. There's unresolved tension there, a whole system being threatened and a series of books to really dive into the issue!

Strigoi. I’m kinda gettin’ the picture, but not really. They seem scary bad, but not that… scary. There’s a big question raised as to why the vampires are hiding at the academy? and I agree. Why?!

Oh… and as for the twist… the unpredictable twist… that was great. I won’t spoil it for you, ‘cause NO WAY did I guess who was behind all the sneaky badness. Absolutely perfect. AND… all those hints about the bad past at the beginning? Explained! This book is a great standing story all by itself, which is awesome.

My Rating: 4 - Good read!  The character development is amazing, the action is steady and exciting and logical. 

Ok... here's my rant moment. 

There are a LOT of similarities between Vampire Academy and Half-Blood. A lot. I set VA aside after about 50 pages and vented to a friend who encouraged me to keep reading, 'cause the two books go in separate directions.  I'm glad I continued, 'cause, yea. This is a great book. HOWEVER, I seriously want to have a "same & different" discussion!!!  So, I'm posting that very next.

Um... and it's obvious (I think) that VA came first. Which brings up an important point. With all the drama between Authors & Publicists & Book Bloggers (which I know nothing about in my corner of the world) there are some authors being gracious, people who just continue writing great books!

About the Amazing Author:

RichelleScorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

More on her BIO page.

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