I can’t even coherently describe how excited I was to read Vampire Academy. Bee read the whole series before me, in cute little bind-ups on her Kindle, and really recommended it, saying that she wasn’t expecting much for the books but was blown away by how completely absorbed she was by the story.
Bee had also been craving the Vampire Academy movie that arrived in the post a few days ago. We watched it twice in one day. Magical. Beautiful. Well cast. Kick-ass. But this is a book review, so we will put the fantastic movie aside.
That said, after reading the book, I can fully appreciate how accurate the movie was in its portrayal. The only thing wrong for me was Lissa’s forest green dress at the dance – she would have looked much more beautiful in the pale pink dress described in the novel.
So, the story is told from the perspective of Rose Hathaway, a dhampir (half human, half vampire) guardian-in-training for her best friend, who happens to be a vampire and royalty, Lissa Dragomir. I loved their friendship. Rose was protective of Lissa, but not just because it was her job to be. The bond that the two share runs deeper than duty. It’s friendship in its purest form. Although Lissa is dependent on Rose, this doesn’t at all mean that she’s a weak character. Her depth and range of emotions is phenomenal and Richelle Mead really succeeded in making both of her characters completely three-dimensional when it came to their inner thoughts, desires and dreams.
The plot of the book is that Lissa is being supposed hunted by the evil vampires, Strigoi, and needs to be protected. She’s also coming to terms with a strange type of magic she yields that causes her mental depression. Hefty stuff. Rose must protect her from potential threats, and petty schoolgirl gossip.
Like any good young adult novel, the book cannot be without love interests for both major characters. Rose was drawn to Dimitri, described as a ‘god’ by the dhampirs. There are lots of complications here. He’s seven years older than her, her mentor, generally more experienced and socially withdrawn. Rose sure knows how to pick ‘em.
For Lissa, there is Christian, a snarky, excommunicated royal. There are lots of complications here too. His parents were evil, his public reputation is sketchy, he uses his vampire magic offensively and is socially withdrawn. Glad to know the two besties share some interests.
None of these traits stop the girls from becoming significantly involved with their love interests, though, and love begins to blossom, slowly but surely between both couples. Unfortunately for Rose, Dimitri’s love is slightly more forbidden, but Bee assures me this doesn’t hinder them later on in the series. (Heh heh.)
The secondary characters introduced throughout the book have personalities and purpose, a combination that is hard to find. The plot is fast paced with an especially good plot twist towards the end. (In the vampire genre, can we ever really trust someone called Victor?) Due to the bond Lissa and Rose share, Rose is able to inhabit Lissa’s mind and live through her, meaning when Lissa is alone and experiencing a strong emotion, the reader and Rose can see what’s going on while still using a first person perspective. Neat! Side note: I also really enjoyed the way Richelle Mead portrayed vampires. They were no nonsense bloodsuckers, which could walk in dim sunlight, didn’t have super strength and all had magic. They were beautiful, but not inhumanly so and humans weren’t falling at their feet, in love with them. Perfect.
I cannot wait to read the rest of the series to see how Rose and Lissa develop their skills, relationships and friendship. Definitely a five star book for me – the whole thing was set in a boarding school so how was I not going to love it? Now, excuse me whilst I go and watch the movie for a third time.