Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

So last week I mentioned that the family and I were taking a beach holiday for a few days. Knowing this had been dubbed as The Vacation Wherein NOTHING is Planned, I knew I'd need a wide array of brainless yet instantly engrossing reads that I could pick up in between bouts of sunbathing, eating, and boogie-boarding in the ocean. Obviously, I've heard about the popularity of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series but just hadn't gotten around to picking them up myself. As usual, I am late to the Rose party, but let me go ahead and adjust my little hat and cut the cake, cause Vampire Academy earned the top spot from my vacation reading list.

Best Friends Forever has a whole new meaning when it comes to bffs Rose and Lissa. Instead of sharing clothes and makeup, the bond between Rose and Lissa is a little bit more complicated. As a vampire princess - known as Moroi royalty - Lissa is in need of constant protection for a group of 'evil' vampires, called Strigoi, who drink the blood of the Moroi vampires in order to gain immortality and enhanced powers. Enter Lissa's best friend Rose Hathaway. Rose is a dhampir - what you could call a half-breed vampire - someone born with extreme physical strength, who is then trained to become guardians for the Moroi vampires.

For almost two years, Rose and Lissa have been on the run after escaping from the elite academy St. Vladimir's. Unfortunately, their past finally catches up with the girls and they are forced to return to structured academy life of St. Vladimir's. Together, Rose and Lissa must try to navigate the intense social structure of the academy while dealing with numerous secrets from their past. Even the usually reckless and fearless Rose agrees to abide by the school's strict rules in addition to putting in extra hours practicing with the demanding guardian trainer Dimitri or else face expulsion and separation from Lissa. Something Rose isn't about to let happen.

Like I said, Vampire Academy struck just the right chord at the right time for me. I was looking for an engrossing vacation read and Vampire Academy delivered. Richelle Mead has created an intriguing world with a tough and layered heroine in Rose. I can't begin to tell you how much I love reading about a female lead who is willing - and more than able - to fight for herself and those she loves. And then to go and witness scenes that highlight her softer, more emotional side as well? Well, that pretty much sold me. Although not the most intellectual novel, I still found plenty to enjoy in this engaging read - most of all, Mead's cast of characters. Basically I was in love from the moment Dimirtri opened his mouth and a stream of Russian-accented English burst forth (I may have a slight crush on *anything* Russian, especially cute guys with a sexy accent). I also must include Christian - a loner Moroi who obviously would like to get closer to Lissa - who will remain high on my Characters To Watch list. Vampire Academy contains some really good stuff, which can only mean good things for me since I've got the next four books already waiting.

series reading order:
~ Vampire Academy
~ Frostbite
~ Shadow Kiss
~ Blood Promise
~ Spirit Bound
~ Last Sacrifice (December 2010)

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Angieville review
The Book Smugglers review
Bookworm Nation review
Steph Su Reads review
YA Reads review

book source: purchased

8 comments:

jane gallagher said...

completely agree...the characters richelle mead has created in VA are so amazingly vivid and charismatic, and have such intense chemistry with one another. a really really rare thing in YA.

Angiegirl said...

Glad you started in on this series. Mostly because I'm interested to see what you think of each new installment. Dmitri is great in this one and I do love Christian. :)

Chachic said...

I'm glad you enjoyed reading this! I read the first three books in the series while on vacation in the States. My friend let me borrow her copies. This is the vampire series that I like the most although it's not in my list of favorites. I tried reading the latest installment but for some reason, I just couldn't get into it.

iamjenai said...

Great review :)

i love this series so much :) VA has been optioned for a movie by Pregger entertainment, so cool to watch this on big screen! :) Dimitri's sexy with his Russian accent and cowboy duster! :)

~iamjenai~
http://bookinglyyours.blogspot.com/

iamjenai said...

oops when i first read the title of your blog, i read it as "see Richelle Mead" and just realized now that it's "see Michelle read" . . . :)

Michelle said...

Jane - I'm so happy to have finally picked this one up. Characters definitely make it a stand-out.

Angie - yes, Christian is marked with potential. I'm interested to see where it leads and will keep you posted ;)

Chachic - Good to know you liked them too. I wonder why the latest one didn't stand out for you?

iamjenai - That's great to hear that this could be a movie. I'd love to see Dimitri up on a big screen!

Becca said...

I am on the 3rd book. I got the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th from the library and am waiting on the 5th book. I really love Dimirtri and Christian is definitely growing on me. I am definitely buying these for my personal library. Thanks for getting me started!

Anonymous said...

You really ought to read the rest of the series. I really enjoyed every single book, but when I read "Blood Promise," the 4th book, I said "WOW, *this* is why I stuck with the series." And "wow!" indeed! It was a book that just blew me away. I have yet to read Spirit Bound because my to-read list is massive and growing, but I'm going to move it up the pile soon.