Modern Fantasy · Review · Young Adult

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

On the cover: Rose

Vampire Academy was written by Richelle Mead. It is the first novel in her Vampire Academy series. This is the synopsis:

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from the Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires–the ones who never die.

The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.

After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being the Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking Academy hearts.

Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir’s–inside the Academy’s iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals, and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever . . .

The novel starts with Rose watching the nightmare that Lissa is having. They have a bond that connects them. Unfortunately for Rose, she’s the bond is one way. If Lissa wants to communicate thoughts to Rose, it’s easy. If Rose wants to communicate thoughts to Lissa, it’s not through the bond. After finally jolting herself awake, she wakes the thrashing Lissa. In Moroi and Dhampir society, it is frowned upon for dhampirs to be fed on. Lissa has to feed on Rose for them to survive, because it would raise too much suspicion if someone else was found to fill the position. Rose has been getting a little addicted to the endorphins that are released in the bite, which angers and embarrasses her. For them, this is a necessary evil.

After the feeding, they discover that they were being watched. Rose, with her dhampir instincts, gets them on the move (Rose stumbling from blood loss). Of course, the school guardians catch up to them and capture them. Then, the girls are whisked back to the academy. After getting into so much trouble, Lissa has to go (royal Moroi and last of the Dragomirs) and almost expell Rose. Rose has a lot to catch up on regarding her training to be a guardian.

Rose has two love interests which turn to one. Mason has an obvious crush on Rose, which she doesn’t return. Jesse is a player royal Moroi. Dimitri is the tall, sexy, Russian Dhampir who is Lissa’s assigned guardian and Rose’s mentor. Lissa has two love interests. Christian Ozera, the son of two royals who chose to turn Strigoi, is an outcast who immediately intrigues her. With all of the drama though, she dates Aaron.

Let’s take a quick moment to look at the characters who are jerks (not including the true villain who would be a spoiler). Mia Rinaldi is the daughter of non-royal Moroi, eventually Aaron’s ex-girlfriend, and often referred to as looking like a child. Jesse is the son of royal Moroi and is a total player. The Strigoi, of course, are everyone’s enemies.

Rose, who is not religious, takes the time to study about St. Vladimir. Vladimir, Mrs. Karp (a former teacher–who chose to go Strigoi–she constantly remembers), and Lissa are all very much alike. She also learns about the term “shadow kissed.”

Throughout most of it, it seems mostly like a romance novel for teens with some spice. The main thing that draws us to the real plot is Lissa and their bond. She hasn’t specialized in any of the elements, that they know of. People keep delivering her dead or nearly dead animals. Whenever she uses her power, that no one else has, she gets side effects that make her crazy–sometimes to the point of cutting herself.

There are a few more things I would like to say. For a novel that has a love-triangle (a little different than most, but it’s the only way I can describe it), it is very good. It also shows that there are good and bad vampires. It sucks that dhampirs are like mules (hybrids and can’t reproduce with other dhampirs), but they are awesome at fighting together. What’s this stuff about Moroi fighting alongside the dhampirs? Finally, you will see Rose transform from a protective and impulsive girl into a protective and responsible guardian.

Every young adult should read this novel. If you have a love for vampires, this will intrigue you because it puts a new twist on vampires. For the copy of the novel I had, there were some typos (but I only saw 3-5). Maybe it was the publishing company’s fault, so it might be fixed now.

Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, Young Adult

Stars (out of 5): ****

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