Review: Vampire Academy

Author Richelle Mead
Title: Vampire Academy # 1
Author: Richelle Mead
Published: in 2007 by Penguin Books
Pages: 332
Price: Rs. 399 
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 5/5!

You know, I’ve had this whole series since early November, but kept putting this one off for a time when I had lots to spare, which never came. Finally, a few days ago, too worked up to read anything ‘heavy’ and feeling like taking a break from the review books, I picked the first book and now I’m cursing myself for not having experienced its awesomeness earlier. It’s just going to be my top favourite series (after Harry Potter), I’m definitely sure. Reader alert: This book is addictive, in the sense that you wouldn’t be able to stop reading, so I suggest you read when getting lost in the book would not endanger any other vital work.

Summary of the book!
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.
Why I’m drooling over it!
A well-meaning friend once suggested that I do not write reviews right after finishing the book, as it tends to be more emotional than professional. I tried that too, it works only sometimes. For books like these, that have left me breathless, and I’m not even talking just metaphorically, it’s not possible to wait. I just-have-to-write! What’s better than sharing a book’s awesomeness?

Vampire Academy starts with a suspenseful scene, then moving on to action and life at St. Vladimir’s Academy. That’s where vampires (the Moroi) live with their guardians (or dhampirs), who're trained to save the Moroi from Strigoi, or the immortal vampires who like to kill Moroi. Now, like I had predicted, it wasn't very "bright" and "sunny" as a book and I usually get that depressing feeling with darkness. But that wasn't the case with this book. Actually, I don't think there was anything to make your mood depressing. Yes, there was some gory stuff, but it acted out well in whatever context it was written. 

I think the storyline is amazing. The sequencing seemed well planned and measured, as the story supplied the background information in parts, wherever they were necessary, but it was subtle. So much so that you can never feel bored or feel your head spinning from all the shifting from the past to the present. Like I said before, it was balanced. There are adequate surprises in the right places, which makes it harder to predict what’s going to happen next. I mean, when some character actually turns out to be someone who couldn’t dream of, it does get intriguing (and slightly scary), I have to admit. 

And oh, those characters! The first thing I noticed is that every character has a role to play. You’ll hardly come across a name in passing. Everyone has their own significance. Apart from the basic impression they give out, that of being relevant, they tend to exude an aura of “strength”. I don’t know if it is because of the impression of ‘a-school-for-vampires-and-guardians-who-attend-school-at-night’ or because of the descriptions of those characters, but you can’t find a weak one. Even though they have ‘vampiristic’ powers (don’t bother to check. I made that word up), they seem pretty much realistic and human. (Except for when they’re learning about different shape-shifters and battle techniques or whatever). Lissa, the vampire-princess is likeable in general. I just thought she seemed too vulnerable in the beginning, but that’s a part of the story. Turns out she is actually quite smart.

Rose is someone I like best, as I was able to connect so strongly to her. She’s one kickass guardian, smart, hyper-active too, deeply caring for Lissa, her best-friend-cum-charge and a knack for recklessness. I love the way romance brews between her and Dimitri Belikov (who by the way, is generally considered hot. I feel the same way, though I’d still give more points to Mason, who seems like a charming young guy!). Yes, the characters were great, the setting is enchanting, the writing style and level something close to remarkable, but I would still say the hugely addictive story, plot twists and turns, details, action, humor, heart-stopping moments of panic and surprise are what made me love the book so much! I don’t know how I am still waiting for holidays to read the rest. I just don’t want to have a break in between, I’m sure the rest of them would be as great too. 

Recommended for: Young Adult fantasy lovers, vampire story lovers (trust me, much better than Twilight), adult readers.
How to buy: Get the boxed set for the first three books in the series from Flipkart or Homeshop18 or wherever you want! It'll be cheaper and you get more books! :D