“The greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very quietly, hidden in the shadows. Remember that.”
Blurb (Goodreads)- 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…
Thoughts- I’m really behind on the Vampire Academy train, but late is better than never, right? Anyways, I was in the mood for a quick, cheesy, vampire read (I’ve been watching too much Vampire Diaries) and Vampire Academy fulfilled that need quite well.
I’ve heard mixed reviews about the first installment, and heard that they get better as the series goes on, so I didn’t have very high expectations going into this one and I’m glad I didn’t. There were definitely a few things that bothered me, with one being the writing style. I’m not entirely sure what it was, but it felt a bit young. At times, we’d be in a very serious moment where some drama is going down and the writing would be fine, then all the sudden it would switch to writing like a diary format, where Rose is telling us something. It was distracting and I think it took away from the overall joy of reading the book.
Of course we have our main characters who live in this world. Rose is dhampir (which I think is a cool mythology element) and she’s a perfectly fine protagonist. Rose very obviously has her flaws and there were sections of the book where I didn’t like her very much, but she did start to grow on me throughout the novel. She’s feisty and isn’t afraid to stand up for her beliefs, which I really appreciate. However, the reader gets that she’s pretty and full of herself. You don’t need to repeat it every chapter. Then we have Lissa, who is not my favorite. Although she’s supposed to be a main character, Lissa felt extremely distant. She spends the whole book turning into a manipulative jerk without giving us proper time to know who the true Lissa is. Her personality just seems a little under developed and bland. The other characters, Dimitri (don’t like the romance, but we’ll get there), Mason, Mia, and Natalie, I have no issue with. None of them are very fleshed out besides Mia and Dimitri, but they still serve a good purpose.
The last thing that I disliked in this book was the main romance between Rose and Dimitri. It’s like the issue I had with Lola and the Boy Next Door, the age gap and how the author takes care of it. The age gap of 17 and 24 freaks me out. I wouldn’t really care if they were both in their 20s, but the fact that Rose is so young (aka the same age as me and I would not want to date someone who is 7 years older than me at this point in my life. Might just be a me thing, though) is not okay to me. Mead does bring this to attention but plays it off as no big deal, when I feel like it is a big deal. At one point, Rose says that she doesn’t even care about the age gap. What kind of message is that sending?
But other than those issues, I quite enjoyed Vampire Academy. The whole mythology between the dhampir, strigoi, and the moroi is interesting. I’ve never read a vampire story where they have ‘good’ and ‘bad’ vampires, so that was fun. The plot is fast faced and the book flows so quickly, it’s a great super quick fantasy/paranormal read. I’m also a huge sucker for boarding school type situations, no idea why… but they’re so fun to me. As a first installment in a series, this book definitely does a great job with the world building and setting it up for the next books. There’s just the perfect amount of world building vs. action, and speaking of that, the action scenes in this are done very well and help propel the story along.
Overall, this is not a flawless book, but it’s a fantastic start to a new series. It gives the upcoming books lots of promise because it already starts with some character development and builds an insane new world. If you’ve been curious about this series like I was, definitely pick it up and give it a try.