Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review - Vampire Academy

Richelle Mead
Series: First book in the Vampire Academy series
Publication date: August 16th, 2007
Pages: 332
My rating: ♔ ♔ ♔ ♔ 

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 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; she 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 Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking hearts.
Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's--but their world is fraught with danger both inside and out of the Academy's iron gates. 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...

After nearly a year of reading nothing but classics, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead reminded me why I love YA. Impeccably paced and flowing, this book was like a breath of fresh air after the complex writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker. I have to say that this was one of, if not the, most unique vampire book in terms of YA. P.C and Kristen Cast, Stephenie Meyer and Charlaine Harris have all reinvented the term 'vampire', but the world Richelle Mead created was definitely the best.

In Vampire Academy there are different types of vampires. There are the Strigoi vampires, who are the only ones that would resemble a traditional vampire. They are immortal, don't go in the sunlight and kill humans for blood. Moroi vampires are only weakened by the sun, they aren't considered undead and they never kill humans for blood. In fact, killing a human would turn them into a Strigoi . And then there are Dhampirs - half human, half Moroi. At a first glance it seems like quite a complicated world, but the author did a wonderful job at tying the three types together. Nothing in this vampire society is random. 

The two main characters - Rose and Lissa - aren't characters often found in YA books, either. Or at least I have yet to come across a book where a teenage girl is as compassionate as Lissa. She has the rare power to heal people, and even bring back the dead. Even before Lissa was aware of her powers, she instinctively revived Rose, after she and Lissa's family died in a car crash. Every time Lissa uses her powers, it drains her and leaves her feeling depressed. Rose, being her guardian, is told to keep Lissa from using her powers. This isn't an easy job, because Lissa has an almost uncontrollable urge to help those in need, even if it hurts her. Lissa is also a member of one of the twelve royal Moroi families, but she isn't afraid to be different than the other snobby teens from the royal families. Disregarding what everyone else says, Lissa starts dating a boy named Christian. His parents had willingly turned into Strigoi vampires, which is strongly frowned upon in Moroi society. The students at the Academy don't want to be around him, but Lissa is much different.

Rose is unlike most female characters as well. Strong and confident, Rose refuses to give up even when facing  serious danger. I have to admit that Rose did annoy me at times. Occasionally she seemed a bit over confident and she did have her typical teenage girl moments, but overall was a likable character. 

I absolutely loved Vampire Academy and I can't wait to read all of the books in the series.

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