Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

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Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Series: Vampire Academy, Book 1
Paperback: 332 pages
Summary: (taken 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.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

I must say, “I never in a million years thought I would be writing a review about Vampires.” When a friend suggested that I read Vampire Academy I laughed at her. Having never read anything in this genre, I wasn’t in a hurry to start. She handed me her copy and said just try. I reluctantly agreed knowing that I would never be interested in it. The first chapter seemed a little weird to me, as I tried to understand what was happening between Rose and Lissa. The spirit dream confused the heck out of me and when Lissa fed off Rose I thought I was going to be nauseated. But I really liked Richelle Meade’s writing style, so I continued reading. It wasn’t until Rose and Lissa arrived back at the Academy that I found myself actually enjoying the book.

I was intrigued by the whole concept of there being two types of Vampires; Moroi, who are the good vampires, and Stigoi, who are the bad. There is also a group called Dhampirs, who protect the Moroi and they are half Moroi and half human. St Vladimir Academy is a special school for Dhampirs to learn to protect Moroi. Rose, the protagonist of the book, is a Dhampir who ran away from St Vladmir Academy to protect Lissa, a Moroi, from an unknown enemy. The guardians at St Vladmir Academy found Rose and Lissa, secretly living among humans and returned them to the Academy. While at the Academy, Rose practiced training skills with Dimitri Belikov. It was this intense training along with Rose's quick response that would ultimately make her one of the best guardians. The concept of good versus evil has always been the cornerstone of my favorite types of books, so I was hooked to learn that even vampires have a code of ethics.

All the characters were enjoyable, but I have to say Rose, was my favorite. What I found fascinating about her was although she had a lot of emotional problems that played out in her personal life, starting with her thoughts that every male wanted to be with her, she had a strong sense of duty to protect Lissa, keeping her extremely focused. Lissa, being a spirit using Moroi, had saved Rose from death and in doing so created a supernatural bond between the two of them. Rose could read Lissa's thoughts and sense when she was in danger. Because Rose and Lissa had run away from St Vladmir Academy for over a year, Rose was behind in her training. As punishment she had to train extra hours with Guardian Belikov, who I can only imagine by his description to be likened to that of a Greek god, but only Russian. Personally, one could only hope for some one-on-one training with this Russian god. This was a fantastic storyline with many twists that kept me rooting for Rose and Dimitri even though guardians could not date each other.

Richelle Mead's writing style made reading this book not only enjoyable, but one of my favorite recommendations for young adults. This book has a kick-butt storyline, great characters, great plot, but more importantly Richelle Mead constantly interjects the back story, throughout the book, so I didn't have to put much thought into remembering how each character relates.