I’m a bit behind on my blogging, because I have been reading A LOT!!! A friend bought me Last Sacrifice, the final book in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series for Christmas. To fully appreciate it, I am re-reading the entire series. For those of you who do not know, I am in literary love with Mead. I have never been disappointed by anything she has written. In fact, she has broken my heart more times than I can count.
Vampire Academy is the first book in Mead’s Young Adult series. After two years on the run living among humans, Rose Hathaway and her best friend, Lissa Dragonmir, are apprehended by guardians in the employ of St. Vladimir’s Academy, the boarding school they had run away from. Lissa is a Moroi (good vamp) princess. Rose is a dhampir, half-human/half-Moroi, who is Lissa’s best friend and personal bodyguard. Out in the world, there are Strigoi (bad vamps) who live to kill Moroi and dhampirs. Moroi have some magical ability, but are not physically strong. Dhampirs have the speed and senses of their Moroi side, but the physical hardiness of their human ancestors, which makes them the perfect guardians for Moroi against the Strigoi. Confused? That is only because of my half-assed explanation. Trust me, Mead does a much better job world building than I do.
Anyway, back in school, the girls are welcomed to a celebrity-type status based on their party-girl reputations and two years of freedom. While Lissa the princess is easily welcomed back by the school, Rose is very behind on her guardian training. If she is going to graduate with her class at the end of the year, she has to get serious and work hard. The school assigns her a mentor to tutor her before and after school. Dimitry is twenty-four years old, but has already achieved legendary status in the guardian world for his lethal fighting skills. Oh, and he is super hot, so Rose develops a crush on him almost instantly. A crush that at times seems reciprocated?
On top of their roles as best friends and Moroi/guardian status, Rose and Lissa have something else tying them together—they are bonded. Prior to running away, the girls were in a car accident where Lissa’s entire family was killed. Actually, Rose had been killed too, but somehow, Lissa was able to use her magic to bring Rose back. Ever since, Rose has been able to read Lissa’s mind and emotions, a very convenient trick for a guardian pledged to protect, but still kind of annoying most of the time.
The thing I liked best about this book is that the teens act like teens! They occasionally break rules, let their mouths get them in trouble and do stupid things that they regret later. In other ways, they are very mature and responsible. Mead does an excellent job capturing that time of life when you are not a child, but also not an adult yet. It makes for very realistic characters.
There is also plenty of action and intrigue. Lissa is able to heal, a power that no other Moroi that she knows of possesses. Someone is out to expose her and use her powers for their own gain. Rose is forced to take her guardian training out of the classroom in order to save her best friend’s life.
Overall, I give Vampire Academy…
Plot – 4 bookmarks
Character Development – 4 ½ bookmarks
Love Story – 4 ½ bookmarks (the stage is set in this book for a hot love story which will thread through the rest of the series)
Fight Scenes – 4 ½ bookmarks (Rose & Dimitri kick serious ass!)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Rose (Sophia Bush), Lissa (Blake Lively), Dimitri (Ben Barnes), Christian (Michael Steger), Jenna Boyd (Mia), Ron Rifkin (Victor Dashkov), Jennifer Stone (Natalie)