Vampire Academy #1 by Richelle Mead

It has been nine years since the first time I had read Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead and thirteen years since the first book had been published. I will let that sink in. Thirteen. Also, some of you probably have never read or even heard of it and I feel sorry for you because you are missing out on a great thing.

What is it about? The story follows Rose Hathaway and Lissa Dragomir, students at St. Vladimir’s Academy. Lissa is a last in surviving member of the royal vampire family Dragomir and Rose is her guardian. We meet duo first time when they are being dragged back to the school after running away two years before because Lissa believed she was in danger. Other than facing their teachers and schoolmates, they have a bigger enemy to think about – bad vampires and Lissa’s strange behavior.

Fast-paced story. If you don’t like novels where things drag out, where you can skip one-third of the book and not miss a thing (*winks at George R.R. Martin and Diana Gabaldon*), then Vampire Academy is the perfect choice for you.

Kick-ass female characters. Rose and Lissa couldn’t be more different, but they are proof that it is not such a bad thing for friendship. Rose is aggressive and strong-willed, determined, but also insecure. I have to be honest and admit that Lissa always annoyed me and that hasn’t changed the second time that I read the book but despite her gentle looks, she was never represented as goody two-shoes who can never do wrong or make bad choices. Quite often, she is the main reason two of them end up in trouble.

Everyone has to work hard and earn their place. Rose is not born as the best guardian ever. Her bond with Lissa is what makes her special, but she constantly has to practice and learn if she wants to stay by her side. Lissa doesn’t have it all easy because she is royal, quite contrary.

Romance and everything that goes with it. I remember how much I had been swooning over Dimitri and Adrian. (Well, he shows up in book 2, but how can you even talk about this series without mentioning Adrian Ivashkov?) I still quite enjoyed this part of the story, but at the same time, I was cringing at all sexist remarks. Someone could say that it is simply part of the worldbuilding, but I couldn’t stop myself from being annoyed with how in certain moments this series is focusing on the way female characters look and how that is one of the criteria of their worth.

Who should read Vampire Academy? If you like stories about vampires, paranormal and urban fantasy, this is a must. I would definitely say that Richelle Mead’s novels are somewhat of a classics in young adult (and adult) paranormal literature, so younger generations of readers should give a chance to Vampire Academy.

Happy reading and until next time,

Amra

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