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In VAMPIRE ACADEMY, two vampires in training are forced to go back to school after dramatically taking off.
There they aren't as perfectly sheltered as their teachers assure them they will be - mainly because one of them is the last heir of a royal vampire family and also has a lot of special gifts that everyone is eager to use for their own benefits.
What intrigued me: After seeing the movie and falling in love with each and every character, picking up the novel was just the right thing to do.
My new favorite characters!
However, the book is just as good as the movie, probably even a little better. Starting with the badass protagonist Rose Hathaway, who's just about the coolest main character I've ever read about.
What I love most about Rose is that she's just all the elements of what could be a Mary Sue combined, but yet she is very far from being that. She's beautiful, she knows it and she doesn't waste any time to let everyone know that she knows how to use her god-given gifts.
Lissa on the other hand, her full-blood vampire best friend, just drives me up the walls. I love that Mead put in mental illness in an actually believable context but I just didn't get Lissa as a character. Due to the novel being told mainly from Rose's point of view aside from a few shifts in perspective, it's rather difficult to get to know Lissa.
Every YA paranormal novel needs a romance subplot. And boy, do we get it. Enter Dmitri, 24-year-old long-haired hot mess vampire guardian, assigned to be Rose's teacher in all things vampire hunting. It's always difficult to write a teacher/pupil-sort-of relationship without making it creepy, inappropriate or just flat out tasteless. There is nothing actually happening between these two but the tension is in-flipping-sane. I can't wait to find out what will happen in the next novel and if these two finally (FINALLY) get together.
We do have plot twists and plot, but I don't feel like the action had any rollercoaster-y tension going on. Weren't the characters so brilliant and the way she combined magic and vampires without overdoing the clichés, I probably would have had difficulties finishing this. Although I have to say that I didn't see the plot twist coming. I had at no point the notion that something great was going to happen, and I didn't anticipate the ending for the plot resolutions. More for the resolution whether Dmitri and Rose would finally hit it off (oops).
The biggest problem in my opinion is the point of view. Rose is a great and interesting character with an entertaining character voice, but the story demands some passages to be told from another person's perspective. Yes, using the bond between Rose and Lissa to justify shifts may be nice and a smart solution, but still it's quite distracting and I think that the novel would have worked better, had Lissa been the main character.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
This novel may seem to people that haven't had any contact with it before like another attempt at beating the dead horse, but I think that it's something refreshingly new. It's not Hogwarts meets Twilight. More of a ... Addams Family meets True Blood. With exactly the same amount of blood.
It's definitely a novel that revolves around sensitive topics (especially mental illness) and that's why I would recommend it. The novel explores it without being too much in-your-face and while still remaining an average YA read. I like it. You should read it.
"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. "