Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vampire Academy - Review

by Richelle Mead

  Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) 

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance 
Paperback - 332 pgs
Published - 2007
Series: Vampire Academy (1) 

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've heard so many people say they like the Vampire Academy Series and even thought I've had the first three books for ages, I've never read them. I was preparing for the Bout of Books readathon and picked this book up on the first day on a whim.

There is a lot of ground work being laid in this book. The world of the Vampire Academy is interesting and somewhat confusing at the beginning. Even though a lot of people deem this the worst book in the series, I give Richelle Mead a lot of credit for building a solid foundation for her series to start from. There were lots of details about beliefs, customs and traditions in this world that let me know Mead knew her story and her world.

With Rose as our narrator though, nothing stays boring for long. She is sharp and witty, but very much her age. I loved Rose. I think too often YA writers make their heroine too strong. In many boks she is the fastest/smartest/best at whatever she is doing without flaws that really fit into her character. I liked that Rose was flawed and made questionable, even terrible, decisions. She had to work to catch up because of her two year absence at the academy, and we saw her face the consequences of that decision and start to move past it and grow. Rose's inner monologue actually reminds me a lot of Sophie from Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. She has that same kind of of witty humor and snark. I won't dish over the love interest in this story even though I could for ages and ages. I dig this romance to put it simply.

The story keeps moving, but it felt very disconnected. Instead of the story building throughout the book, I felt like one thing would happen until it was resolved then another plot point would start. The book was very engaging this way and it kept the pacing of the novel very even (and always exciting). However sometimes I wanted a little more complexity to the plot. There was some interconnection and since I've read the second book already I can tell you this improves in the second novel significantly.

I enjoyed reading this book so much. As I've mentioned several times on this blog, this year is my year to experiment with marathon reading. This was a good series to start that experiment with because I could not wait to read book two. I picked up the sequel the morning after I finished this book. So far it seems like what people say about this series is true. It is getting even better as it goes!

It is really hard for me to rate this book because there were obvious holes and gaps where I wanted more information. Also the character development could have been a little smoother for me. I like where the story is going, but there were some parts that were very predictable. Even though it had some problems, I really enjoyed reading this book. I had a lot of fun learning about the world and characters which really makes up for a lot to me.

Rating: 3.5 (rounded up to 4 on GR)

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