Review: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)

Review: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Also in this series: Frostbite, Shadow Kiss
Released by Razorbill on 16 August 2007
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 332
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781595141743
Source: Purchased

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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.

Vampire Academy tells the story of best friends Lissa Dragomir, a Moroi (mortal) vampire princess; and Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir (half-vampire), and Lissa’s guardian. Two  years before the story starts, they escaped from St Vladimir’s Academy; two years they have been enjoying freedom, living among the humans. But now, they are being dragged back to the Academy, and they have to face the consequences of their escape. They also have to earn back the respect of their teachers, their trainers and their peers. But that is not so hard when you’re a vampire princess. And things aren’t all rainbows and sunshine anymore at St Vladimir’s. Dead animals, threatening messages, and the constant threat of being attacked by Strigoi (the ‘dead’ vampires).

I have to admit, I am not a fan of vampires. To me, they are the Umbridge of mythical creatures. I’d rather avoid them if I can. But someone challenged me to read this book for my Day Zero challenge, so I knew I had to at least try. I ended up getting an ebook version of it, because I didn’t really feel like spending a lot of money on a physical book about a subject that I probably wouldn’t like. And indeed, I couldn’t get myself to read further than fifty pages the first time. A while ago, I decided to watch the movie, just because. Afterwards, I realised that the book would probably be a lot better, so I decided to try again. I got myself a physical copy of the book and started reading. And wow, I was surprised.

I liked that there were three different kind of vampires. The Moroi, good, mortal vampires; The Strigoi, bad, ‘dead’ vampires; and the Dhampir, who are half-vampire, half-human and usually guardians of Moroi vampires. Rose Hathaway, the main character of this book, is a Dhampir and training to be Lissa Dragomir’s guardian. Lissa is a Moroi, and a princess as well. She is the last of the Dragomirs and the heir to the throne. And that’s not all, Rose and Lissa share a bond. Rose almost always knows what Lissa feels. When she’s in danger, Rose will know and will be able to find her wherever she is.

“This was the kind of dress that changed the world. The kind of dress that started religions.”

I liked Lissa, she was a very likable person from the beginning and I started liking her more and more throughout the book. Sometimes, I wasn’t really that happy with the things that she did, but of course every character has flaws. I also liked Christian, who had a bit of a tragic background. Parents who turned themselves Strigoi, and were murdered in front of his eyes. Being shunted away by the other Moroi because they felt he was tainted, even though he wasn’t Strigoi himself. I also liked Dimitri, though I kept imagining the person who played him in the movies the entire time (who, in my opinion, was not as handsome and sexy as he was described in the book). The only character I wasn’t really a big fan of in the beginning, was Rose. But I’ll get to that later.

The Moroi could also do magic, which at first I thought was a bit silly. Because vampires are not witches, and in my opinion only witches/wizards should be able to do magic. But in the end, I realized that it was actually kind of cool. Moroi could specialize in any of the four elements – water, fire, air, earth – and they could do all kinds of things with it. Unfortunately, Lissa – at seventeen – still hasn’t specialized, but according to her teachers that would come soon.

The writing was very good, and I found myself wanting to read more and more, I even stayed up late a couple of times to continue reading, even though I had to get up early the next day. Things were explained very well, like the different vampires, the magic, the feeders, the royals, etc. And of course how – since they are vampires – they have a complete different time schedule than we humans have. Their school day starts when the sun has gone down, and they go back to sleep when the sun rises. I have to admit, before I read this book, I was a classic vampire stan. In my opinion, vampires should have been 100% unable to walk in the sun (Moroi can walk in the sun, but not for long), be ‘allergic’ to garlic (no mention of that in the book, but still that might be mentioned in another book); and be completely (un)dead and also immortal unless they got a stake through the heart. But I started liking the Moroi and the Strigoi (okay not so much) and the Dhampirs.

Like I said before, I would get back to Rose as a character. Yeah, I wasn’t a big fan of her in the beginning. She kept on talking about how she wanted to get semi-naked with people, about how handsome and sexy certain characters were, how she looked A M A Z I N G in a bra while other girls did not; how she was so incredibly sexy. While I was reading, it felt to me like all the boys thought of her as nothing more than a lust object. It felt like all the boys were only thinking about making out with her, or having sex with her, or just seeing her naked. There was one sentence in the beginning of the story, where one of the novices (a guardian in training) told her that “it’s always a good time to think about [Rose] naked.” Yeah, ugh. (Of course, I fully support characters who know they are pretty and who don’t think of themselves as the ugly duckling while they are actually quite pretty, but there is that and there is being Rose Hathaway).

In the end, I got used to her being like that, and I did start to like her especially when she was protecting Lissa. But yeah, the whole flirting thing kind of annoyed me.

What I also didn’t like was that sometimes things were said, like Rose who ‘destroyed school property’, and that it would take another hundred pages before you were told what Rose had destroyed and why. I am a fan of things being explained right away, so that was kind of something I was annoyed by.

In the end, I really liked Vampire Academy. I thought that the book was a lot better than the movie, though the movie was quite true to the book (apart from some minor things, but I don’t remember much of the movie to be honest). It surprised me, and it made me want to read the rest of the series. I hope people are proud of me that I am finally (maybe) getting over my irrational dislike of vampire books. Now only werewolves and angels remain.