Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy Series
Publish Date: August 16th, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
ONLY A TRUE BEST FRIEND CAN PROTECT YOU FROM YOUR IMMORTAL ENEMIES…
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest 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 Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger…and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever…
I’ve fostered a longstanding mistrust of vampire novels after an impressively lengthy succession of unfortunate reads. My consequently low expectations for Vampire Academy were very quickly blown away, though, and I’m more than ready to unquestioningly launch headfirst into the remainder of the series…which is rather high praise coming from the vampire-novel skeptic that I’ve become.
One of the primary factors that set Vampire Academy apart from its contemporaries in the Paranormal genre was its originality and overall lack of stereotypes. Furthermore, the unique features that were incorporated added another dimension to the story, rather than serving as miscellaneous and completely unnecessary information (ie. characters sparkling when exposed to direct sunlight). I’ve also been a huge fan of boarding school settings recently, which may have contributed further.
While the pacing is rather uneven, it accounts for multiple suspenseful buildups and unexpected twists and turns. The conclusion was equally unpredictable, and there was no way in hell I could’ve dreamt up that scenario. It never even crossed my mind as a possibility while I was reading. Nevertheless, a rather slow beginning in exchange for several exciting cliffhangers and an excellent ending is not that poor of a tradeoff.
There were an exceptional number of bratty, constantly-on-one’s-nerves characters that made the book slightly less pleasurable than it could have been. While the protagonists, for the most part, were well-developed and dynamic, undergoing a decent amount of characterization, the minor characters and antagonists seemed to fall apart in these respects, experiencing a complete lack of individuality and growth as the work progressed. Not to mention they had an impressive knack for unexpected and extremely unorthodox backstabbing.
The romances, similarly, were another pitfall. Mead exerted too much effort in an attempt to force relationships that simply didn’t work. She took immature characters and attempted to disguise their middle school relationship (in which mere fraternization was deemed scandalous, let alone handholding) as the next best Nicholas Sparks romance. Combining these factors results in multiple exceedingly awkward encounters that resulted in severe secondhand embarrassment on my part. To make matters worse, numerically, there were far too many relationships that were both starting and ending. It was a constant struggle to keep track of whom was in love with whom, whom was exploiting his/her significant other, and whom was concerned merely about social status.
Mead’s writing style is free from aggravating grammatical and structural errors that seem to characterize young adult books nowadays, and she incorporates a decent balance between descriptions and dialogue. She is very thorough in her world-building and has mastered the art of gradually revealing information to readers in this respect. Having completed only the first book in the series, I know just enough about the world to pique my interest and clear up any areas of immediate confusion, but too little to fully sate my curiosity. Frostbite, here I come!
|Plot & Premise|