May 19, 2012

Review: Vampire Academy

By: Richelle Mead
Published: August 2007 by Razorbill
Format: Paperback, 332 pages
First Reviewed: March 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.

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.

Rating: 5/5

Whoot! Whoot! A re-read before the spin-off series! I've read VA quite a few times since 2008, but this is the longest stretch of time in between re-reads, and oh my goodness was it fantastic to get back into! I fell completely back in love with Rose, Dimitri, and the world, and found newfound appreciations for Mead's characterization. One thing I did see this time many. ERRORS!

Richelle Mead is a genius, and of course I'm not just basing that off this book, given that the sequels are one million times better. Seriously. Not kidding. But she is. She's as much a god as totally different ways, of course. I can count on one hand the amount of authors who can literally make me sit down for hours reading without me even realizing it. Mead is one of those authors. I forget about everything--food, bathroom breaks, life--all because of her writing. There's just something about it. And, come on, she's a master at comeback lines.

Okay, the errors. Seriously, I found so many I wanted to throw the book. Missing quotations, quotations in the middle of a dialogue line, misspelled words (describrd instead of described, for example), other editing errors that I blame the editors for not catching, and some formatting errors that probably only go noticed under my eye. And also because she's way too adverb-happy. Lay off 'em, Richelle Mead! Listen to me!

Anyway, Mead's still a favorite author, and probably even more so because of her use of voice and characterization.

Sort of already mentioned the fact that Mead's great at creating characters, but...I honestly can't stress it enough. Rose is one of the very, very few--actually, I think just her and Saba from Blood Red Road--characters who I just completely love. Completely. She's one I will remember for years and years, probably forever, no matter how many books/series I read. Sure, there are other characters I'll remember, but usually only because the book's overly hyped up or a movie's shoved them in everyone's faces. Rose is just fantastic. Feisty and reckless, but caring and loving. Strong in every way possible, but also has emotions and feelings. She's just amazing.

And don't even get me started on Dimitri. Can I just say "the only book-crushes I have are on boys in this dadgum series" and be done with it? There are no words besides "god" to describe Dimitri. Just...Dimitri. And BACK OFF EVERYONE! I READ HIM FIRST!

Lissa. You know, I remember not caring for Lissa as much before, but after re-reading this for the millionth time, I got so much more of her character and I really, really liked her. Liked the shifts that Mead showed and I love not knowing what she's going to do. It's in a different way from Rose's out-of-controlness, and both compliment each other so well.

Overall, the characters are just amazing. Christian...sigh. Love him. Mason? him. Mia, Natalie, Victor, Everyone Else Who Had A Name? Sigh...loved them. Fan. Tas. Tic.

Okay, so upon a very first read, I probably wouldn't have rated this more than a four max. Three, probably, but after reading the whole series...? Oh my goodness! Do you know how much foreshadowing there is in this? DO YOU KNOW?! Okay, I'm getting out of control, but that's what this series does to me, and this book in particular isn't the best of the series, but now there's so much more to it than before.

For me, I loved the pace. There was action, but this book didn't focus on as much of that as the next books do, and I found myself still loving it as much. Tangled up in the conflicts between characters and others and characters and themselves was great to me. Not to mention the romance is perfect. Not overdone. And here's another way Mead's amazing: She somehow takes a setup with a beautiful girl that gets hit on a lot and whatnot and makes it fitting to the point where I was never once annoyed like I would be if someone else had wrote this. Seriously, Rose could get hit on every page and it wouldn't bother me. That's how great Mead is.

Anyway, because I'm trying to hurry up and finish this review--hello! I have five other VA books to read and I want to read them now!--I'll wrap this up fast. There's action, romance, some of the most hilarious scenes and lines, emotional ties, creepiness, and twists you'll never see coming.

Other: I have to mention it one more time: THE ERRORS!!! Razorbill, come on, now! I hope the newer editions have fixed all of them by now. They were overwhelming. Also, I have to say how annoyed I am, still, that the covers changed mid-series. Mine (see picture) don't match the last three. So wrong. Oh, and FYI: There is language and sexual scenes. All throughout the series.

Vampire Academy is probably the only book is history that I've rated five stars just because the overall series is incredible and my favorite. I probably would have given this three-four stars if I'd just read it for the first time. But seriously, you've gotta read this entire series! I'm leaving now before I ramble on about why because...I'll be back later tonight to tell you all about Frostbite. :D

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