Two races of vampires walk our world. One, the Moroi, are alive and wield elemental magical. The other, the Strigoi, are undead and evil–feeding on the innocent to survive. Rose Hathaway–a half-vampire with poor impulse control–is training to be a bodyguard for a Moroi princess. Learning to decapitate and stake is hard enough, but Rose’s real danger may lie in an illicit romance with one of her instructors… (from Richelle Mead Official Website)
I’ll admit, I started reading this series with a very skeptical eye. A part of me really felt like the vampire stories were all the same, so how could the Vampire Academy be different? I think I realized after the first book in this series that what Richelle Mead creates is a much different vampiric world than what one might expect. There are mortal vampires with magic in need of protection and the immortal and malicious vampires that are set on ruining the world. Many of the dhampir, half human and half vampire, train to defend the royals against all evils. This series is full of action, a lot of which happens at St. Vladimir (haha) and a lot of romance (which I can’t resist) making the entire series very equally balanced.
While your reading, it’s quite easy to see how much time Mead spent on her characters. Rose and Dimitri compliment each other in ways I haven’t seen in a while. She’s rash and impulsive and he is almost her complete opposite, yet they find a common ground to build a relationship on throughout the novels. Rose’s whole demeanor with everyone is very abrasive, except with a close few. Rose fights for what she wants and goes with her gut instinct in almost every situation. This notion has become more and more prominent in YA lit and as much as I hate the redundancy, this is actually a good aspect to keep in the genre. Mead’s characters are some of the best: never static, believable dialogue (yay!) and they are identifiable.
Overall: Anyone who loves vampire stories will, no doubt, cling to this one too. The difference between Mead’s vampire world and others is that hers is actually interesting and well thought-out. Mead’s creation is full of deeper meaning and better characters. Plots thicken, crushes die, romance blooms, and stakes go through a lot of hearts in this series which makes for an entertaining and fast read.
*If you love this series, try out Bloodlines- a spin-off series set in the same world, but focusing on the other characters!