Vampire Academy Series: Review and Lesson Learned


We've talked a lot about beginnings, about how you need to hook your reader in the first line/chapter/fifty pages. We've even talked about what page is your cut off point on giving up on a book if it's not doing it for you. I've admitted I'm a chronic finisher. I have a hard time giving up on a book, always holding out hope that I'll like it in the end.

Well, for this series, I did just that. Book one of Vampire Academy didn't really do it for me. The main character was kind of harsh and brash. I had trouble connecting with her. The story was entertaining, but nothing that really drew me in. So, I finished the book, but really had no interest in continuing on with the series. That was about a year ago.

Then I started hearing all the buzz about these books and seeing all the positive reviews on fellow bloggers sites--bloggers who typically have similar tastes to me. So, finally about two weeks ago, I gave in. I decided to give the series one more book to hook me--feeling like the girl who's giving that guy I broke up with one last chance. And boy, was I surprised.

I'm officially in love! Richelle Mead, I'm sorry I doubted the awesomeness of your books. The next three books drew me in and held me hostage. I couldn't put the damn things down and now am so annoyed that I have to wait until freaking May for the next installment. *heavy sigh*

Okay, so now for the official review...

Title: The Vampire Academy Series (Books 1-4)

Author: Richelle Mead

Genre: YA

Heat level: Hot


 Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1) ★★★

Frostbite (Vampire Academy, Book 2) ★★★★
Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, Book 3) ★★★★★
Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, Book 4) ★★★★★

Back Cover Book 1(from 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.



Things that rocked:


  • This is a different take and mythology than most vamp stories. The MC is not a vampire but a dhampir who protects the "good" vampires from the bad ones.
  • Rose is a really funny narrator. Like I mentioned it took me until the second book to warm up to her, but once I did, I really loved the character and she makes me laugh out loud at times.
  • All aspects of the plot are really engaging. Many times I find myself just hooked by the romance element of a story and not as drawn in by the external plot (think Twilight) but that is not the case with these. With all the action and kicking butt in these, I think even dudes could enjoy this series.
  • Having said the above point, the romance part of this story is epic and so worth the price of admission.
  • Each book has a solid story that never feels like filler or like she's trying to drag the series out.
  • All the main players in the stories are so well-developed. It's not often that I read a book and feel genuinely drawn in by so many different characters.
  • It's not about vampires being sexy. In fact, the MC has more interest in dating her own kind than a vamp.
  • The love interest is oh-so-yummy and not at all the stereotypical hero for a YA. He's not even a bad boy--although he is badass. :)
  • The author is not afraid to make some decisions that break the reader's heart.
  • I finished these days ago and am still thinking about the story.






Sour notes:


  • As I mentioned, the first book did not totally hook me because I didn't fully connect with Rose by the end of it. But keep reading!
  • The occasional language and love/sex scene make this more of an older teen read. Not truly a sour note for me, but something to be aware of if you're a parent.
  • Hmm, seriously, I'm having trouble thinking of others. Maybe these books are laced with crack. I'm in a post-reading high.


Favorite Quotes:


"I know how devastated you must be to miss me, but leave a message, and I'll try to ease your agony." --Adrian's phone message, Blood Promise



"Even I make mistakes." I put on my brash, overconfident face. "I know it's hard to believe--kind of surprises me myself--but I guess it has to happen. It's probably some karmic way to balance out the universe. Otherwise, it wouldn't be fair to have one person so full of awesomeness." --Rose, Shadow Kiss



"No one ever called me unnatural before, except for the time I put ketchup on a taco. But seriously, we'd been out of salsa, what else was I supposed to do?" --Rose, Blood Promise




"What's up?" I asked

"You tell me," (Christian) he said. "You were the one about ready to start making out with Adrian."

"It was an experiment," I said. "It was part of my therapy."

What the hell kind of therapy are you in?"

--Rose and Christian, Shadow Kiss




"I'd said it before: Alive or undead, the love of my life was a badass." --Rose, Blood Promise


Overall: If I haven't made it clear yet, I loved these books. They have now surpassed a lot of other YA series for me. I'm thinking this series and Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series are right at the top now. I am so thankful for the other blogger's reviews that inspired me to give the second book a try. Sometimes it pays off to be that girl who doesn't break up with a book too early.

So has anyone else read this series, what did you think? Have you ever kept reading a series even though you weren't fully hooked by book one?

**Today's Theme Song**
"Love Bites" - Def Lepard
(player in sidebar if you'd like a listen)