Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Author: Richelle Mead. Website, Twitter
Published: 26 May 2009 (Puffin reprint ed.)
Buy: Amazon (paperback|Kindle) Waterstone's (paperback), Book Depository (paperback)
Source: Borrowed e-book from library.
Plot Summary: (from Goodreads)
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.
I'm still majorly behind on Vampire series but this is one that's been top of my list to check out for a while, so I downloaded it from my library's e-book selection and got cracking! Vampire Academy follows Rose and Lissa, who after being caught on the run are forced to return to St. Vladimir's Academy.
It took a while for me to get into this book because of all the new terminology that comes with the vampire world Mead has created (Stirgoi = bad vampires, Morgoi = good vampires, dhampir = guardians, once I got all of that I was fine!) But once I was into the flow of the story I really started to enjoy it!
I didn't know what to make of Rose at first. The story is told from her point of view and she's a pretty outspoken, opinionated character, but eventually that became what I grew to love about her! She's a rebel with a wicked sense of humour who isn't afraid to tell people what she thinks. Her rebellious streak gets her in all kinds of trouble so there was always some drama or other which kept it interesting. I just loved how badass she was (and badass isn't a word I use that often!).
My favourite part of the book was the friendship between Rose and Lissa. Lissa is a royal vampire and Rose is her protector, which means they have different places in vampire society which made for a really interesting dynamic between the two of them. It also means you get some really awesome moments when Rose jumps in to protect Lissa. I loved the way they bounced off each other and how fiesty Rose gets when she's standing up for Lissa. It made for some really great confrontation scenes with other characters.
From the opening chapters all the way through I was totally gripped. Mead has this great way of revealing key information slowly, leaving you hanging on to find out what secrets the characters are hiding. I loved that there was always something I wanted to know about. As well as being something I loved about the book, it did cause a few problems for me whilst I was reading. Occasionally when information was revealed it was done in flashbacks, and I got confused a few times when it jumped between past and present and I couldn't keep up with when exactly it was talking about. It worked for the most part, though.
There are some quite strong themes running throughout the book and a fair amount of swearing. It didn't put me off, and there was one sensitive issue (I won't go into it because it'd be a plot spoiler) that I thought was handled really well.
The last couple of chapters had me on the edge of my seat. There was plenty of action and the reveals were brilliant, plenty of stuff I didn't see coming! I devoured the last 50 pages. I can't wait to check out the rest of the books in the series.
What to read next: Frostbite by Richelle Mead, book 2 in the Vampire Academy series.
Books like this: Evernight by Claudia Gray, Intangible by J. Meyers.