The teen vampire genre is enjoying a good run at the moment. It seems every time I walk into a bookstore, a new author has released a vampire novel of some kind. So when I picked up Vampire Academy, I did so with hesitation. And as it turns out, my hesitation wasn’t exactly unwarranted.
Vampire Academy is the first novel in an ongoing series and is narrated through the eyes of Rose Hathaway. She’s a Guardian-in-training and it is her job to protect Lissa Dragomir – who is not only a Moroi Princess, but also Rose’s best friend. But Rose is not your average student Guardian. She can see inside Lissa’s mind and can feel all of her best friend’s emotions. And Lissa is pretty special too; she has very rare healing abilities that have only been seen a couple of times in all of vampire history. Oh yes, and they’re both heartbreakingly stunning. The boys love them, and the girls love to hate them.
Rose is a likeable enough character. She’s sassy, feisty and fiercely loyal. She’s quick to fly off the handle, so Vampire Academy is never without at least a little action. And it’s certainly not without its romance. Rose has a bit of a reputation as a player, but that’s the thing about reputations – you can never really tell if their genuine or made from gossip. Will her reputation deter Dimitri – her Guardian mentor – or will he allow himself to make up his own mind?
Rose’s mental connection with Lissa is an interesting narrative tool which allows readers to follow Lissa’s story quite closely, too. Because Rose feels all that Lissa does, readers are also invited to identify with her, as well as Rose. For me, however, Lissa proved to be nothing more than a shallow narrative agent which provides conflict and drama for Rose to deal with.
Unfortunately, Rose’s voice did not draw me in to the point where I was utterly hooked. It would be unfair to say that I was bored, because I wasn’t, but I certainly had to concentrate on the reading process. I had to force myself to become invested in the story and develop a connection with the characters.
If someone gave me the sequels, I’d read them. However, I’m in no rush to go out and buy them for myself. Vampire Academy is not a bad read, but it’s certainly nothing to brag to your friends about.