Title: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young-Adult
Format Read: Ebook, 352 pages
Publication Date: 31st December 2013 by Penguin Books Australia (version read)
Synopsis: “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 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, where vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be prepare for a life fraught with danger. Rose and Lissa must navigate their treacherous world and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever. But soon Rose finds herself gripped by temptation of forbidden love, leaving Lissa exposed to Strigoi attack…. Now she must choose between the best friend she lives for, and the man she can’t live without.” (Taken from Goodreads)
So I felt like I probably needed to start this book seeing as the movie was out already. I wanted to jump on the bandwagon damnit – I was falling behind and getting lost and confused in all the hype. Just looking at my goodreads page for this book, a good proportion of my friends have read, reviewed and loved Vampire Academy, so I went into it feeling relieved and happy I was finally going to read this.
Vampire Academy follows the story of Rosemarie Hathaway and Vasilisa Dragomir – cool names! The beginning is quite confusing as we’re basically thrown into the story at a random point in their lives and told to fend for ourselves as they go about their runaway lives. I will definitely admit to being lost and confused because I just didn’t know what was happening. Why were they hiding? Why was a creepy guy chasing them? And essentially, what the hell was going on.
Thankfully, it didn’t take long for the girls to be caught, and it’s revealed that they were being taken back to St Vladimir’s Academy, a place they had escaped from two years ago. From thereforth, the mystery begins to unravel itself – but not fully. Over the course of the book, it’s slowly revealed to us why the girls had to run away, and why they felt like their lives were in danger at the academy.
The best thing I enjoyed about the book was definitely Rose and Lissa’s friendship. I agree with every other reader out there who says they have a very lovely bond and relationship with each other. Kudos to Ms Mead for writing such strong female characters that support each other. There needs to be more of these in all books.
However, what I didn’t actually enjoy were the other relationships throughout the novel. I understand it’s hard to juggle a mystery, relationships, character growth and world-building in just 352 pages – but this novel would have been AMAZING if it did. I felt Rose and Dimitri just happened out of no where, and for the sake of her having a love interest. There was a lot of showing and no telling in regards to that, so I just weren’t fully invested in them two. I enjoyed Lissa and her relationship with Christian a lot more.
The biggest concern I did have regarding the book was Mead’s continuous foray into showing the reader what happens, rather than telling. She uses a lot of flashbacks with Rose, that consists of Rose telling the reader “this is what happened”, and then suddenly tuning back into the present. That was extremely annoying to read at times, but it didn’t deter me from the story completely.
Overall, I really enjoyed Vampire Academy as a whole. Even with its silly high school politics (which I was expecting anyway), it was a fun read that started off slow but picked up its momentum halfway through. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series (I heard I’ll finally get to meet this Adrian dude?)!
Thank you to Penguin Books Australia for providing me with an ecopy in exchange for an honest review.