Although not the first book series she has written, Vampire Academy was the first series I have read by author Richelle Mead. And I loved it! There are six total books int he series, and while some were better than others (it happens), they were all very good and I couldn’t put them down! Luckily I started reading after all the books had been released, waiting for new ones while she was still writing and publishing these would have been difficult!
Vampire Academy is a young adult, urban fantasy series based at a school in Montana. The main character, our narrator, Rose, is a dhampir, which is half-human, half-vampire hybrid. She doesn’t have to live off blood like the vampires do, but she has super-strength. It is a dhampir’s job to protect the Moroi vampires, who are the peaceful, mortal vampires, from the evil Strigoi who are immortal and want to turn all Moroi into Strigoi. Rose is best friend to Lissa, who happens to be a Moroi princess, therefore needing extra protection.
At their school, Rose is taught about the different vampires, and is training to be able to be a Guardian and protect the Moroi. She ends up falling in love with her new trainer, Dimitri, which is a forbidden love. Dhampirs cannot reproduce with each other, so they are not supposed to be involved with each other because the race needs to continue.
Vampire Academy is full of love stories, wit, humor, sarcasm, and so much gossip. It also touches on more serious issues such as depression and self-harm, murder and assassination attempts, and the political world of the Moroi. Keeping this in mind, the books to get darker as you progress through the series, though never seem to get too dark to not be considered young adult novels. Although some of the love scenes do push the boundaries of what is acceptable for a YA book.
I felt like these books were written very well. Some of the dialogue could have been spiced up a bit, yes, but the rest of the storytelling more than makes up for that. There are points that the story seems to drag on, but then it picks right back up and hooks you back in. Rose is a great lead character, she is strong, quick-witted, sarcastic, tough…. she doesn’t let anyone push her around and says what she’s thinking. She is a bit rebellious, often breaking the rules, but still keeps herself in check most of the time.
Through the ups and downs of the books, I felt like it was a very strong series overall. And the ending is one that will keep you guessing, there are unexpected twists and turns, but I feel like the ending leaves the readers satisfied. There are a few loose ends, but that just leaves openings to have them tied up in the spin-off series, Bloodlines.
Have you read Vampire Academy? What did you think?