Sunday, May 24, 2009

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

I think this book was up for grabs at BookDivas a couple of years back and the only thing that stopped me from getting it over Angel’s Choice by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (a good one--and my first ever review) was the cover. (If not BookDivas, probably some other similar situation.) It, in my opinion, made (makes) Vampire Academy look derivative and I’m just not so into vampires that I can read stuff that didn’t come recommended to me.

Now, I’m trying really hard to learn to love the cover because, god forbid, it is what it is, but you don’t have to tell me twice to love the story behind it. I already do.

Moroi vampire princess Lissa Dragomir and half-human, half-vampire (dhampir) Rose Hathaway are finally caught two years after fleeing St. Vladmir’s academy for reasons only Rose could tell you. In a world where the Moroi--or good, magical, harmless vampires--are dwindling in numbers with the proliferation of Strigoi--bad, killer vampires--the burden of protecting the Moroi falls upon the dhampirs, who need them for procreation. Gifted with an unique bond that allows her to experience Lissa’s feelings, delinquent Rose’s only saving grace against expulsion from the Academy is that she’s the princess’s ideal guardian.

But being under house arrest and exhausted with all her extra training with the steamy Dimitri Belikov as part of her preparation toward becoming a guardian (making up for lost time, if you will) doesn’t stop Rose from piecing together shocking truths and parallels between her recently orphaned friend’s depression and magic, their bond, and an enigmatic former teacher who was taken away.

Well, the first thing I can tell you is that Vampire Academy isn’t derivative.

Rose, the main character, may be hard to like at first. Her fierce loyalty, passion and strength may come across as cocky and irritating, but with each passing page, her character is unveiled and what you see is that she’s determined to keep her best friend safe. Which is the beauty factor of this book: at its heart, it’s a tale of friendship.

Lissa and the supporting cast are all just as well written, but it’s a good thing this is told from Rose’s perspective, as she’s my favorite. Well, from the girls. There’s your assortment of hot guys thrown in for good measure, but y’all can sigh over those yourselves. ;)

What struck me most, however, was how unique the mythology here is. I won’t get into it because it’s very carefully plotted to be relevant to the conflict and such, but it’s presented prominently and the vampiric culture was almost a character itself in that it leaped to life. You had your religion, your customs, and your taboos, and you can’t help but become immersed in it.

And what I appreciated a lot? The ending wasn’t a cliffhanger whatsoever but just as effectively makes me wish I had the second book right here with me. (Which I will, if the good Lord permits my bookstore to ship it out on time, in two days.)

I can see where the Vampire Academy series gained their fame and momentum. If this first book is of any indication, it’s a perfect contender for word-of-mouth: it propels praise. I just couldn’t wait to start talking about how much I liked it. It was an immensely fun and satisfying read, complete with originality to boot.

You definitely get your money’s worth after 300+ pages of action-packed narrative at $9, is all I’m saying.

Further: I'm sorry, but someone really needs to fix the typographical errors herein. It's been 17 printings y'all, there's just no excuse anymore.

Razorbill | 332 pages | August 16th, 2007 | Website | Excerpt | GoodReads | IndieBound | Amazon

23 comments:

Reverie said...

I really enjoyed this series and am very much impatiently waiting for Blood Promise out this fall.. sigh it cannot come any faster!

hope you like the other ones just as much!

Ravenous Reader said...

Ahhh yes, The Vampire Academy series is amazing and it gets better with each book. Frost Bite really sinks it's teeth into you (no pun intented) and then Shadow Kiss will break your heart.

Lenore said...

Hmmm...maybe.

Steph Su said...

I have this on my TBR shelf and intend to read it ove the summer. I'm glad you like it; if it got high ratings from you then it must be a great book!

Melissa said...

Glad you enjoyed it... great review! I too loved these books--devoured all three last week!

It is amazing how long typographical errors can go uncorrected. I know there were a few, I can' only remember one vividly, though, and I think it was from a later book, when a completely wrong name was used for a character that was being talked about...

Beth F said...

This one is already on my wish list. You're making me wish for it more.

pirate penguin said...

I reviewed this! :D
And yesss it's such a good read. :)

Amee said...

Hmmm...I still don't know if I'm sold on this one. You're the second person to tell me they're worth reading, though. :P

Diana Dang said...

I doubted picking it up but maybe I will now, after I manage to to okay with vampire themes stuff. Haha.

Carol(ina) said...

YAY! You finally read the first book! :)
Don't read the third book until the 4th one comes out, trust me.

RR said...

I told you so :)

debbiesworld said...

I absolutely love this series! The 3rd book definitely leaves you with a cliff hanger though. I cannot wait for Blood Promise to come out.

Leah:) said...

Hey, Steph???? Did you hear about some book .. . its like Last CHance or something . . . and its by Sarah Dessen and supposedly comes out on September 3rd this year . . . but Sarah doesnt have anything for it on her site . . . so i'm REALLY confused . . . . Just search "Last Chance Sarah Dessen" on goodreads and tell me if you figure it out! Please???

Leah:)

Anonymous said...

I totally went through the same process. When I first saw it on the shelf, it looked like it was realized by some little publishing company and wouldn't be any good.
What a pleasant surprise!! It's a good and fun story, and I enjoyed reading the second and third as well.

Tina said...

I've been hearing good things about this series. I was turned off by the title and the cover. The title is a little cheesy. Maybe I'll add it to my to-read list.

halleyjane said...

I pretty much had the same thought process when first hearing/viewing this cover. Which is lam, I know, and even though I can do the vampire paranormal genre - I need a break!

I guess next time I'll have to pick up this series though. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the great review!

Aquaryss said...

Ha, I felt the same way when I first saw the cover. I broke down and read it anyway, and I've actually grown to love the cover. It portrays Rose in a near-perfect way, IMO. (On a side note, I felt the same way when I saw the cover of "City of Bones," but once again, I grew to love it, and that's one of my favorite series ever.) I absolutely love these series as well, just finished Frost Bite the other day, and will get Shadow Kiss ASAP. Rose has became one of my favorite characters, I love her personality and attitude.

jessica_shea said...

Great review! I love Rose and the mythology of the VA books. VA hooked me, but I think each book gets better and better as the series progresses.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Great review! I love vampire books, but somehow I skipped over this one. I'm going to be adding it to my TBR pile, thanks!

-Amber

Laina said...

Hey, didn't/aren't they reprint/reprinting these? That was the weirdest sentence ever. Anyways, I'm pretty sure they're getting new covers, so maybe you'll like those better.

Elizabeth said...

Sadly, I really didn't like this one. In principle, I'm all for books built on a deep bond of friendship; in practice, I couldn't even see what they liked about each other.

Jaime said...

I read this a couple of months ago, and enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to! I like it when an author puts a twist on the traditional vampire culture that doesn't have anything to do with sex.

Anonymous said...

guys this book is so amazeing and all i got 2 say is not a lot of ppl read twilight b4 the movie came out and i know most of yall have read it now so dont wait for this movie 2 come out (if it does) you wont 2 be like me and be able 2 say im beastier then u cause i read it when it wasnt cool

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