Fantasy · Review

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

I wanted to read Vampire Academy because of the cheesy title, and since I had been reading a lot of the Twilight saga, and re-reading L.J. Smith’s Night World books, and reading the Night Watch quartet and Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, I wanted more vampire stuff to read. I wanted cheesy vampire teen romance. And I thought I could get it from this book. Boy, I was wrong.

When I realized that it’s not the sort of vampire story I was in the mood for, I almost gave up on it, and was going to move on to the next book (probably Un Lun Dun). But I thought I’d just read a couple of chapters and see if I’d like it anyway, and I’m glad I did! This would be the first vampire novel I’ve read that barely has humans in it. They had Dhampirs (half-vampire, half-human), but hardly any humans. It’s set in a world where there are two types of vampires – Moroi and Strigoi.

Moroi vampires are born vampires (like lamia in the Night World), are able to use elemental magic, could go out in sunlight even though they are bothered by it, are not immortal, and do not have to kill their victims when they feed. In fact, instead of hunting, the Moroi vampires have feeders, which are humans who volunteer to donate blood because they are addicted to it. Basically, the Moroi are the vege-vamps, the wimpy Disney-fied sort that the girls in cheesy vampire tales fall in love with. Strigoi vampires, on the other hand, are the vampires from horror novels. They are made vampires – Moroi could become Strigoi vampires by killing their victims, and Strigoi could make Moroi or Dhampirs into one of them. They are also stronger and faster, and immortal, and of course, evil. They can’t go out in sunlight or use magic, though, which are practically the only advantage the Moroi have over them. Dhampirs, the half-vampires, are stronger than humans without a vampire’s craving for blood. That, combined with the stronger endurance they get from their human side, made them perfect warriors. As Strigoi vampires are determined to wipe out all Moroi-kind, Dhampirs act as guardians to the Moroi.

The story revolves around two girls, Lissa and Rose, who are best friends. Lissa is a Moroi princess; Rose is her Dhampir guardian. They share an almost telepathic bond that is rare, even for vampires. Rose thought that the Strigoi were the only enemies she had to worry about, until Lissa starts to exhibit powers that seem beyond the capability of a Moroi.

I borrowed Vampire Academy from a colleague. I’m probably going to get my own copy now, as well as other books by Richelle Mead I could find. After I got over the fact that it wasn’t what I expected, I realized that it was so much better than that. I find the characters interesting and likable, and I liked how the romance is only a small part of the story. I liked that the fact that the cast were almost all vampires made the fact that they were vampires almost forgettable at times, and I especially liked that Rose is the narrator, and not Lissa. I liked Lissa, but she’s sort of a Mary Sue. Rose, with her uncontrollable temper and many faults, is just more believable, easier to sympathise with. The thing that bothers me is that Dhampirs aren’t allowed any kind of social life, and it doesn’t even bother them. For example, Rose and Dimitri have feelings for each other, but can’t get together because they’re both guardians and to love someone else means to be distracted from their guard. Moroi and even human teenagers are expected to indulge in fun and silliness, but Dhampirs are expected to be responsible all of the time, because of their positions as guardians. It’s just part of the system. I hope that (at least) Rose and Dimitri could get a happier ending in the following books!

~ originally posted on blogspot

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