Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
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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
Can I just first say that it took me a very very very long time to read this book? I used to be fairly obsessed with Twilight…until Breaking Dawn came out and became a colossal disappointment and the movies were absolutely terrible. Then I sort of had a ban on vampire books. They tend to be cheesy and too full of angst for me to handle and I can’t handle the whole vampire love story, with vampires denying who they are to keep their humanity and blah blah blah.
However, this novel is coming out in theaters on February 14th and people are constantly shoving it in my face (in a nice way, of course). It seemed like everyone was talking about this book and then when Dimitri, the main man of the series, beat out my Will Herondale of the Infernal Devices in the YA Crush Tourney, I was officially intrigued. What was it about this book that had people so addicted?
I decided I would give it a chance, due to the fact that I am suddenly obsessed with the library (and I’m actually doing pretty well with turning books back in on time…and actually turning books in…) and this is the year of trying new things, even if those things aren’t usually ones that I would normally try. So I decided to give it a try.
And I was pleasantly and surprisingly impressed with the first novel of this series, and I now have the second novel on hold at the library. It started off slow for me, or that could have been my reluctance to enjoy a vampire novel. But as soon as I started to feel a connection to Rose, the main character, I felt myself being sucked into the story and I finished the book fairly quickly.
The thing about Rose is, she’s half-human/vampire, a dhampir, and her best friend, Lissa, is a Moroi (mortal vampire) princess. She’s determined to protect her, to keep her safe from Strigoi, which are the immortal vampires. The story was very different than the stories we’ve gotten in the past. I appreciated that the story was on the side of the vampires, and you felt so close to them, they felt so human, that for most of the novel, I forgot that most of them WERE vampires. They didn’t make it a secret that they drank human blood, but they avoided killing humans, and they just sort of embraced what they were. Vampires that were Moroi were born, not made, so this is something normal, and dhampir like Rose are the results of relationships between dhampir and Moroi, trained to become guardians. It was very unique and presented in a way that I didn’t feel like I was falling into a cheesy vampire book.
I also really bonded with the characters, all of them. I feel like so many characters in those vampire novels tend to be very one-dimensional and boring but Richelle Mead creates these multi-dimensional, amazing, developed characters that have so much more in them than just love or lust. Rose is determined, cocky and ambitious, ready to protect Lissa. Lissa is caring, sensitive, and sort of a chaotic mess, if you ask me. Dimitri has so much going on and yet we don’t see any of it, but he’s also ambitious and determined and so ready to do his duty, no matter the cost. All the characters, even the smallest ones, are believable and create a very addicting story.
Bravo, Richelle Mead, for bringing me back into the world of vampires and creating a novel that tells a great story, with amazing characters that presents a real dark fantasy world that can make even the most staunch vampire-hater love it :)
4 out of 5 Stars
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