Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Vampire Academy

by Richelle Mead


Rose and Lissa are much more than BFFs. These college girls share a special bond, created when the two of them were in a car accident. This bond means that Rose can sometimes experience what Lissa is going through. Lissa is a Moroi, or a mortal vampire, and Rose is her dhampir guardian.

Lissa really needs a bodyguard with mind-reading abilities and kick-ass superpowers, because she's in mortal danger. Her blood is unusually tasty to the Strigoi, those immortal vampires who have turned to the dark side. Unfortunately Rose isn't good enough for the role, as she discovers when they get tracked down and dragged back to the Montana school they'd both run away from.

At St. Valentine's Academy everyone is either a Moroi or a dhampir. However, that doesn't make the place exempt from the usual jealousies and cliques of high school. Short-tempered Rose is put on probation by a hostile headmistress, so if she steps out of line she faces expulsion. But she's heavily provoked by the various people who don't want her around, or who feel slighted by her in some way. This is teenage angst with added fangs. There are characters with depression and family issues, and it's all dialled up to eleven due to the magical and supernatural elements.

Everyone at the academy is paranoid about attacks by Strigoi, so their lives are very regimented, as if they're under constant siege. There's something creepy about the hierarchy between the Moroi and the dhampir, who are supposed to devote all their lives to protecting the Moroi. This novel doesn't explore the rights and wrongs of their social structure, which seems stuck in the past. This omission surprised me, but perhaps that's for a later novel in the series. Instead there's a lot about Rose's crush on her older mentor, and about who is dating which guy.

Vampire Academy is realistic about young people's relationships, in that not all of the main characters are virgins. There are one or two steamy sections, but nothing I would consider particularly spicy. This is still YA, albeit at the older end of that spectrum.

Rose is feisty and reckless, so I found her mostly likeable. But she's impossibly beautiful compared with almost everyone else in the story, and she has curves that none of the Moroi can imitate. In spite of this she's also tough and super-athletic. In short, she's quite the Mary Sue.

Vampire Academy is a fast, undemanding story. It's exciting because of the life or death nature of Lissa and Rose's struggles, but Rose's sharp tongue and snappy dialogue make it into quite a light read. This novel isn't as laugh-out-loud funny as Buffy or as scary as The Strain series, but it's entertaining in its own way.

12th July 2014

Book Details

Year: 2007

Categories: Books

  Female Protagonist  

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Review ©

Source: own copy