Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Filed in Review , Richelle Mead , The Latin Lover Posted on September 22, 2010 @ 8:46 am 12 comments

Format Read: Paperback
Number of Pages: 336 pages 
Release Date: 16 August 2007
Publisher: Razorbill Publishing
Formats Available: Hardback, Paperback, eBook
Source: I won my copy at a blog contest
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Razorbill Publishing, Amazon, Book Depository US, Book Depository UK

Book Blurb: 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.

My Thoughts: I kept hearing everywhere how everyone loves this YA vampire series, and after some time I finally got around to read it. You have to understand that my reluctance was due to the fact that this is a YA series and I’m not such a big fan of YA novels. But I got sucked in the story after the first few paragraphs and gobbled up Vampire Academy in less than a day!

I was amazed at the universe and vampire traits Richelle Mead created because not only are they original, but they also fairly differ from the usual canon. In the Vampire Academy universe there are two kinds of vampires: the Moroi: the living and quite vulnerable “nice” vampires and the Strogoi: the dead, preternaturally strong and fast evil vampires, whose goal is to turn/kill the Moroi. There is a third supernatural category, the Dhampirs. They are half-breed hybris having one Moroi and one Dhampir parent. Dhampirs are stronger than Moroi and are trained to serve as bodyguards to the Moroi.

The heroine of the series is Rose Hathaway, a dhampir girl who is training to be the bodyguard of her best friend, Lissa Dragomir who is a Moroi princess. Rose is a pretty, snarky, tomboyish girl, whose whole existence revolves around protecting Lissa from all harm and hurt. The girls are more than simple best friends they are like sisters and share a special bond through which Rose is attuned to Lissa’s feelings and thoughts.

The series is narrated by Rose (except for those few scenes where we see the scenes from Lissa’s POV), and Rose is a very likable and entertaining narrator. Wherever she goes trouble ensues and it’s guaranteed nothing will be dull. What I liked about Vampire Academy and Rose is that even though she is seventeen and of course she shows some teenager traits, otherwise she is extremely mature. She has a main goal in sight (becoming the best guardian she can be to protect Lissa) and she surrenders everything to achieve it. Her determination and sacrifice sets her out of the usual whiny angsty teenage heroines.

Rose and Lissa are complete opposites, besides their look (Rose is dark haired while Lissa is pale blond), Rose is the outspoken, gutsy even hotheaded smartmouth while Lissa is the quiet, prudent, vulnerable one.

There are quite a few supporting characters who will be back in the following books, and I enjoyed how well developed they all were. My personal favourite was Mason. He is a classmate of Rose, her best guy friend. Mason is also a dhampire and training to become a guardian after graduation. Mason brings the witty light humour to ease Rose’s spirit. He is there for her, be it for moral support, protection or simply just to goof around and laugh off the steam.

Besides Mason there are two other major male characters: Dimitri Belikov, the 24 year old darkly brooding, silent ,drop-dead-gorgeous, god-like guardian who is training Rose; and Christian, offspring of one of the royal Moroi families but who is a bit twisted due to his past and what happened to his family. I won’t get into details, because it’s better if you read the book without too many details known beforehand, but I just want to say that both characters are fantastic. Dimitri is the typical dark, quiet, charismatic, power-oozing hero. Love how controlled he is, his restraint is amazing. And Christian is the character – besides Rose and Mason – who made me laugh the most. His snarky lines are so refreshing. 😀

There is everything in Vampire Academy to make it an enjoyable page turner: thrilling mystery, forbidden romance, humour and a snarky, witty narrative with enjoyable characters. After devouring Vampire Academy I got myself Frostbite immediately!

If you haven’t read this series yet, start it now. I bet you’ll soon have the whole series on your shelf and will devour all 5 books in a mere couple of days 😉

I give this book 4.5 bookies!


***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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Join the Discussion
  • Felicia the Geeky Blogger September 22, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Tara and I both finished all the books in like less than a couple of weeks! It is such a good series 🙂

  • Cem September 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Yay for a new VA fan!! lol

    I was hooked on VA within pages and it became my favourite YA series full stop because while it's got classic YA traits in places it's also so different and I find it's got a very mature feel to it for a YA series. I'm now desperate for the final book in the series, Last Sacrifice. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series!

  • Stella (Ex Libris) September 22, 2010 at 9:20 am

    @ Oh Felicia, I'm pretty sure that if I didn't have review books to finish for deadlines I'd gobble up all 5 books in no time! 😀

    @Cem: I completely agree with you! I was reluctant to read it because I was afraid it would be a bit too whiny and teenager drama centered for me, but I aghree with you, besides the story being set in a high school and most of the characters being 17-18, it still has a more mature feeling. Also the story seems quite serious too.

    I hate having to wait a long time between books, so now at least I get to read the first 5 books as fast as I can devour them 🙂

    Yep, I'm Stella and I just became a VA addict! ;-D

  • brandileigh2003 September 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I love VA so much, and love seeing positive reviews. I am glad you gave it a shot.
    I love Rose and she makes me laugh!I can't wait to see what you think about the rest of the series.

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  • draconismoi September 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I am leery of any and all YA vampiric romance books…..mostly because way-back-when I was fiendishly tricked into giving Twilight a try. *shudder*

  • Spellboundbybooks Melissa September 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I absolutely love this series and I think you couldn't have picked a better time to start reading. Last Sacrifice (The 6th and last book) will be out in December so you won't have to wait very long at all.

    Great Review 🙂

  • Sharon S. September 23, 2010 at 8:51 am

    cool. I just picked up the first book because I have been hearing so much about it. I am a big UF/PNR fan. After reading your review I can't wait to try it.

  • Sugar September 23, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I will check it out.. I am reluctant with ya also..but have a teen myself, so I can always pass it on 🙂

  • Jenny N. September 23, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I'm not up to date with the series but I have read the first book. I should probably reread it and read the other ones in the series as well.

  • Bea September 24, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    I was reading Richelle's Succubus series when the first VA book came out. I picked it up and loved it!! It's still one of my favorite series, adult or YA.

    If you get the chance, you really should read rest of the series. She maintains the quality throughout and I am anxiously waiting for the last book. I want to know what happens but I don't want the series to end.

  • cories5 September 25, 2010 at 2:10 am

    I read VA when it first came out, but I've decided to wait for the rest of the series to be out before I read the other books. It's not nearly as gag-inducing as "Twilight" (I still read the whole series though) but the level of teen angst is still a bit on the high side for me (the Rose and Dimitri relationship – oy).

    I so much prefer Richelle Mead's two adult series: Dark Swan and Georgina Kincaid/Succubus.

  • Stella (Ex Libris) September 26, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Oh believe me, after I got this first (and quite addictive) taste of VA, I plan on reading my way through the whole series, and keep your eyes open, because we're planning on reviewing all VA novels here at Book Lovers Inc! WOuld be great to continue discussing them with you! 🙂

    @draconismoi: In my opinion VA is more mature in the narration: Rose is not whiny or too teenage-dramatic, maybe you could give it a go and see if you like.

    @SpellboundbyBooks: oh yes! I'm so glad that I won't have to wait too long between books, hate that! :-/

    @Sharon S: please let me know how you'll like it!

    I'm curious to see whether the sequel books keep getting better, as it usually does onec the author really gets familiar with their universe-building.

    @Sugar: give it a try, it is not the usual YA,a nd if it's not for you, I'm sure your kid will love it 😀

    @Jenny: Come and join us as we are reading our way through the whole Vampire Academy series! 🙂

    @Bea: thanks, that's good to knnow the following books will be that good! Ok, if you say so, I'll check out Richelle's other series too 🙂

    @cories5: Maybe the teen angst will reach its peak later on, because right now (I've read the first 2 books) it's still managable and not nauseating 😉 I'll check out the adult series too if you all keep saying it's so good 🙂

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