Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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The title of this book is so misleading. I have stumbled past this book so many times in the past because I kept thinking “wow, what a tacky title”… that may partially explain why I am so late to the party with this series. Anyway, ignore the title, this is easy YA vampire fiction at its best. Now, I am not saying that this is the next Austen or Bronte novel – but it is one of those addictive page turners that you will not be able to put down! I think I read the entire book in four hours.
Rose Hathaway is a great protagonist – sassy, hilarious and fiercely loyal. She was likeable enough to evoke sympathy, and badass enough for me not to find her boring. Her friendship with Lissa is interesting (how much is their friendship based on the bond, and how much is genuine?), and I especially enjoyed that we could see things from Lissa’s perspective without changing narrator.
I have found a YA novel that has believable romance in it! Hurrah! I was starting to think they were extinct. I loved both the main couples in Vampire Academy. I love star-crossed lovers (I know, it’s such an overused trope, sue me), and so Rose and Dimitri really hit me hard. There’s one scene near the end of the book that almost killed me, so fellow shippers can look forward to that. I also spent the entire novel hoping that Lissa and Christian would get together – two great romances for the price of one! I love it.
Vampire Academy definitely felt like a soap opera at times, but in the best possible ways. There was drama around every corner, but unlike a soap opera I never found myself saying “OH COME ON, LIKE THAT WOULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN!” It’s action-packed, fast-paced and really indulgent, which makes it especially frustrating that the ratings go down as the series progresses. It’s like the chocolate mudcake of YA fiction – you know it’s bad for you, you know you’ll probably regret it, but gees it feels so good while you’re eating it.
The only thing that stopped this novel from reaching five stars for me, was that it felt like it was a "set-up" novel for the rest of the series. I hope that just means I will enjoy the rest of the books even more!
Overall, Vampire Academy was a wonderful example of genuine YA romance and a unique twist on traditional vampire mythology. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a quick read with interesting characters and a different take on vampire lore.
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