Monday, 21 January 2013
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Vampire Lissa Dragomir is the last surviving member of her family. Rose Hathaway is sworn to protect her, and because of that Rose and Lissa fled St. Vladimir's academy and have been on the run for nearly two years. But when they are dragged back, Rose and Lissa must attempt to fit in and follow the rules...even if the threat that made them run still lingers.
This is the first in the much loved Vampire Academy series and I found it to be a great read, although it isn't without faults. On the plus side the storyline is well paced and has a new take on vampires which is well explored. Dividing vampires into good (the Moroi) and bad (the Strigoi) is something I've seen done before, but the author blended magic and politics with the vampires which makes this stand out. I also loved how the training of the guardians was shown as it isn't really something I've seen before.
One thing I disliked was that the story relies heavily on flashbacks to tell the story of why Rose and Lissa left St. Vladimir's in the first place, but these flashbacks feel a lot like info-dumping at times and are intrusive to the storyline. They pull you away from the current world and it's more than a little annoying at times. I'm hoping this is just part of the standard first book issues though and won't continue.
In terms of the characters, even after finishing, I'm still not sure what I think of Rose. I prefer to like the lead characters, even if they are flawed, but Rose was very bitchy at times and I found myself disliking her. There were a few instances where she did to someone else what they'd done to her and was apparently unaware that they would then go through what she had. That said I admired how in-your-face she could be and the confidence she was always able to project. Lissa on the other hand I liked from the beginning and only grew to like her more as the storyline progressed as she is a genuinely nice person.
Having two lead characters also means that there are two romantic storylines which contrast really well. Rose is attracted to her mentor Dimitri who is a real sweetheart, while Lissa is drawn to outcast Christian. Both are choosing 'unsuitable' partners but Lissa ends up following her heart rather than peer pressure which is great to see in a young adult book.
All in all, this was a good read and I'm looking forward to Frostbite.