Over Easter weekend, I finished reading the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I decided to wait until I finished the series before reviewing it, as it consists of six books, all surrounding the same story, and I believe that there are no plans for further books, meaning that the telling of this story is complete.
The six books in this series, in reading order are: Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice. The links are to the Goodreads pages, where there is a good synopsis for each one.
As I am reviewing the whole series, it is inevitable that this review will contain some spoilers. I will however, try to keep them to a minimum and not give away any of the major plot twists in the story.
I will start off by saying that overall, I really enjoyed this series. I have read the House of Night series (or what’s out of it so far) and I think that the writing in this series was much, much better. It flowed better, the characters were more believable, and I felt that Mead didn’t try as hard as Cast to appeal to younger people by inserting references to pop culture. Because of this, these books were much easier to read and held me much better.
The story mostly revolves around our heroine, Rose Hathaway. She exists in a world where vampires exist. There are two types of vampires though. Moroi Vampires and Strigoi Vampires. Moroi Vampires are living, breathing Vampires, who possess magic. They are on a whole, good vampires. They require blood drinking, but only take what they need to survive, using humans that volunteer as “feeders.”
Strigoi Vampires are the bad guys. They are not born, but made, willingly if a Moroi drinks blood from a human to the point where they kill the human, they become Strigoi. Humans can also be made into Strigoi by being bitten by one, then fed blood back. The Strigoi are undead, and apparently without any conscience, ability to feel emotion (aside from anger it seems) and are but shadows of what they were before they were made.
Rose is a Dhampir – half Moroi, half human. The Dhampirs attend St. Vladimir’s Accademy along with the Moroi. The Dhampir’s main goal in life really is to protect the Moroi. The code of conduct that they live by is “they come first.” The Damphir people are trained to be guardians – basically bodyguards for the Moroi against the Strigoi. A large reason for this is that Damphirs are unable due to a genetic quirk to conceive children between each other. They must either mate with Moroi, or a Moroi must mate with a human (which doesn’t happen that often). So much of the need to protect them is borne of self preservation.
Rose’s best friend is a Moroi named Lissa. She is the last of the Dragomir family. The vampire world has several royal families, and upon the death of her parents and brother in a car accident that she and Rose walked away from, she is the last one left. Rose and Lissa are bonded by a one way bond that basically lets Rose into Lissa’s head, knowing what emotions she is feeling, and eventually being able to see through her eyes. Rose is training to be a guardian and is actually quite badass. It is pretty much decided, especially due to their bonding, that upon graduation, Rose will be guarding Lissa. The bond is quite useful to the reader, as it becomes a way to see what is going on in Lissa’s story when Rose is not physically able to be there, explaining how she’s feeling, as Rose is able to tell that, as well as Rose’s outlook on the situations as she has an ability to see things from outside while being on the inside. Did that make sense?
So I don’t want to get into the whole story, because I don’t want to give too much away, but this has pretty much everything – action, a very touching and deep rooted love story, deception, magic, devotion, yadda yadda yadda. There are many twists and turns, Rose is thrown into many situations and always manages to put others before her, dealing with things that are much bigger than her, as well as the usual teenage problems, like parent issues (though hers are a bit more extreme than usual). She is often her own worst enemy, at times showing great maturity, while still showing how young she really is. She tends to jump in without thinking at times, though over the course of the books (which last about a year) she grows and matures and becomes an adult.
These books were well written, they kept me interested and wanting more, yet the conclusion was satisfying. This being said, there is definitely room for another series of books based on these characters in the future, or based around other secondary characters there is room to develop on.
If you’re into YA – or not – and looking for some fairly fast paced reading with characters that you can grow close to and care about, check out these books. I’m pretty sure they’re all available in paperback now, though I downloaded them all to my Kindle and read them there.
Overall for the series – 4/5 stars. Worth the time.
Have you read these books? Loved them? Hated them? In between? Please let me know in the comments.