Title: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Publication Date: August, 2007
Paperback: 332 pages
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal Romance
Description: ONLY A TRUE BEST FRIEND CAN PROTECT YOU FROM YOUR IMMORTAL ENEMIES...
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. Rose 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 Academy hearts.
Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's --- inside the Academy's iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger. 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...
My Thoughts: New author for me and though I was intrigued with the plot premise, the beginning of this series had me feeling lost in the middle. I was expecting more detail and history of the characters, an introduction and getting to you phase, if you will. Instead I am dropped into the story feeling like I tuned in after it had started and had missed much of the beginning. Usually, this alone will be enough of a reason for me to stop reading and throw the book against the wall, but I decided to ride it out and see where it takes me. I’m glad I did. Thankfully, the feeling of being lost doesn’t last long as the author does an exceptional job of bringing the reader up to speed, filling in the gaps while keeping the story interesting and not getting bogged down in a lot of monotonous detail and “blah blah blah.”
Very quickly, I was able to see how close Rose and Lissa are. More than friends and closer than sisters, they share a very strong bond and though the reader doesn’t understand the importance of the bond at first or the ramifications of this bond, it is very easy to see how closely connected they are. Once I understood that, the rest of the story quickly fell into place and I got busy meeting the supporting characters and enjoying Rose’s feisty personality, sharp wit and sometimes biting language.
I really like the premise of a vampire academy. A school for vampires; kind of like Hogwarts for blood suckers; really, how cool is that? Upon further pondering, I feel quite sure this is the first for this theme. Within the halls of the academy, we learn that an entire society of vampires exist, the mortal ones who also possess magical abilities, the Moroi and the evil immortal ones, the Strigoi. Rose is a half human half vampire, a Dhampir. Her duty is to guard and protect the Moroi, of which Lissa is one. Once Rose is fully trained, she will also be expected to lay down her life, if necessary, to ensure Lissa is protected from the Strigoi.
Overall, not a bad beginning to a series that holds a lot of promise. Still a little fuzzy on the details regarding why the Strigoi are hell bent on killing off the Moroi, but I’m hopeful that will be cleared up as I progress through the series. I’m looking forward to seeing how the budding relationships between Lissa and Christian and Rose and Dimitri play out.
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