Pub. Date: 31 January 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Source of copy: from the publisher - Penguin Aus
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 on of them forever . . .
I just finished reading this book and I have to jump to the computer to gush about it right away. Why? Because it's so awesome. With a strong voice of narration, remarkable characters and lots of twists, Vampire Academy (VA) is not only a perfect choice for fans of vampires but also ones that might not be that interested in fangs and the likes.
If you're a bit tired of vampire-human romance and want to explore something more fun about vampires, I suggest you turn to VA. Its plot focuses mostly on vampires and how they struggle to live among so many kinds of themselves - the royal Dragomir, the evil Strigoi, the brave Dhampir. It's a very interesting and refreshing turn on stories of these creatures, thus it excites the readers.
The best thing about this book is that you don't have a feeling that you're reading about non-human beings at all, even though the characters are different and mysterious. There are not much parts about fangs, biting and blood, instead what you'll find is legends, magic, secrets of the past. Everything winds together and makes VA a captivating read. Teenagers' life in this book is portrayed perfectly too, with all the dramas, the hookups and gossip, it's almost as if you're reading a reality book, not the paranormal kind.
I bet that whoever picks up VA will either fall in love with or want to be Rose. She's such a brilliant protagonist. Even at first page, she appears utterly courageous and unbeatable. She's fun, she's fearless and she knows what she is and is not. She's not one those girls who's beautiful but thinks they're not nor too clueless to realize that her friend is head over heels with her. Rose is so real because of that, and because she has flaws just like everyone does - recklessness, stubbornness, craziness, she has it all.
Since the author has such a good way to connect Rose and Lissa, it seems that we have two female leads not one, even though their stories don't necessary involve each other every second and every minute. As a princess, Lissa isn't meek or too dependent. She has a strong side of herself and sacrifices a lot for Rose too. Their bond is envious, for real.
Oh and did I say I love Dimitri and Rose's relationship? It's another different thing that VA has. Their love is forbidden, but in a very beautiful way, not sappy one. Their age gap makes us more curious to learn about how the two will get together. And their feelings are built through various ways, mostly by fighting and learning to deal with hardships side by side so it feels very natural.
The ending is lovely. It doesn't leave us with any cliffhanger but we know that we're already looking forward to reading book 2. I consider it a success because VA will be great as a single book as much as it is as the beginning of a series.
Bottom line: this a MUST-HAVE. I don't care if you like vampires or not, get this book NOW!