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 . . .
I would like to have it noted that I, Lexie am a complete and utter fool. Seriously, I wish I could build me a time machine and go back to my high school days. Why you ask? So I can find my fifteen year old self, hit her over the head with this very book, shove it in her face and scream “READ THE FREAKING BOOK LEX!”.
As you have probably guessed I have a long a complicated relationship with ‘Vampire Academy’. Every man and his dog tried to get me on board this band wagon and being the stubborn reader that I am, I avoided it like the black plague. Worst. Mistake. Ever. I don’t know why I never read this book. It wasn’t prejudice against the plot or its characters of even Richelle Mead. I just wasn’t interested even though my fifteen year old self devoured every single vampire/paranormal book she could get her claws on. If she had of just given ‘Vampire Academy’ a chance she would have utterly adored it. Maybe it was the immense hype and popularity that made me shy away? Maybe it was the fact that everyone was telling me I should read it so I wouldn’t? Whatever the reason I am so glad I finally jumped on board this train as ‘Vampire Academy’ has now climbed its way up to being one of my all time favorite reads.
So, now that we’ve established my utter idiocy regarding avoiding ‘Vampire Academy’ let me tell you why I loved it so (and let me tell you – I am now obsessed). ‘Vampire Academy’ stands out among the many vampire related YA novels circulating our shelves. Why? I think the real question here is how could it not? ‘Vampire Academy’ is a unique and refreshing take on this rather crowded genre; its prose, it’s kick-ass characters, it’s setting and it’s mythology all contribute to making ‘VA’ awesome. This is one of those books that just grabs you from the word go and refuses to let you breath. Richelle Mead’s writing is layered with wit, snark and plenty of humor to keep you fully engaged and completely in stitches. Her voice as a writer flows nicely, her world is easy to follow and it constantly keeps you on the very edge of your seat.
But, let’s be honest here – what really makes ‘VA’ so dang fun is it’s amazing cast of characters. Rose Hathaway is our protagonist. She’s a dhampir novice, a kick-ass, snarky and sometimes downright bitchy guardian-in-training who’s dedicated her life to protecting the Moroi, and her best friend Lissa in particular. I loved Rose. I loved her voice as a character; her thoughts, her witty banter and internal monologue. But I loved her kick-ass, punch-first-ask-questions-later approach to her life. This is one YA heroine who is someone we can really admire. That being said, Rose isn’t with flaws – she’s impulsive and reckless even a bit of a hypocrite but it’s these flaws, these traits that make her human and we love her all the more for them.
Where there’s Rose Hathaway there’s Lissa Dragomir, Princess Vassilissa Dragomir at that. Lissa is a complex character, one who much like Rose has any flaws and strengths though despite these she is a fierce friend and their’s is a bond which is unbreakable. And… when I say bond I meant literal bond. After an accident which killed Lissa’s family Rose and Lissa formed a rare bond allowing Rose the ability to see into Lissa’s mind. You might think this is a great thing right? It would make Rose’s job as Lissa’s guardian so much easier yes? No. True, it allows Rose to better protect her best friend from the forces both inside and outside the academy’s walls but it also creates tension in the relationship. Lissa is struggling. She’s struggling with both declaring her magic and her place among the vampire society and their royal blood. It’s these things that make Lissa complex yet they also allows her undeniable strength to flood to the surface. I’m very interested to see Lissa develop during the course of the series.
Then we have Dimitri Belikov. #sighs, #swoon and #flushedcheeks. Move over Edward Cullen and Daemon Black – “Comrade” Belikov has just overtaken my record breakingly long list of fictional boyfriends. How do I even begin to express my unconditional love for this western-reading, duster-wearing “god” of a guardian? Guardian Belikov is a hero, he’s a hero much like those out of the westen novel’s he’s clearly obsessed with. Heroic and honorable, romantic and yet utterly lethal, Dimitri has a heart of pure gold. While he’s kicking ass and just being awesome he’s also keeping you on your toes with the mysterious air about him. He’s a puzzle I need to solve and I love those moments when his stern, controlled facade fell away to reveal his devoted and love for Rose. Dimitri is not your normal love interest. He’s Rose’s mentor at the school so at 24 years of age he should be completely off limits and yet that doesn’t stop a beautiful romance from blossoming. Much like Lissa, I can’t wait to see where this relationship goes all I know for sure is I totally ship them! -actually screw that; I’ll take him instead-
So to wrap up, should you read this book? Yes! Actually – HELL YEAH YOU SHOULD! It’s boarding/magical school setting, it’s hilariously relatable character’s, their banter and prose are just some of the elements that help to make ‘Vampire Academy’ unique in it’s crowded genre. This is a book that will have you constantly laughing out loud. And no, I don’t just mean chuckling or internally. I mean hunched-over-in-stitches laughing. Full of teenage drama, action, nail biting suspense and a plot twist you won’t see coming, this is a series that will work it’s way into your heart and remain one of your favorites. 5 shinning stars.