Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy #1

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Title: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre:  Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Publisher:  Penguin (26th May 2009)

Lissa Dragomir is a mortal vampire.

She must be protected at all times from the fiercest and most dangerous vampires of all – the ones who will never die.

Rose Hathaway is Lissa’s best friend – and her bodyguard.

Now, after two years of illicit freedom, they’ve been dragged back inside the iron gates of St. Vladimir’s Academy. The girl’s must survive a world of forbidden romances, a ruthless social scene and terrifying night-time rituals.

But above all, they must never let their guard down, lest the immortal vampires take Lissa – forever . . .

Rating: ****
(4 stars)

Vampire Academy is the first book in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. Although this series has been out for around five years, this is the first time I’ve read it. I read its spin-off Bloodlines first (read my review here) so I had a bit of an idea what I was getting into when I started this book.

For me, this book was a quick and enjoyable read – even with breaks it took me just 12 hours to finish it. I got into the story quickly, I liked the characters and the narrative voice, and before I knew it I was on the final page. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Rose and Lissa are interesting main characters. They share the stage almost equally. With Rose as the narrator I thought the story would be more about her, but it’s not. Richelle Mead writes the close friendship between them brilliantly. You can instantly see that they are very close. They work well together; as friends, as princess and guard, and as protagonists. It’s kinda hard to imagine one without the other. They seem more like siblings than friends.

This is, I think, the first time I’ve read about vampire royalty (unless you count Akasha from Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned, which I don’t – not really). It is an interesting choice, and makes a certain sense. It’s certainly a change from the use of gangs or liege lords. The plot of the book is an interesting twist on the expected too. On the one hand it seems really predictable and yet . . . There are twists and ideas that I haven’t seen explored in quite the way they are in Vampire Academy before.

Everything about this book is a real oxymoron.

If you’re a fan of vampire fiction but fancy something a little different to the norm then you should give this book a try. Even if you don’t you should have a go. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series. Hopefully it will be just as good.

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