Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead (2007)
YA Fiction | Paranormal
“Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies . . .
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest 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 Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .”
pooled ink Review:
Okay color me surprised. I figured this book had to be decent considering its fanbase and success but that doesn’t always mean much. I could still be an outlier who doesn’t love it as much as everyone else. I am pleased however to find that I actually really enjoyed reading this book.
Vampire Academy takes place in a school for the Moroi and dhampir minors who train either for general life, politics, or guardianship. As a dhampir Rose is trained to fight and protect a Moroi one day, and in her case, thanks to their rare psychic bond, she’ll be guarding Lissa, a Moroi royal. Being able to feel her best friend’s emotions and thoughts constantly can be a real asset when trying to protect them, but it can also be a real pain when navigating school life as a teenager. But the simple fact is that no matter what happens, they’d do anything to save the other.
Rose’s snarky voice became one of my favorite narrators to read. The book is told via her POV and I couldn’t put it down. She had me laughing, ready to fight, and overall barreling through the story eager to find out what happened next. And not just with the overarching plot line, but to just know what Lissa would do next, to know what vicious comeback would spout out of Rose next, etc.
This was honestly one of the very rare occasions where I actually enjoyed reading about the teenage drama going on at the school. Normally that nonsense irritates me because it’s so ridiculous and naturally immature, but the way Mead wrote it combined with Rose’s filter of events made it engaging, colorful, and darkly fantastic. Having the characters be Moroi (living vampires) and dhampir (half-human half-vampire) obviously added to the intrigue of the story but that wasn’t it. This book didn’t feel like it was relying on the paranormal aspect to carry the reader’s interest, it was simply what made it all even more intriguing.
I also really appreciated how different a protagonist Rose was from most books I’ve read. She was confident, always ready for a fight, she didn’t care what other people thought, she was never afraid to say what she thought, and despite building a somewhat intimidating and wild persona she remained an incredibly loyal and caring friend to Lissa no matter what. Their friendship was the heart of the story and I loved it. For once boys didn’t dominate a book about teenage girls, but their friendship did. Bullies, crushes, rumors, pranks, Strigoi (evil dead immortal vampires), and other external obstacles came and went with each ebb and flow of the plot but they were always secondary to the bond between Rose and Lissa.
I’ve actually seen the movie for this book a few times before I finally decided to read it, and part of me worried that this would ruin my interest in the book, but actually the movie did a decent job overall of translating the book to a movie (particularly with carrying over Rose’s snark). I liked the movie and I liked the book. They’re very similar and while I’m glad that there are more books to the series I sort of wished they’d made more movies too.
After finishing this book I’ve realized that I now have two favorite takes on vampires: Vampire Academy and Blood of Eden. Both series manage to take classic vampire lore and tweak it in a creative but believable way and then use it to tell a greater story, one that focuses on its characters rather than simple blood lust and, well, lust.
Vampire Academy is everything one could hope for in a YA story featuring vampires. Told in a snarky voice that will have you snorting one moment and ready for a fight the next, best friends Rose and Lissa dominate the page as they navigate through school drama and death threats alike. This is sure to be a definite hit for fans of the paranormal.
Purchase here: Vampire Academy
Meet Richelle Mead!
Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.
A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She’s a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.