Author: Richelle Mead
Release date: UK May 2009/ US 2007
Genre: Vampire fiction / Paranormal / Urban Fantasy
Target audience: 12+
Summary from Amazon:
St Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school - hidden away, it's a 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 where the girls must survive a world of forbidden romances, a ruthless social scene and terrifying night time rituals. But most of all, staying alive.
Vampire Academy was certainly a book that lived up to its reputation. If you are only going to read one vampire series, I am confident enough after reading the first book to tell you now, it should be this one.
Rose is a dhampir. Lissa is a Moroi. They are best friends and they both go to St Vladimir's Academy. A boarding school for those that are gifted through their ancestry. Dhampirs are guardians of the Moroi. They are incredibly strong and fast. Moroi are vampires who can work elemental magic. The Moroi are a moral race. They only feed on willing volunteers and do not drain them of their blood only taking what they need. But there is another race --the Strigoi-- who have taken the path into darkness. They are immortal beings filled with blood lust, rage and murderous intentions. A Moroi can choose to become a Strigoi but it is a choice that has a heavy price.
Rose is a strong female lead and in every sense embodies the term heroine. She is one of the few female novices in training to be a guardian. She is as strong if not stronger than any of her male novice friends and is constantly motivated by her need to protect Lissa. Rose is perhaps not quite a name that suits her considering she is as far from a shy, retiring flower as you can get. Lissa's full name is Vasilisa Dragomir. She is descended from royal blood. The Dragomirs are one of the 12 Royal families of the Moroi.
St Vladimir's Academy harks back to many gothic traditions. The novel itself has a very gothic feeling which combined with a cast of contemporary teen characters makes it great addictive reading. I read this in two days. I really didn't want to put it down to go to sleep and found myself waking up in the middle of the night thinking about the dhampirs and the Moroi. Is there some significance that Richelle Mead does not give dhampir a capital letter? I think there may be. They dedicate their lives to protecting the Moroi and yet in many ways they are treated as second class citizens. I'm itching to see how this power will shift throughout the series.
I have to mention the male lead in this book. I can absolutely see why everyone mentions Dimitri. I feel I can now get the Dimitri badge for my collection. He was so dreamy and I love that he treated Rose with respect. I loved the way Richelle portrayed their mentor mentee relationship.
I need to get my hands on the second book as soon as possible. I really do. I can't believe it has taken me this long to read this book. Goodbye House of Night and Morganville. Hello Vampire Academy. This is quality, addictive plotting and excellent characterisation. Thank you Richelle Mead. I have found a vampire series that I'm not ashamed to obsess over. I definitely recommend it!
Books in the series:
Spirit Bound was just recently released on May 18th.
Here is the blurb for all of you who have finished reading Blood Promise. I'm pretty sure the Spirit Bound blurb has spoilers for earlier books so look away now if you've not read the other books yet.