ONLY A TRUE BEST FRIEND CAN PROTECT YOU FROM YOUR IMMORTAL ENEMIES . . .
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princes – 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 deep in the 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 . . .
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 332 pages
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Source: Purchased from Target
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Source: Purchased from Target
Guys... I finally did it... I finally read the Vampire Academy...
AND IT WAS SO.FREAKING.GOOD!
I pick up VA which has been sitting in my TBR pile for almost a year and marathon the book during a road trip.
This is a intimidatingly huge series to commit to and was afraid it will not meet my expectations. 6 books in the main VA series and another 6 for the bloodlines spin-off!, yah 12 books is alot to take in.
Also I am not a fan of paranomal-ish stories and have NEVER read a vampire story (okay I attempt to read twilight in Form 4 around the peek of its hype but fell asleep about 10 pages into the book at Kinokunia... #EPICFAIL... sorry twilight fans.. I just can't and that failed attempt does not count) in my life so this is a first...
The book follows Rose and Lissa who are best friends and vampires in training on the run after escaping their boarding school has been captured and dragged back to the academy. There the both of them have to re-adjust to the life they left two years ago.
Rose catches up with her classes and training with Dmitri, her mysterious and moody yet irresistible trainer while keeping her and Lissa out of danger and the Strigoi. Lissa tries to fit back into the elite vampires.
I was hooked into the VA world from page one! Thrown straight into the game, we are introduced to the race/types of Vampires:
1) Moroi - mortal vampires with a magical ability to manipulate elements like water, earth, fire and air (okay this is starting to sound like Avatar but its NOT, I promise), believe to use their magic for kindness or something positive.
2) Dhampirs - half vampire,half human who are trained as 'bodyguards' to protect the Moroi from the Strigoi. They have enhanced ability like reflexes, speed and strength.
3) Strigoi - immortal vampire aka the one that will kill you and are EVIL.
I like the world building of this Vampire world. It was straight to the point and easy to follow without feeling lost or overwhelmed.
Though plot was gripping and fast pace with the thick air of suspense and mystery it was still predictable as I had my conspiracy theories and predicted all the foreshadow from the start. There were some high school drama and cliché thrown into the mix but it was still an addictive read!
My only complain was the action sequence. Though it was fun to read (especially that ONE part Dimity is training Roes and literally knock her off her feet! HA! That sexual tension!), it was not engaging enough. Maybe I've been spoiled with James Dashner's 'Maze Runner Series' or Rachael Craw's 'Spark' well paced, gripping and nail biting action sequences that makes me have trust issues and shout 'WTF IS GOING ON' every 5 seconds that I found most of the action moments in the book very bland and predictable.
Also there is a sub issue on mental health. In my review for 'This Song Will Save Your Life' I mentioned that I am not a fan of books that goes into too much detail on the issue of self harming so it was hard for me to read that part as it was graphic.
Other than that I like the writing and was captivated from the start of the book leaving me wanting more of this awesome world!
Rose is my favorite character from the start! I love reading from her point of view with her snarky and sassy narration. Rebellious, strong, feisty and independent with a hint of temper and recklessness, Rose is everything I like in kickass heroine! I kinda pictured her as the Ellen Page sarcastic girl next door type when reading her. Even with everything going on, I like that she still acts and thinks like a teenage girl on stuff like lip gloss and boys. A Dhampirs in training to protect her Moroi best friend, she's protective, loyal and caring to Lissa and its where her soft side shows. She's also determine and responsible to her duties as a Dhampri to look out for Lissa even if it means putting fun aside.
Lissa was a character I love the more I read about her! Sweet, classy, caring and a total opposite to Rose's personality, A Moroi royalty in training, destine to rule the vampire world someday. She has dark past which triggered her into depression. Though it sounds like she is both physically and mentally unstable, she's not! Lissa a strong character who know how to stand up for herself and what is right for both her and Rose.
It took a while for me to warm up to Dmitri as he was very bland and moody at the start but the more I read about him the more I like the badass, no nonsense trainer and mentor, finding myself swooning over him. Basically he is the Tall, Dark, Mysterious kickass mentor that EVERYONE in the VA fandom are raving and drooling over!
BTW not related to the book VA but is it me or does the actor for Movie Dmitri look A LOT older than pictured in the book... anyone?!?!
Christian was another guy where the more I read about him the more I swoon over him! Dark, emo, lonely outcast, didn't like him at first (okay I actually liked a bit of his 'emo-ness' but that's it) as I thought he was a bit weird but the more I read about him the more I feel bad for misjudging him. He is an intriguing character that I'm looking forward to reading more about in the future books.
The side characters were where I have my suspicions especially on Natalie being overly friendly and Mia whom I HATE with a passion! I did like Mason and am looking forward to reading more of him.
I love the friendship between Rose and Lissa! I see now why everyone says its one of the best friendship in YA as it is!
They share close and unique bond and are almost like sisters, looking out and standing up for each other. I kinda find it funny reading about Rose being overly protective at Lissa at times as it sometimes look like an overly possessive boyfriend but still she meant well.
Rose and Dmitri's romance was well paced out and though I'll usually cringe at the 'student/teacher' romance, it somehow works here! As mentioned above that THAT one training moment was where I saw the sparks fly between them! Only complained... NOT ENOUGH OF THEIR ROMANCE though that might be because I have like 5+++ books to look forward to... better start planning my next trip to the bookstore...
As for Lissa and Christian's relationship was sweet to read and the the more I read about them the more I love them as couple.
As mentioned it was very predictable but it was also well wrapped up. I like how it ended as it left me wanting more of this VA world and characters!
Overall this was a great solid start to the series! Those of you who were intimidated with the book whether its the super long series or its a 'Vampire romance', I say give the first book a shot and if you like it commit to the series as they say it gets better as it progresses!
I am definitely continuing the series and picking up the next book which I've been hunting around bookshops in Kuala Lumpur for and not ONE bookstore has FROSTBITE! Yah I probably should have gotten the box set... or get it when I get back to Melbourne..
Also shout out to Penguin Teen Australia where at PTA LIVE they sold the book as 'Vampire that does not sparkle' which was one of the main push that got me to reading this!!!
Still not convinced on starting this series even after my tangent of how the first book is great? Check out their blog The Vampire Academy Series - 8 Reasons To Stop Avoiding It! as that too had me convinced on me picking up the first book!
Now to get my hands on FROSTBITE!!!
ALSO if you like the 'Best friends bounded to protect each other' concept of Vampire Academy but minus the vampires, check out Spark by Rachael Craw (Review Here)!!!