Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

ISBN:  9781595141743
Source: Purchased
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Release Date: August 16, 2007
Goodreads  |  Amazon 

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

I'm not going to lie to you: I didn't love Vampire Academy. I actually felt rather "meh" about it for most of the book. I tried not to be too hard on VA because I'd just come off the high of reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and, well, lets be honest - not much can compare to Rainbow Rowell.

The writing in VA wasn't all that great and took some getting used to. Let me just rant for a moment about the typos. I know these are technically not a telling attribute of the quality of the book, but I mean really! It's about to become a movie and this is the best the editors/publishers/everyone can do?! It was frustrating. It obviously didn't take away from the story itself, but it's hard to like and respect a book that no one cares enough to correct. It's not like these haven't been out for years!!

Sorry - rant over... Anyways, there was also way too much "tell" and not nearly enough show. Thankfully, though, it wasn't difficult to get through even if it wasn't the best. Thanks to the unique and interesting premise, I got through it pretty quickly.

Toward about the middle of the book, it started to flow a little better and became slightly more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the plot barely had barely moved up until that point and it still wasn't moving. I understand that the first book in a series sometimes suffers because it is setting up for the rest of the series, so I can forgive it to an extent, but I mean come on.

The world-building could've been pulled off, again, without so much tell and more show, but at least it was there. We learned a lot about the world of St. Vladimir's, the dhampirs, Moroi and Strigoi, (unfortunately through much "info dumping") even if we are unfortunately reminded all the time that we are reading a book and being told a story by a fictional character instead of being able to "fall into" the story. 

Rose is an interesting character who does experience some development but she's also a little annoying. I think she's supposed to come off as badass and reckless, and she is badass, but mostly childish. The other characters in the book are enjoyable to read about, I just wish we learned more about them. The love interest development is barely there which wasn't entirely a bad thing. I'm not a fan of insta-love, and though toward the end, the "L" word came about a bit quickly, it didn't just come out of nowhere, so that was okay.

Right in the last few chapters of the book, things begin to pick up and we see some plot movement and decent action. As a matter of fact, Richelle Mead seems to have a knack for writing love and action scenes.... so why can't we see more of them? I find the problem to be with the narrative (and only a few times with the dialogue) and if the narrative had been more like the scenes where things were actually happening, it would've been a great book instead of just alright.

It leaned a bit toward the predictable side with some twists here and there that I didn't see coming, and by the end I was committed because I could see the potential for an awesome series there. Overall, I didn't love the book but it was a decent set-up book for the rest of the series and I can't wait to see if Mead will build on her strengths to make the next five books successful. And stay tuned because I'll definitely be reviewing any other books I read in this series.

     RATING: ★★★

Have any of you read this book/series before? I've heard from a lot of people and read many reviews that say that the rest of the series is great, and usually I am skeptical on that kind of thing, but after reading this book, I believe it. Tell me what you thought of this book if you've read it yet!

On a side note though, I recently watched the trailer for the movie... and I think its going to suck. What do you all think about that?

Get a second opinion
Writer of Wrongs [3 star rating]
Paradise of Pages [4 star rating]
Divergent Gryffindor [5 star rating]


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