Review: 'Vampire Academy' by Richelle Mead

Friday, July 3, 2015
Vampire Academy
Richelle Mead


Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires - the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger... and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever...

Travel Companion:

If I traveled with the main character Rose Hathaway, she would be:

The Thrill Seeker

She would go to all the places for adrenaline junkies. She would dive from high cliffs into shallow water. She would be the one who wouldn't hesitate to join in a fight to defend her friends. Rose would be the one to choose the deadly, life-threatening adventures. (Which might result in a broken bone or two.) And she would be great at fighting. She would end up as a martial arts instructor if she wasn't busy protecting her best friend.
We would meet her recklessly jumping off a cliff. Of course, we would chicken out and back off. We would be impressed by Rose's reckless attitude and her fearlessness. We would become her friends after we take our own leap.

If I traveled with the main character Lissa Dragomir, she would be:

The Animal Lover

She would go to the zoo and ogle at all the animals. We would go to India, and she would ride on an elephant. She would give out money to the poor. She would play with the children on the streets, and they would enjoy being near  her.
We would meet Lissa in a park. Lissa would be feeding pigeons, and we would see her kindess. We would invite her to join us on our trip to Third-World countries. And she would join because she would want to help the people there.

Rose was AWESOME. I loved her character. She was snarky and brave. Reckless and crazy so. Fearless as well. She didn't hold back. Her words would gush out like a waterfall. She chose to do reckless things. Running away for two years? Yeah. A bit reckless. I have to agree and disagree with her reasons. She COULD have been safer on the run surrounded by humans, but she also could have gotten hurt or gotten Lissa hurt. They were in danger, and Rose wasn't a guardian yet. She couldn't always protect Lissa. She didn't know how to fight Strigoi.

I reveled in her adventures. She kept running around recklessly. She had no barriers, so she went on some crazy adventures. I got to explore her world through her eyes. (Like she sees Lissa's world.) It was a thrill ride but one I enjoyed.
She was loyal to Lissa. I admired her loyalty. She would do anything for Lissa. She would attack people to protect Lissa. She would climb mountains for Lissa. Rose was determined to keep Lissa happy and safe. No matter what. (Unless her jealousy got in the way. Ehem. Need I remind you of the Christian incident?) Her loyalty would be her downfall, though. I can predict that without knowing what happens next.

The only downside to Rose's character was her flirting. She flirted with everyone. She flirted to escape. To relax. To have a little fun. I felt like she was leading Mason on. Leading someone on isn't a great personality trait, but it also made Rose seem like the Modern American Teenager. (Yes, teenagers do flirt, and, yes, they do it a lot.)

I felt like she was a bit cocky as well. (Of course, a little dose of narcissism is healthy. Or so I presume. It's better to love yourself than hate yourself.) She knew she was hot, and she flaunted it. I get it. Though, that doesn't mean you get to treat boys like trash, Rose. Boys are people too.
Lissa had darkness in her heart, but she was such a kind person. She suffered to make other people happy. Which was her greatest sacrifice. I admired her sacrifice. Not many would do what she did for others. She was a kind person. She would heal animals that were hurt. Even if she knew it hurt her. She was truly a princess. She was unique and special, but she didn't let that get to her head.
She had a great friendship with Rose. A strong bond with or without their psychic connection. Lissa knew when things were wrong with Rose. Likewise for when things were wrong with Lissa. And Lissa did try to make things better for Rose. Especially when Evil Doll Mia came up with new insults. Lissa supported Rose. I liked her friendship, even if Lissa took it a tad too far. Those two were stuck like glue. (Haha. Get it? Get it?)

I wanted more of Lissa. She was a great character. I just wanted more depth to her character. I wanted to see her reactions from her perspective, not just Rose's. If this book was told from both of their perspectives, it would have been great.

The Adventure Begins (And Ends):

The plot seemed a bit boring. A lot of drama from the academy. The romance. It was more dramatic than I expected. It did seem like one of those books that are entirely based on a school. Those aren't the most interesting things to read. And it's worse if you know the life AFTER the school will be more interesting to read. And it's not like Rose's training sessions were told in a lot of depth.
This book was mostly focused on Lissa finding out her powers and the two of them acclimating back into the society of the school. That could have been interesting, but the execution made the book a bit bland in the end.
The few action scenes weren't bad. My personal favorite was the one where Rose slipped out of the car when Dimitri told her not to. Wait. That was pretty much all of them. Honestly, I liked the one where she went after Lissa. That was a true test of friendship. She could have stayed behind, but she charged on ahead. That was partly because of her personality, but it also highlighted her bond with Lissa. Psychic or not. (Mostly psychic, though.)

I'll Wait For You At the Gate:

I could definitely feel the romance. The two relationships were ship-able. They had chemistry and tension. I mean, I won't deny the chemistry between Hathaway and Belikov. And Ozera and Dragomir had their good points as well.
Rose and Dimitri? Ship it. Their age gap was a huge part of their story. If they wanted to be together, Rose needed to graduate. (A teacher and student dating is illegal. Just saying.) She needed to be more mature as well.

The romance did seem a little rushed. It came out of nowhere. If you read and figured out the timeline, you would realize they didn't know each other for very long. And I felt like it was mostly about physical attraction at first. Then, Rose gained respect for Dimitri's abilities. And Dimitri gained respect for her abilities. And their relationship blossomed from there.

Christian and Lissa? Ship it. Those two were outcasts. They worked together and became friends. Christian cared about Lissa in his Brooding Boy way. I wanted to see why Christian liked Lissa, though. Was it her charm? Her laugh? Her smile? Why did Christian Ozera like Lissa Dragomir? What was there? (Again, the dual perspective would have worked. Rose only sees, or lets herself see, so much of Lissa's life. Seeing things from Lissa's perspective would have been great.) I wanted more about these two. The whys were buzzing around my head. (And still are.)

Perks and Upgrades:

The one thing I want to point out is Lissa's struggle. And Lissa did struggle. She was going through depression, which is a serious illness. She had terrible days, and, like many struggling with depression, she faked normality around everyone. The thing I wanted to touch upon was Rose's support when she found out about Lissa. She noticed the dark feelings, but she hadn't thought about the consequences. Only time would tell. And Rose did support Lissa, and she wanted Lissa to get better. Many people who have loved ones with depression go through this. The wanting to help but the sensation of helplessness.
I do feel that we could have touched more upon this. It came at the end, and it was a bit of a shocker for me. It felt like it was a surprise factor. (And it did surprise. I won't deny that.) I wanted to see how the author dealt with it. She could have written more about Lissa and her depression, but that wouldn't have worked with the rest of the book. I know. I know.

“I wasn’t going to do it then,” she said, her eyes staring blankly off. “I swear, I wasn’t going to. I mean, I was upset ... but I thought ... I thought I could handle it. I was trying so hard . . . really, Rose. I was. But then I got back to my room, and I saw it, and I . . . just lost it. It was like the last straw, you know? And I knew I had to clean it up. Had to clean it up before they saw, before they found out, but there was so much blood . . . and afterward, after it was done, it was too much, and I felt like I was going to . . . I don’t know . . . explode, and it was just too much, I had to let it out, you know? I had to—”
Page 161 'Vampire Academy'

I was quite impressed. I found this book because of its movie adaptation. I didn't mind the movie. It wasn't terrible.
Rose's snarky attitude and quick retorts lured me in. I wanted to see if she was that quick on her feet in the book as well as the movie.

Plus, I wanted to try a vampire book for once. I don't read them often. I prefer androids and warlocks to vampires. This book wasn't too bad, though.

You Have Arrived at Your Destination:

The ending seemed to fit. The main characters were happy. Lissa was the happiest, I think. Rose wasn't unhappy or anything. Just a bit mopey.
There weren't many plot holes or questions I had. I felt like this could have been a standalone. I didn't feel the immediate need to continue the series.
But with the positive ending and hope for Lissa, I do want to continue. She was in such a bad place. And she gained some happiness with Christian. The hope really did work on me. I wanted to know how she would end up. Would she relapse? Or be happy?
Plus. I want Rose and Dimitri action. Around the charm scene was when I started to actually want them to be together. And I do want to see if they get together. (Which means I might read through the rest of the series.)

Overall, I didn't mind this book. The characters were pretty great. The romance was believable, to an extent. The plot wasn't the best; it could have been much better. The action wasn't too bad. (After all, Rose was training to kick butt.) The way the author portrayed Lissa's struggle as well as Rose's attempts to soothe her best friend was fascinating. It really showed Rose's love for her friend.



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