Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vampire Academy - Review by Rissa

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous 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; she is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them. After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking hearts. Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's--but their world is fraught with danger both inside and out of the Academy's iron gates. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever...


Once upon a time I thought it utterly impossible to take the plot of a "mysterious boarding school" and make it into a worthwhile story, because, let's face it, it's a complete cliche anymore. Also, vampires? Puh-lease, in recent days I think we can all agree that they've been done to death (pun slightly intended). So, going in, I can see how one might assume that Vampire Academy is the lovechild of the two hideously hackneyed cliches. Well, my friend, you would be entirely wrong.
Part of the charm of this story lies in the fact that vampires are barely mentioned, instead, Mead uses the Russian culture and names to differentiate between the good vampires, the Moroi, and the evil vampires, the Strigoi. The characters who are not one of the two aforementioned, come from the dhampir race. As explained by early in the story, dhampirs are the result of the union between a vampire and a human, and their purpose is to protect the somewhat weaker Moroi royalty. The main character, Rose Hathaway, is one of these.

The cover is simple and alluring, a picture of who we can only assume to be Rose is staring out with a devious smile from behind the gates of the Vampire Academy.

Rose narrates the story, and the reader is thrown into the plot as she and her best friend Lissa are running away from some unknown evil. Rose is Lissa's unofficial guardian and we learn that they are running away from their school, again, for an unexplained reason, but they are being pursued. Their captor, the irresistible Dimitri Belikov (readers, you gotta love him ;) ), drags them back to the Academy, where Lissa immediately finds her way back into the ranks as 'Queen," and Rose is punished with aggressive training from Dimitri.
The reader immediately is forced to form an opinion on Rose. Many like her, but some may find her arrogance obnoxious. My opinion of Rose is positive, because while she is often rude and big mouthed, she is loyal and caring. Lissa, on the other hand, I did not like. Her character is perfect for the role she plays, but I find her to be fake and obsessed with being popular and liked. While this does not always ring true, Rose often is portrayed as a better friend, whereas Lissa quickly assumes a high and mighty attitude upon their return.

As the story progresses, we get to know Rose. She's blunt, sarcastic, protective, and often seen as a delinquent by most of her superiors. However, her friends know she is willing to stand up for them to the bitter end, and she will fight for the ones she loves. Unfortunately, that love turns sour, when she can no longer deny her growing attraction to her mentor, the one and only Dimitri.
Getting back to the story, something strange is going on with in the school. Aside from having to worry about the typical drama and divas, someone is threatening the Lissa. They are killing animals and leaving them for her to find, and it soon becomes clear that this is more than a petty grudge. The animals grown to have more significance, someone wants her to be afraid and the blood smeared at the scenes of the attacks becomes a less a threat and more of a bitter reality. As the attacks progress they get more personal, and the mysterious attacker will seemingly stop at nothing, even stooping to involve Rose and Dimitri in a risque situation that neither is soon to forget.

I can always tell a good book by it's ending, and this one does not disappoint. While it is not a cliffhanger, the reader will definitely want to read more about Rose, Lissa, Dimitri, and the other characters that Richelle Mead introduces. Bonds are formed, and the characters are not easily forgotten.
In conclusion, best book I have ever read? No. Will I be awaiting the sequels with bated breath? Most definitely! :)

Originality: 17/25
Cover: 13/15
Ending: 15/20
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 20/20



  1. Great review! If I hadn't read this series already, I would definitely want to pick it up after seeing this. I've always thought that the blurb doesn't really do this book justice - it makes the plot sound boring and petty - but you definitely did a better job of explaining it in your description.
    There's nothing here that I disagree with exactly, except I would argue that Lissa isn't so much "obsessed with being popular and liked" as desperately striving to fulfill what is expected of her as a Moroi princess. She's not my favourite character either, but I'll admit that she (like most of the other characters in this series) is very well constructed as a person. Then again, I haven't read the first book in a long time, so maybe my perception of her as a character is a bit skewed.
    Oh, and as for requests, I'd love it if you'd review the rest of the books in the series! They only get better from here. :)

  2. Hey, sorry this this such a belated thanks, I didn't realize I had gotten a comment! I'm so glad you liked it!
    I know what you're saying, and Lissa does grow on my in the following books, but my first impression of her was not that favorable. That's really a big part of the reason I love Richelle Mead, she manages to write elements of each character that are positive and negative, and often the positive elements really are redeeming.
    I've recently posted a review of Frostbite (my personal favorite in the series), and Shadow Kiss will be up soon as well! Please stick with us, we'll be reviewing a lot more books in the future as we get better at this whole blogging experience. :)