Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Review: Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead

Lissa Dragomir is a mortal vampire.

She must be protected at all times from the fiercest and most dangerous vampires of all - the ones who never die.

Rose Hathaway is Lissa's best friend - and her bodyguard.

Now, after two years of illicit freedom, they've been dragged back inside the iron gates of St. Vladimir's Academy.  The girls must survive a world of forbidden romances, a ruthless social scene and terrifying night-time rituals.

But above all, they must never let their guard down, lest the immortal vampires take Lissa - forever...

Vampire Academy Series:
Vampire Academy
Vampire Academy Graphic Novel
Frostbite
Shadow Kiss
Blood Promise
Spirit Bound
Last Sacrifice

Bloodlines Series: (This is a spin off from the Vampire Academy Series)
Adrian's Lost Chapter (Free Short Story can be read here)
Bloodlines
The Golden Lily
The Indigo Spell
The Fiery Heart (Release date to be confirmed)


Visit Richelle Mead's website for more information

Review:
Rose and Lissa have been on the run for 2 years having escaped from St Vladimir's Academy when they believed Lissa was in danger.  When they finally get caught they are not happy to be dragged back to the Academy but have no choice but to make the best of it - with everyone watching them like hawks it would be almost impossible to escape again.

St Vladimir's Academy is a school for Moroi and Dhampirs, the Moroi are good vampires - mortal and with abilities to control the elements they are only able to tolerate small amounts of sunlight and need to drink small quantities of blood to survive.  The Dhampirs are half Moroi & half human, stronger than the Moroi they don't drink blood and are able to go out in the sun.  They train as Guardians and it is their job to protect the Moroi from the Strigoi.  The Strigoi are evil vampires that are undead, immortal and kill their victims when they drink blood.  Drinking from the Moroi give the Strigoi the most strength so they are their preferred victims and Moroi numbers are falling drastically.

Rose is a dhampir and a guardian in training and it is her job to keep her best friend Lissa, who just happens to be a Moroi princess, safe from Strigoi.  Having spent the last 2 years protecting Lissa in the human world Rose has become over-confident in her abilities and doesn't believe there is any point continuing with her training.  She quickly discovers that she is behind her classmates though and if she has any hope of graduating with the rest of her class she is going to have to work hard to catch up.  It soon becomes clear that Lissa is being targeted again now they have returned to the academy but who is behind the strange goings on and what are they hoping to gain?

I have read and enjoyed a lot of vampire novels over the years but I have to say this is the strongest start to a new young adult vampire series that I've ever read.  I absolutely loved Rose who is the narrator of the story, she is intelligent, tough and sassy with a smart mouth that may get her in trouble but also had me laughing out loud.  At times she shows incredible maturity for someone only 17 years old, I liked the fact that when she realises how behind she is compared to her friends she is determined to work as hard as it takes to catch up.  She is also very selfless - always putting Lissa's needs before her own, wanting to protect her whatever the costs.  Rose has quickly become one of my favorite YA heroines and I think she makes a great role model.

I also liked Lissa but she is very different from Rose, much softer and less able to take care of herself.  She needs Rose to take care of her and at times I found it irritating that she doesn't seem capable of doing anything for herself but this did start to change by the end of the book.  I find the psychic bond between Rose and Lissa an interesting element to the story - Rose can constantly feel Lissa's emotions which is going to be a big help when it comes to trying to protect her. 

Other than Rose my favorite character would have to be Dimitri - insert swooning here! - I absolutely LOVE him.  A trained guardian Dimitri has been assigned to protect Lissa and is also Rose's mentor, in charge of giving her extra lessons to help her catch up with the rest of her class.  The chemistry between Dimitri and Rose is instant, scorching hot and I can't wait to see how things turn out for them in the series.  With him being 7 years older and practically Rose's teacher the forbidden love aspect of their relationship really adds something and makes it impossible to resist the idea of them together.

Having read all of Richelle Mead's adult books so far I have been looking forward to starting this series but for some reason I was a little nervous in case it didn't live up to her high standards.  I don't know why I was worried - Vampire Academy has everything I've come to expect from her as an author.  The plot is fast paced, she has created a detailed world with a unique take on vampire mythology, the bad guys are positively scary and the characters are so three dimensional that it feels like you know them in real life.  I enjoyed this so much that I've devoured the first 3 books of the series in 3 days and I'll be continuing the series as soon as I can get my hands on the next 2 books!  This really is a must read series for vampire fans both young and old and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Source: Library

Other Reviews:
Darlyn & Books
So Many Books, So Little Time
The Bookette
Ink and Paper
Chrissie's Corner
Story Wings
I'd So Rather Be Reading
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

10 comments:

  1. I agree with the review.But instead of Dimitri, I think Christian is a mysterious guy and I kind of like him ;p

    here's the link of my review of the book;

    http://darlynandbooks.blogspot.com/2010/03/vampire-academy-by-richelle-mead.html

    i ejnjoyed reading yours!

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  2. I am actually Jealous. I remember reading this..I loved it. I had the same exact excitement you did.. Now I am just jealous of the feeling you have after reading FAB Books. LOL

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  3. The Vampire Acedemy series sounds really good. I am trying to avoid starting another series though but I do love the vamps :D

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  4. I LOVE this series too. They get better as well! Here's my review of it:

    http://solittletimeforbooks.blogspot.com/2009/06/vampire-academy-richelle-mead.html

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  5. I love this series and since 4 others are already out it will be fun to watch you catch up with the series. The bad part? She leaves massive cliffhangers. Wait till you meet Adrian in Frostbite - heh. One of my fave things about this series is Rose's mouth.

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  6. @ Darlyn - I like Christan too but I LOVE Dimitri! There is something about him that completely stole my heart. I enjoyed reading your review & have added your link for you :o)

    @ Cleverly Inked - Don't you just love the first time you read a great book? I've got a lot of books I've read or will read more than once but you can never quite capture the magic of discovering a great series again. And Vampire Academy is definitley the start of a great series LOL!

    @ Asamum - If you're just going to pick 1 new series to start I'd definitely recommend this one. I know what you mean though, there are just too many good books out there to have time to read them all.

    @ So Many Books - I loved your review Sophie! This is such a great book, I really don't know why I didn't start the series sooner. I suppose the good thing is that I don't have to wait too long for the final book to come out LOL. I've added your link :o)

    @ LilyofDarkness - LOL you're right about Richelle & her cliffhangers - she does it with her adult series too! I've read the first 3 books in this series now & I wanted to scream at the end of Shadow Kiss. I'm going to have to read the next 2 books very soon I think & then there will be the long wait until December :o( I think Rose is fab & some of the things she comes out with have me laughing out loud. I wasn't so keen on Adrian in Frostbite but he definitely grew on me in Shadow Kiss & I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with him next!

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  7. I need to read this series! I loved Mead's adult books and this series sounds awesome too - great review!

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  8. I haven't read any of Richelle's adult books. I will have to try them because I loved VA too!

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  9. Awesome review, Sarah! I so love this series! It's amazing, and I'm so glad you love it too! Oh, you have SO much to look forward to! :D

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  10. @ Heather - I definitely recommend this series! I've read all of Richelle's adult books & love Georgina but VA is brilliant :o) I love the twist she's put on vampire mythology

    @ Becky - I loved your review of VA. I really like Richelle's succubus series but I have to warn you she puts as many twists in the adult series as she does in the YA ones LOL.

    @ Jo - I can't wait to read the rest of this series. I've got to get my hands on books 4 & 5 and then I don't know how I'm going to wait until September for the last book! I've loved reading your reviews for the series so far but I'm not reading past book 3 in case of spoilers :o)

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