Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden deep in the forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger…and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever…
Rose and Lissa are best friends; the kind that knows each other’s every thought. Well, Rose does. For she is linked to Lissa. They share a bond closer than that of two normal friends. It’s this bond that might have kept them alive for the last two years. That, and Lissa possess magical powers, even if she isn’t very good with them. But all that is about to change, on that one night when the guardians from St. Vladimir’s Academy are about to catch up with them. Lead by Russian guardian Dimitri Belikov, Rose has no chance, yet that doesn’t mean she gives up without a fight. Rose never gives up without a fight. Before they left the Academy, Rose was well known for her sarcastic tongue and tough personality. It had gotten her into trouble many times before.
Yet on her return to St. Vladimir’s, Rose finds that her quick temper is only one of the things she needs to watch. She’s placed on probation, meaning no social outings outside of normal class duties. She has extra training sessions with one Dimitri Belikov. Her freedom is gone, and she hast to start over, something that everyone will take a while to get used to.
But with these extra practice sessions that she originally dreaded, comes something Rose wasn’t expecting. For Dimitri Belikov isn’t what anyone suspects. Rumours frequently state that Dimitri is a god. A sexy badass Russian god who is more than likely the best guardian on campus. As Rose soon finds out, that reputation isn’t without reason. For Dimitri is relentless, constantly challenging Rose beyond her comfort zone, challenging her to find something more than herself. Yet Rose has something else she is struggling with. Against all her better judgment, she finds herself falling for her mentor. Something strictly forbidden in the Dhampir world.
First, Rose is a student, Dimitri her teacher. Second, that teacher is seven years older than her. But most importantly, everyone knows Dhampir’s don’t have relationships with other Dhampir’s. It would distract them from their job – protecting the Moroi at all costs. Lissa’s life could depend on Rose’s concentration. What Rose doesn’t know, is how soon her concentration is going to be tested.
Vampire Academy is the first novel in the series of the same name by author Richelle Mead. As her first foray into the world of Young Adult fiction, Mead has done so spectacularly. Her world is fresh and new. Vampires with routes in firmly established mythology, set in a contemporary society with characters that you wish you were friends with. You won’t find any sparkling vampires here. These vampires are living and real. They drink blood for survival from willing human donators. They enjoy a connection with the elements, each one giving of a different strand of magic that is infused in the spirit of each Moroi. Then there are the Dhampir’s – something not seen before yet equally thought up and developed. The social structure is defined, the places and locations real. There is a quality here that lends itself to every action having a reason and a thought behind it.
Add into that unreal characters. Rose is everything you could want in a female protagonist. Strong, independent and willing to fight for what she believes in, a streak which can sometimes get her into trouble. She is sarcastic, feisty and loyal, laying her life on the line for her best friend time and time again. Dimitri is another example. Strong and fearless, sexy and beautiful. He is the force that makes Roes realize just how serious her training needs to be. He is the one that finally gets through to Rose. Christian was a pleasant surprise to me. I liked his character and the way he cared for Lissa. He is someone that I hope to see more of in future novels. Finally, Lissa. This is the one I wasn’t completely sure about. She is Rose’s best friend, and for that, she keeps Rose sane. Yet, there were times where I saw a selfish streak from Lissa, the need for her to be taken care off. Lissa doesn’t really stand up for herself, though perhaps this is to do with partly how she was raised.
In all, a fantastic first book. This series I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys and is a fan of good urban adventure. A great read, and sure to get you hooked on the rest of the series!
Publication date: 2008
Teaser quote: “Wow.” I hadn’t thought Dimitri could be any cooler, but I was wrong. “ You beat up your dad? I mean, that’s really horrible…what happened? But, wow. You really are a god.”
He blinked. “What?”