Book Reviews

Vampire Academy (VA series #1) | Book Review

May 30, 2017

Title: Vampire Academy
Series: Vampire Academy series #1
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: young adult, paranormal romance
Published: August 16, 2007
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase this book: The Book Depository

Summary:
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead is the first book in a series of six that narrates the story of Rose Hathaway, a young girl who is training to become her best friend’s guardian. The Vampire Academy world is divided in four races: Moroi (good vampires), Strigoi (bad vampires), Dhampirs (half-vampires), and Humans. Their world is threatened by the presence of Strigoi, who hunt the other races to become immortal. Rose, a Dhampir, ran away from the Academy with her best friend Lisa, a Moroi Princess, after a series of unexplained phenomena began to occur, a phenomena that threatened not only Lisa’s mental health but also her life. Two years later, they return to the Academy, only to realize that danger is lurking closer than they imagined. Both girls need to strengthen each other as they face the politics of the Academy, forbidden love, betrayal, and death. The past comes back to haunt their present as new secrets are revealed and myths of dark magic prove to be true.

Personal reaction:
The first time that I came across the book, I was a bit hesitant to read it because of the title. Nevertheless, from the first page I was hooked into the story and couldn’t put the book down until I finished it. The narrative follows Rose’s point of view and it is extremely engaging, especially because of the realistic portrayal of her thoughts and her response to the situations that arise in her life. Her character is very appealing, as she is the heroine but not a damsel in distress. She has agency, is extremely loyal, and determined but she also has many flaws, which make it easy to relate to her. In fact, most of the characters are admirable because of the realistic portrayal of human psychology in them; they are fascinating and provoking but their flaws and the layers of personality they have make them much more relatable than a prince charming or princess could ever be.

The first novel, Vampire Academy, is kind of coming-of-age novel, so it focuses heavily on the high school drama that contrasts with the profound adult themes that are dealt with later on. Rose faces many challenges that make her transition from childhood into adulthood throughout the series, which become increasingly dark and claustrophobic as they progress. There is a continuous wave of hope and despair that make the novels engaging. Vampire Academy sets the tone for the rest of the series as it transitions from school drama into the claustrophobic and dark atmosphere half-way through the novel. The character development is subtle in the first novel but it is still present, especially for the protagonists, Rose and Lisa, and also Christian. Other characters are introduced but developed in the following novels, although they are never presented as flat.

Richelle Mead manages suspense in an unpredictable manner. The reader is left wondering what will happen next, not only in terms of action but also in the development of day-to-day situations. Love, friendship, family, life, death are recurrent themes in the novel and Mead’s approach is not clichéd but honest and straightforward.

Recommendation:
I recommend this book if you like gothic/fantasy genres and young adult fiction that has plot twists and dark atmospheres. I have read this book at least seven times already and I still enjoy it. Rose and Christian have the best witty, sarcastic lines that will crack you up. The exploration of friendship and love is very mature and also relatable. This book changed me since I read it and it is an inspiring read that I always come back to in times of need 🙂

**quick note: I watched the movie adaptation and hated it so I wouldn’t recommend it at all. But do read the books, they are so worth it 🙂

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