Vampire Academy is the first book in the six-part ‘Vampire Academy’ series by Richelle Mead.
Rose Hathaway is a vampire; more specifically, a dhampir, a vampire that is destined to protect the royal Moroi vampires, such as her best friend Lissa. They attend St Vladimir’s Academy, what seems to be a perfectly normal vampire boarding school; but it’s not. The Strigoi – the undead vampires, so to speak, the real evil ones – are out to get Lissa, the last vampire in her royal family. Can Rose protect her before it’s too late?
Before I read Vampire Academy, I was expecting a mediocre book with lots of fangs, blood-sucking and cheesiness. Luckily, this wasn’t the case with VA. Sure, it featured vampires, and blood-sucking, and whatnot, but it was so original, so different to typical vampire stories, that at times I forgot it was even about vampires, which I suppose is a good thing. The uniqueness of the vampire world in this novel was probably one of the highlights. There are three types of vampires. There are the royals, known as Moroi; the dhampirs, who are half-vampire, half-human, forced to protect their assigned Moroi; then there are the Strigoi, hell-bent on turning all the Moroi into their evil race. The society felt really believable and wasn’t too complex; I liked it. Different is good.
The plot, however, seemed to meander along without much purpose. There’s the typical love interest that Rose can never be allowed to love, there’s a few minor characters who are interested in Rose and Lissa, but the plot doesn’t seem to go anywhere for the majority of the book. Mead’s writing wasn’t overly spectacular: the book was filled with swear words, unnecessary ones.
The characters were interesting and strong, though. Rose was an interesting and unique protagonist. I felt that she was a strong character, always there for her best friend Lissa. Due to a strange accident, Rose and Lissa shared a special bond which allowed Rose to read Lissa’s thoughts and see what she was seeing through her eyes. I found this to be creepy, and Rose to be a bit creepy too, especially since she appeared to be interfering with Lissa’s life a lot. I understand that she couldn’t help it, and it was all for Lissa’s sake, but Rose just seemed nosey. Plus, I found the whole ‘special way of communicating’ to be a cheap way to keep the characters unique and linked together.
Lissa was probably my favourite character. She didn’t get much ‘screen time’, but the glimpses we saw of her showed that she was interesting, although she definitely had issues of her own. There were several other notable characters, including Rose’s tutor Dimitri.
All in all, Vampire Academy was a satisfying read. While it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, it was unique and interesting, and I think I’ll be sticking around to finishing this series.