Thursday, 25 November 2010

Book Review: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead

Summary from Goodreads

I'm not a fan of the photo of the
girl on the cover, it makes
her look mean
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 review and thoughts

Until Vampire Academy, I had never read any vampire books before. I'll admit that I thought I didn't like them and that they weren't my kind of book at all when I hadn't even read one. So, as the release of the last book in the Vampire Academy series is soon to be released, I thought I'd give the series a go.

At the beginning of the book, Rose and Lissa find themselves captured and taken back to the St Vladimir's academy hidden deep in the forests of Montana after two years of freedom in the human world. Mysteriously, they share a bond that means Rose can read Lissa's thoughts and emotions that helps Rose to protect Lissa but this must be kept a secret between them.  Rose must continue her Dhampir education in training as a guardian for a Moroi like Rose and Lissa must take up her position as the only Moroi royal left in the Dragomir line.The 2 girls soon realise that the social scene they find themselves in is completely different to the one that they left and several rumours have been circulating about them. Everyone seems to be abuzz in answering why they ran away, how they survived and why they have returned. However the truth would be more harming than any of the rumours and neither of the girls can afford to let their guard down.

It took me quite a while to get into the story, understand the world of the vampires and get used to the voice of the narrator Rose. I was not used to the shorter sentences and the way Rose narrates the story as if she is talking casually to you but I think this is what made the story so alluring for me once I was immersed in the  world of Vampire Academy. Also, I think the author did a fantastic job of building up the pace of the book by making sure all the background is clear first leading to the suspenseful and thrilling atmosphere that escalates at different points throughout the story.

I found Rose was a very hard character to like, especially at first because she is often aggressive, reckless, selfish towards other people as well as being your typical 'bad' high school girl stereotype. Underneath though, she is not as tough as she seems on the outside and really does care more than she shows. My favourite thing about her is her devotion to Lissa, which really bought out the best in her personality and helped her to develop slightly as a character.
On the other hand, I much preferred her best friend Lissa, who feels a sense of duty to her deceased family to mix with the other vampire royal in their elite social circle but feels uncomfortable and shy about it deep inside. Lissa seemed to be much more wary of others feelings, and is known as one of the nicest girls in the school. I love the fact that she can be very outgoing when she tries and chooses not to let her family and who she is go to her head. Throughout the book, we get to see glimpses of all sides of her character and how she develops and I liked how Rose had a bond with her that meant she could read her thoughts. I wish I could read the story from her point of view. She is perhaps the saving grace of this book for me because it was the danger that she was frequently in that kept me turning the pages to find out what happened.

I find it very interesting that Richelle Mead used supernatural figures in myths and legends to create the different races of Moroi, Dhampirs and Strigoi.  These different races and their place in society is very well explained and my understanding of them increased throughout and this helped to make the world of the book more complex and believable.

Verdict: Vampire Academy has a thrilling storyline set against a brutal social scene complete with mean girls and cliques that grabbed my attention and got the pages turning . I enjoyed it so I will read the rest of the series to find out what happens to the characters but I am not rushing out to buy the next book. I would also like to point out that it is not a completely clean read so I would recommend that teenagers under 14 should be a little bit cautious.

Giveaway to come

I am very excited to say that to celebrate the release of the last book in the series Last Sacrifice on December 7th, Penguin UK have given me 3 copies of either the first or last book in the series to give away but unfortunately this will be for UK entrants only. Sorry to all my US and international followers!
Look out for the giveaway post to come soon!

1 comment:

I love comments, they make me smile! So thank you for taking the time to write one, I read all of them.
I try my best to reply here or on your blog :)

Stephanie x