Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead Review

3 Star Review:

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“The greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very quietly, hidden in the shadows.”

Let’s talk about something for a moment, particularly heroines in Young Adult. How many of you have read the demure, chaste, and boring heroine who always does the right thing even if it means basically chopping her own head off? You won’t get that with Rose. She cares most about doing her job in protecting Lissa, and she couldn’t give a fuck about others feelings if it means protecting her friend. Rose has absolute confidence. She doesn’t do that odd thing that most YA heroines do, where they think they’re average looking when really they’re just pulling a bunch of crap on the reader. She’s honest in her attractive qualities with the reader just as she is with herself.

“You don’t know your father, do you?”

I shook my head. “No. All I know is he must have had wicked cool hair.”

I have always loved how sexually confident Rose is about her body image. I would love to see more heroine in Young Adult be confident about how they look. That’s not to say that Rose doesn’t run into a few people who would slut shame her for wearing a little cleavage, because she does. But unlike most heroines, she doesn’t do the slut shaming herself.

I’ll save her kickassery for later ;p

If there’s anything Richelle Mead stellars at, it’s her plots. She’s very adept at explaining the world without leaving anything that could be confusing to the reader. Nothing’s done half-assed here. The world’s developed slowly, just as the romance develops slowly. You don’t understand everything all at once. Richelle Mead feeds information throughout the book, so the glutton of information spouted at them doesn’t piss off the reader. One of my favorite things about Richelle’s books is the way she plants clues along the way that you won’t recognize unless you’ve already read the book, or the entire series.

Summary:

Rose wants to protect her best friend at all cost, even if it means escaping their world of Vampire Academy. But, that’s exactly what she did. Even though as the reader we don’t understand yet why Rose had to protect Lissa. Why is she able to protect her better than a bunch of adults can?

Rose and Lissa are living as college students when guardians come down on them. Rose gets her ass kicked, wherein we first meet guardian Dimitri. The great thing about their first meeting is that even though Rose is clearly attracted to him, she doesn’t really care at the moment. Because her job is to protect Lissa, and she’s not going to be taken down by a hot Russian dude when her friends life could possibly be in danger.

Dimitri and the other school guardians bring the girls to headmistress Kirova, who almost bans Rose for her irresponsibility. I won’t say that Rose wasn’t irresponsibile and immature in this matter because I do agree with Kirova. Rose’s actions were immature. But it’s the start of the series and even from the start I oculd tell Rose would become an ever developing strong MC.

This is when Dimitri reluctantly steps in to train Rose to catch up with her classmates in her guardian training. Lissa goes off to learn how to be a royal Moroi vampire, while Rose gets to learn how to kick people’s asses for a living. One problem though: Rose gets her ass kicked by Dimitri and her fellow classes, repeatedly.

But there’s something else happening at Vampire Academy, someone who’s plotting against Lissa. specially gifted at compulsion (kind of like hypnotizing people) and especially gifted at healing, has found disemboweled dead animals in her bed. Someone seems to be targeting Lissa, as if they know her secrets. As the reader you wonder whether it’s Mia, the bitch who hates Lissa for little reason that’s recognizable at first. Her reason becomes well known as the plot picks up.

The mystery, the world, the characters, and the villains in this novel all flow to make a consistent and well formed story. But truly, it’s the characters that dominate Richelle Mead’s world.

Characters:

There are many reasons to love Rose, but here are a few:

1.  She’s badass in a way most YA heroines aren’t.

She punches the villain, instead of being passive about it like most heroines. The scene where she punches Mia is fantastic:

I heard a crunch as my fist impacted her nose, and blood spurted out. Someone screamed. Mia shreaked and flew backwards into some squealing girls who didn’t want to get blood on their dresses. I swooped in after her, getting one more good punch before somebody peeled me off her.

Rose takes action, however rash those actions are. She goes for it, instead of just glaring at the bitch.

2. Her snark is actually funny

“Rose, we know none of that stuff happened.”
I almost chocked on my own laughter. “Do you? Wow. I’m really glad to hear that. Because you see, until you said that, I’d been thinking it had happened. Thank God you guys are here to set me straight and tell me what the hell I have or haven’t done!”

If you love Meda Melange’s humor from Cracked by Eliza Crewe: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/919323414 , than you’ll love Rose.

3. She’s smart. She’s doesn’t give a fuck for others feelings when her friend’s life is at stake:

Dimitri’s push on laps and stamina paid off. She wasn’t moving very quickly, and I could feel the distance closing between us, giving me a more precise idea of her location. Likewise, Christian couldn’t keep up with me. I started to slow for him but soon realized the foolishness of that.

She worries for Lissa’s safety above all else, since she’s training to become her guardian. But to be completely honest, she’s often irrational about it:

Why don’t you just leave her alone? Are you so messed up and desperate for attention that you can’t tell when someone doesn’t like you?” He scowled. “You’re some crazy stalker, and she knows it. She’s told me all about your weird obsession-how you’re always hanging out in the attic together, how you set Ralf on fire to impress her. She thinks you’re a freak, but she’s too nice to say anything.

Now this may turn off some readers, but if you like your heroines truly badass than you’ll love Rose. I’d much rather have a smart and mean heroine, than a passive heroine.

You may actually end up disliking Rose. For some, Rose’s sexual confidence turns them off. Her rash behavior and penchant for punching people may also piss you off. She is immature. She’s young. But here the thing, she grows and becomes responsible. She grows so much in this book. But in the series overall, she becomes an amazing woman.

Lissa has a fuck ton of issues. At times, I was frustrated with her irrationality to not realize it when she needed help. Her magic makes her emotions overwhelming and that becomes part of the problem for Lissa. Yet I loved how real she felt as a character. I felt like there’s so much more of her character than what is in this one book. That’s the most exciting thing to me. When I know there’s more to learn about a character, but the author hasn’t quite shared it with me just yet.

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The World:

There are Strigoi who have lived for thousands of years and fed off generations of Moroi. They’re almost impossible to kill. And that is why Moroi numbers are dropping. They aren’t strong enough-even with guardians-to protect themselves.”

The world makes most YA paranormal’s look like Kristen Stewart trying to show real emotion. The squinting; always the squinting of the eyes.

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Whew, look at all that damn emotion!

She created a world unlike any I’ve read, at least when I first read it. She portrays a world that blends on the lore of the Slavic Vampire. No sparkly shit here, mister. She even explains everything in her world without boring the shit out the reader. Mead shows the reader the reason the Dhampirs and Vampires live in different dorms, besides the fact that the Royals drink blood. The Vampire’s dorms are dark and have very little windows since the sun can damage their skin. Moroi are pale and look like runway models, whereas Dhampirs are strong and curvy like humans.

The Romance:

How fucking rare is it to come across a YA where the romance actuals builds slowly. Rare, it’s fucking rare. Almost non-existant.

The relationship between Rose and Dimitri builds very slowly and realistically. They start out as friends, Rose even freaks out when she’s starting to get the hots for her mentor:

I wondered what it’d be like for him to touch me and-shit!
What was I thinking? Was I out of my mind? Embarrassed, I covered my feelings with attitude.
“You see something you like?” I asked.

We get to realize that their relationship isn’t just attration and that it’s more than just a friendship. They get to know each other as if they truly understand each other. Nothing to do with fate or any shit like that. But Rose explains her it like this:

I suddenly understood why he and I had this weird attraction, good looks aside.
I’d never met anyone else who took being a guardian so seriously, who understands all the life-and-death consequences. Certainly no one my age did yet; Mason hadn’t been able to understand why I couldn’t relax and drink at the party…We understood each other, understood that we had other to protect. Our lives would never be easy.

While I love this book. It’s not my favorite in the series. It’s probably my least favorite. I personally didn’t like all of the high school drama that surrounded this book. It became a little too much for me. It was one thing after another and I kinda got sick of that. I loved the characters, but the High School clique was not within my tastes. I also disliked Rose’s prejudice towards Christian. It didn’t always make sense to me why would believe the rumors about him when so many rumors were thrown around about her.

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