- Publisher: RAZORBILL
- Format: Paperback | 336 pages
- Dimensions: 138mm x 210mm x 32mm | 340g
- Publication date: 28 August 2008
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 159514174X
- ISBN 13: 9781595141743
- Sales rank: 4,284
The story that kicked off the international #1 bestselling "Vampire Academy" series is NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE! St. Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school--it's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir's--the very place where they're most in danger. . . .Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi--the world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires--make Lissa one of them forever.
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Richelle Mead graduated from the University of Michigan and has an M.A. in Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University. She currently lives in Seattle with her husband, and is at work on her next VAMPIRE ACADEMY novel.
By Debby (Snuggly Oranges) 14 Sep 2013
I start this review with the utmost trepidation because... well here's a book that pretty much every YA reader on the planet loves. It has crazy amounts of crazy fans and, well, I didn't think it was fantastic. It wasn't bad either. It did make me want to bash my head against the wall at some points (we'll get to that), but some other points were genuinely good. But did it have me jumping out of my chair, bursting with joy, ecstatic about the awesome? Far from it.
Let's add some context of my reading situation, because I don't want to lead you on. I am not a vampire fan. In fact, I'm pretty much a vampire hater. I get creeped out by them, I don't think sucking blood is sexy, it's just not for me. So I was planning to just avoid this, and never read it (as with all books with 'vampires' in the title/synopsis), but no. *tsks* My friends couldn't leave well enough alone. And the awesome Judith made me an offer I couldn't refuse (ha) by sending the book to me so I wouldn't even have to buy it or find some other place to borrow it. So obviously, I had to read it. But by that time I was curious. I mean, I might like it. I might hate it. Curiosity was getting the better of me. So while I was still very skeptical about it, I set off on my reading journey, deciding to liveblog it on Twitter (#vampirehaterreadsVA) to provide some LOLs or impressions.
My problem with Vampire Academy surprisingly is not the vampire aspect. Usually, I'm, like, vampires? EW. And I was scared, when I started reading, that already on page 3 there was a "feeding" scene. I thought it wouldn't end well. But the vampire aspect is rather tame, to be honest. As Rose herself is not a vampire but a Dhampir, a half-blood vampire bodyguard, that typical stuff is kept largely out of the picture. In fact, I quite liked these vampires. Much better than Twilight, in any case. These vampires are harmed by the sun, can wield elemental magic, and have an old fashioned monarchical, classist society. I do kind of dislike that their saliva is like a drug to the people they feed on, but... I managed to ignore that for the most part.
So what was my biggest problem with Vampire Academy? What made me want to throw the book across the room and bash my head against the wall sometimes? Rose. Yes, I know, you're all gaping at the screen right now. "How could she say that??? Rose is the most badass character ever!!!" Well, tough. You should already be proud of me that it's not the vampire thing bugging me. But here's the thing with Rose. Everyone says she's badass. Sure, she's reckless, loud, honest and won't take **** from anybody. But. There's a fine line between being awesomely badass and being obnoxiously cocky and conceited. And I feel like Rose crosses that line many, many times. Some examples of what I mean:
"The incident had given me a dangerous reputation, in addition to my smartass one. The story had gained legendary status, and I liked to imagine that it was still being told around campfires late at night." - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
"Natalie was nice but also one of the most uninteresting people I knew." - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
"I knew I was pretty, but to Moroi boys, my body was more than just pretty: it was sexy in a risquÃ© way."- Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
"He was boring, yes, but safe. Just like Natalie. How come all the harmless people were so lame?" - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
"I knew perfectly well that there weren't a lot of girls at this school who looked as good in a bra as I did."- Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Now, okay, you're all probably still glaring at me. Because, yes, to a certain extent it is refreshing to have a main character with a bit higher self-esteem than most. But when it's page after page of comments like this... Seriously, in some parts, on each page Rose was belittling different characters in her narrations, particularly Natalie - all the time. I got sick of her attitude. I wanted to throw the book across the room. It's a brand of cocky I can't take. Now, I want to be perfectly honest: had I not borrowed this book from Judith, and had it not had all this praise from everyone who's read it, I would have given up. That's how badly she pissed me off. All the time I was reading, I just kept thinking... "please run in front of a bus."
Luckily... I can say that she did seem to have grown a little by the end of the book. But I'm still extremely weary of her. She still needs a reality check and a slap across the face. (Also, the way she's so flirty and devil-may-care with her sexual reputation really bothered me for the fact that she was still a virgin.)
So I kept reading and kept reading... I didn't really know why. It's a really simple read, compulsively readable, one might say. I was sometimes annoyed by the juvenile narrations, but I set that aside, just because it read so quickly. But yeah, the writing style leaves more to be desired.
The plot never really hooked me either. I kept waiting and waiting to be sucked in or blown away, but it never happened. I had no clue where the story was going (and not in the good way, in the "where the hell is my plot?" way) and there was no real mystery sucking me in either. I was reading this just to read it because I'd promised friends I would. The plot was just... boring? average?
However, this negativity all out of the way, there were things I liked too. I liked Christian - he was probably my favorite character, because his devil may care attitude closely resembled my own attitude while reading this. I gradually warmed up to Dimitri, though I am not a screaming fangirl for him by any means. Lissa was really intriguing to me, and I think she's mostly why I kept reading, all things said and done. Her friendship with Rose was... interesting. I like it, for the most part.
The last quarter of the book was truly enjoyable though. Things finally started happening - interesting things (and not childish boarding school bitch wars). The romance between Rose and Dimitri certainly is hot. There's no getting around that. It definitely caught my attention, and I enjoyed it. And, as I said, Rose appeared to have grown a little. Action-esque plot things happened, some reveals were made, but nothing really blew my mind. It was fun to read, but, turning to the final page, I was still waiting to be wowed.
This is... a guilty pleasure read. Certainly, it has mass market appeal, proven by the screaming fangirls and glowing reviews. While it did have points of merit, I'm still not blown away. It was an all right read, but, to me, not really worth of all the hype. It's a fast and easily digestible read, there's hot boys, but Rose remains a stumbling block for me.
Will I continue with the series? I honestly don't know. I've heard it gets better and better, and the third book is particularly amazing, but I don't know if it's really worth my time if I'm not convinced here. And I don't know if Rose will really grow or if she will just continue to irritate me. Maybe I'll pick the second book up when I have cleared out my to-read list, have some free time, and want some nice romance on a rainy day. Because, yeah, I'd probably just be reading it for the romance.
Err... I don't know. I'm probably the black sheep here. Most readers would like it.
By Belinda Loh 30 Aug 2013
I read through the book pretty quickly than my normal pace. I took close to 2 days to complete it. I really really love the way Rose is not those typical YA teenage girls we read about. It's a good thing that the author doesn't beat about bush unlike some authors but instead go straight to the point and deliver it to us. That explains why I'm able to read through it soo quickly because unnecessary content is almost nonexistent. I've heard that the rest of the books are getting better and better and I hope i can get hold of 'em now.
Check out my blog for other reviews: http://blairthebookaholic.blogspot.sg/
By Brooke Bianco 09 Feb 2013
So I started reading this book, a year or two back and absolutely loved it. I have now got all the books in the series and even the spin offs for this series. Richelle Mead has made the characters so real! I love Rose and Lissa's friendship, its jealous worthy. I have read these books over and over. I hope they make a movie about this series because its way better then Twilight. I would recommend buying this book if you love a little romance, action and some drama.
By Brenna Staats 16 Aug 2012
So I FINALLY jumped on the VA bandwagon - I feel like I'm the last person to have read it! I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Bloodlines last summer for review and decided to give it a shot - much to my surprise, I totally fell in love and it wasn't until I read Bloodlines that I actually had a desire to read VA!
I can totally see what all the fuss is about - I'm not a huge fan of vampires or paranormal books in general, but I really love that VA doesn't feel like every other vampire book out there. And a pretty awesome, strong lead female definitely helps too!
Reasons to Read:
1.This isn't your standard YA vampire fare:
I love that Richelle incorporated her own twists on vampires and different elements. To be honest, the vampires in the VA world very rarely felt like traditional vampires - or even vampires at all - for most of this first book. They just seemed so normal and, well, more like fancy humans. Especially since Rose is a dhampir. And I LOVE the magic aspect to it.
2.Great blend of paranormal and contemporary:
I also love that this one isn't overloaded with paranormal events and elements; there's a distinct contemporary feel to it, similar in the way that a lot of the characters go through very real, very familiar struggles. It definitely makes them easier to relate to, it's just more exciting than any of the highschool drama I ever witnessed haha.
3.Rose is a very different sort of main character:
I think in YA, we kind of get used to reading about the misfit characters - ones who aren't entirely confident, or just don't feel like they fit in. In some ways, Rose definitely is a misfit and there are times when her confidence is a bit lacking... but overall, she isn't like that. She's very confident about herself, overall, and often does find ways to fit in and roll with the punches. It's nice to live vicariously through characters like her at times. And while there were a few times where I could easily see how immature and young she was (which isn't a bad thing, it's factual) I also know that there's plenty of room for improvement in that area too (seeing as there are a whole bunch of books in the series).
4.Strong female friendships:
I know that there are some special reasons why Lissa and Rose are bonded together, but I find it so heartening to read about two characters who can be so close as friends. Too often I feel like the good friends take the backseat in books, or turn out to be jerks. But these two such depths of loyalty and mutual concern for each other, something which I wish we saw more of in YA books.
And yes, there's definitely action. And mystery. Plenty of other elements to keep you intrigued and easily hold your attention for the book and leave you looking for more at the end.
But at the same time, I could definitely tell that this book was really more of a set up for later books because it lacked a lot of the excitement and action I was highly anticipating after hearing so much about these books. And there were too many times when people just felt far too oblivious to what was going on around them. I definitely have the impression that I'll love the later books though.
Lastly, I also don't feel like I missed out by reading Bloodlines & The Golden Lily first. Yes, I am definitely spoiled for some things - but honestly, I never would have read VA without Bloodlines. And I didn't find Bloodlines confusing without having read VA, but I believe I'm in the minority on that one.
Thoughts on the audio:
The other bit that might have taken away from my experience was the audio and narration itself. I didn't love the narrator, but I did get used to her voice. The problem was when she switched to different voices for other characters - Lissa and Mia were just far too annoying, and I really can't stand the Dimitri voice. My sister told me at one point that it reminded her of an old Russian lady, and after that I just couldn't picture anything else.
By Christy @ Captivated Reading 12 Jun 2012
If I had the time, I'd write a review on every single book in this series. Because they are all THAT good. You read one and just can't help but want to rush to the store (or online on Amazon, in my case), and buy the next book.
A long-time vampire fan, I have sometimes high expectations of a good vampire story. I expect that if you're going to deviate from the traditional "Dracula" formula, that you PLEASE make yours a believable one. Make it something that can be built upon. Something that is well thought-out and seamless. Something that will continue to impress and surprise the readers with how well the author planned everything out. Well, Ms. Mead certainly gave that to me and more.
Because amidst a very well-planned plotline, there's also a very detailed vampire mythology here that Ms. Mead crafted brilliantly. From the "good vampire"/"bad vampire" (Moroi vs. Strigoi) and dhampir to the blurring the lines of who's good and who's really bad. It's an exciting adventure that will leave you feeling like you lost some friends when all is said and done.
But, specifically, I believe this first installment is a gem all on its own. We get the foundation for Rose and Lissa's amazing friendship, a budding relationship that is a bit taboo, between Rose and Dimitri--her teacher, and a look at what it means for Lissa to be a Princess among Moroi.
Just writing this review makes me want to go pick up the book and start reading it all over again. For probably the fifth time.
This story is no ordinary vampire tale. Mead has done her homework on Romanian folklore and Orthodox Catholic saints, and she uses it to weave a unique and mesmerizing mystery with a whodunit ending that even the most skilled detectives will not predict. With social angst that every teenager can appreciate and sexual tension that leaves Stephanie Meyer's Twilight looking like a children's book, this little gem is sure to be a hit.--VOYA Mead's absorbing, debut YA novel, the first in a new series, blends intricately detailed fantasy with a contemporary setting, teen-relevant issues, and a diverse...cast of supporting characters. Occasional steamy sex and a scattering of vulgar language demand mature readers, but teens able to handle the edgy elements will speed through this vamp story and anticipate the next installment.--Booklist