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.
Why I read it: I've heard so many great things about this series, but I've totally gone off vampires. I won this book in a giveaway and decided to give it a go.
Review: After the whole Twilight phenomenon, I've totally gone off Vampires. I also totally don't like series that go on past three books. It's for these reasons that I have been thinking that Vampire Academy was just not for me.
Even now, while I'm writing this review, I can't decide how I felt about this book. I know I liked it, it was an enjoyable read, but it fell short on so many levels and I just cannot say that I loved it. That being said, there were a lot of things about the book that I totally loved.
Firstly, the main character, Rose was snarky and entertaining to read. Her narration was totally entertaining and never bored me. I loved her voice and her emotions, it makes this book a lot lighter than other YA reads. I also totally loved Rose's relationship with Lissa, they had the normal best friend dynamics that I totally relate to which are made a lot stronger because of their bond.
I liked the new twist on vampires, giving this whole world with politics and laws, it was very well thought out and very original, their 'feeding' dynamics are very different to usual too. I definitely enjoyed the twist, with the different types of vamps and the guardians. The writing itself was great too, I found a few editing mistakes, but nothing much. I didn't ever feel like Mean was trying purple prose, or was being too witty to be realistic.
There are a lot of swear words in the book, and the book mentions sex and has some make-out scenes. While this didn't bother me personally, I know that some readers might be offended by this. In my opinion, the book needed this level of sexuality. (Or in the words of my old English Lit teacher, the lovely Tristessa, "Vampires are meant to be sexual creatures, romping all the time and sucking each others blood to get off, they aren't meant to hunt deer, play baseball and sparkle" (this was in a very heated debate about Twilight with one of my classmates...)
But as I said, I didn't love this book, there were too many issues for me. I though that the characters were undeveloped, Dimitri was the typical silent and hot guy, Lissa was just a side-kick with powers, Christian was the outcast with a crush, etc. The story was a bit anti-climatic, I'd have loved more of a struggle, and it seemed as though everything was concluded too quickly, tied up in a bow. A cliffhanger would have had me wanting more, but as it stands I'm not really feeling like I need the next book.
I didn't feel like I believed Rose and Dimitri's romance. His feelings for her seem to stem from her body and flirting, not her personality and her's seem like just lust too. The blurbs for the later books describe him as her 'true love', but I didn't see any love, just lust. It also seemed a bit creepy, I mean, I'm all for 'age is just a number' but 17 and 24 is too much. 17 is younger than me and if a 24 year old was hitting on me I'd think he was; a) Desperate, b) A perv, c) Both of the above. Get my point?
Overall, Vampire Academy was an okay read, with a unique main character. The book offers a brand new take on vampires and Mead obviously has a great talent for writing. Unfortunately, I found that the characters were poorly developed, as was the main romance. I would have loved a more climatic romance... maybe even a cliffhanger?
Overall rating: C
Series/Stand Alone: First in a series
UK Release Date: May 16th 2009 (First published 2007 (US))
UK Publisher: Puffin
Book received as a giveaway prize from Paper Dreams