If you ask anyone who has read the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead if they liked it, I would bet that you will end up with quite an impassioned and enthusiastic presentation on how much they LOVED it, what a fantastic series it is, how exciting and thrilling the story is and that they cannot wait to get the next book finally in their hands.
If you haven’t read this series you might wonder what all the fuss is about. It’s just another YA series about vampires and high school romance, right? Well no. The Vampire Academy series is so much more than that. And you want to know what sets it apart from the other YA vampire books and makes it so outstanding and exceptional? Well read on, I’m about to tell you.
1) For me it is the emotional depth and intensity that makes this series truly outstanding. Richelle Mead is not afraid to take her characters and readers down dark and scary roads and make them experience pain, loss, heartbreak and sorrow. And due to this, the joy and relief gets more enhanced. I love that while reading this series I’m taken on a completely overwhelming emotional rollercoaster and that after finishing the book I feel like my insides have been jumbled up the story shook me that much. Maybe you’ll say I’m a masochist, but I like my books to make me feel things, and these certainly do that!
2) The snarky humour! Not only is the heroine a very refreshing, sarcastic and snarky narrator, but there are a bunch of supporting characters (Christian, Adrian) who also ensure that the stories are infused with just the right amount of lightness and humour to alleviate all the gloominess.
3) The passion. Maybe this is included in reason 1), but I wanted to stress this one. Passion is all around these novels: Rose is passionate about protecting Lissa and for this becoming the best guardian, the love they share with Dimitri is the definition of passionate (even if or especially because they have to repress it for so long), Moroi and Dhampirs are passionate about protecting their world at all costs against the Strigoi and I could go on. Passion plays a crucial role in all interactions and facets of these stories, and that’s what makes this series and universe such a vibrant and live one.
4) Amazing, step-off-the-page characters. I have to first mention the truly fantastic heroine/narrator: Rose: she is interesting and original. She has the required spunk and snarkiness making her an independent and entertaining character. Then of course there are the heroes: Dimitri and Adrian. You couldn’t find two more different men: Dimitri is all responisble, quietly intense and serious while Adrian is casual and laid-back, his devil-may-care attitude is in sharp contrast with Dimitri’s responsible attitude but his funny pursuit of Rose and his selflessness when iot comes to her makes him an ideal hero too. And all the other characters, even the minor supporting ones are well developed and not just shells or sterotypes. Each one them is special and unique, and has their own quirks and character traits (Mason and Christian are my favourite, Christian’s snarky and dry humour sets him apart and makes him one of the fabourite supporting characters).
5) Mature voice of the YA narrator. I’m not a big fan of YA novels because of bad past experience: as a 26 year old reader I don’t enjoy reading about immature, whining, drama queen teenagers who make hissy fits about life unfairness and the excessive teenage angst. So I was very pleasantly surprised when reading the Vampire Academy series, because not only is Rose a more mature heroine than her 17 years would make you believe, but Richelle Mead’s writing is complex, at times lyrical but always of great quality, and you don’t feel that just because it is a YA novel and written for teenagers the writing has been toned done and simplified.
These are just a few reasons that set the Vampire Academy series apart from the other YA vampire novels for me. And you dear readers, those who have read the VA series, in your opinion why is it an exceptional series? For you what sets it apart?