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.
Back when I was just a blog lurker and one of the few book blogs I read was Good Books and Good Wine (run by the lovely April), whenever I saw the Vampire Academy books online or on a shelf, one word popped into my head: dubious. However, April and I have fairly similar tastes, and when she gave Vampire Academy a rave review, I figured it might be time for me to give it a chance. I idly picked up a used copy and some point and let it sit on my shelf. Eventually, Richelle Mead came to Minneapolis to hold a signing (originally part of her tour for The Last Sacrifice), which was rescheduled to June of 2011 after a ridiculous blizzard hit the Twin Cities area in December 2010 (I’m not kidding you when I say we got two feet of snow in under 24 hours). So when I went to her signing, I purchased my books and got in line early, figuring I’d read while I wait. As I read the last 200 pages of this book a few days later, the words “I can’t believe I waited this long to read this book!” sprinted through my head on a loop. YOU GUYS. THIS BOOK IS SO FREAKING GOOD. THIS MIGHT BE NEW FAVORITE YA VAMPIRE BOOK.
First of all, let me start off with the world building. Holy freaking crap, the world-building. The vampires in Vampire Academy boast many more attributes than skin that sparkles in the sunlight and a charming, convenient penchant towards vegetarianism. Instead, there are different types of vampires. While I understand that Mead didn’t necessarily come up with the ideas damphir, Moroi and Strigoi, I loved the way she incorporated those three types of vampires into a YA setting.
Our main character and narrator, Rose, is devoted to protecting her Moroi best friend, Lissa. I thought I was going to hate Rose at first--she’s stubborn, and not what one might refer to as a “warm fuzzy.” However, I grew to understand her much better as the book went on. In fact, I was exceptionally impressed by her loyalty towards the end of the novel.
And Dmitri. Oh, Dmitri. He’s hot, he’s a badass and he’s extremely intelligent. Damn. I kind of want one for myself.
As if the world-building and characters weren’t enough to hook me, this novel was also incredibly fast-paced. I barely put it down during the last 200 pages. It has action, cute boys and a bit of steamy time.
I was a fool for not reading this book earlier. Vampire Academy was a fast-paced, engrossing read that had me gasping and shouting “Oh no he didn’t!” If you haven’t jumped on this bandwagon, I suggest you remedy that fact. In some ways, it may be good that I finished this book after meeting Richelle Mead, because otherwise I likely would have fansploded in front of the SEARS at Mall of America (fansploded=fangirling + exploding). I already have the rest of the series waiting for me to pick them up, and am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to do so.