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Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Complete series with 6 novels.
Genres: urban fantasy, young adult
Spinoff: Bloodlines

Blurb:

Rose Hathaway is a dhampir, destined by tradition and will to become the bodyguard and guardian to a Moroi. Bound to her best friend, Lissa Dragomir, in a very rare bond of legend, Rose knows who she is going to become guardian to. First they have to graduate high school, and in order to do that, Rose has to keep Lissa safe. Which is a bigger job than you would expect for a bunch of high schoolers who live in a boarding school in the middle of Montana.

 Reading Order:

1. Vampire Academy
2. Frostbite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
5. Spirit Bound
6. Last Sacrifice

Review:

The best thing about Vampire Academy was the people in it. The story is alright, but the people are what make it.

Rose is your classic badass lead character, who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect others. She is an angry, smartass smartmouth who is extremely flippant, but has a core of determination in her. She has so many issues. Lissa, is the sweet, kind, loveable best friend who is always the good one in the relationship. She never gets into trouble. These two characters are tied together in an unusual, unequal bond where Rose is the protector and has to protect Lissa from herself.

Rose has to protect her from herself because Lissa has problems. She has troubles controlling her emotions, she cuts herself. And the adults are only supportive up to a point. All because Lissa’s magic consumes her stability to fuel itself.

The world is also pretty dark beneath the surface. This society is incredibly fucked up. Dhampirs are brainwashed into wanting to protect the moroi, because without the moroi they would die out as a race. Rose constantly repeats the same line: They come first. The moroi won’t do anything to protect themselves from the soulless strigoi. They rely on the dhampir to die so they can live. And the politics that play out throughout the series over this topic are intense.

The relationships in this series always make me pause. Rose is one of those people that every guy just loves. The older I get, the creepier the relationship Rose has with Dimitri becomes. Dimitri is her mentor, her teacher, and now they’re dancing around each other. The worst part is, is that Dimitri knows it is wrong, he “just can’t help himself”. Plus a handful of high school crushes her own age. Then there is Adrian who is the older bad boy who is really a sweetie, who Rose just can’t seem to love as much as he needs to be loved. Plus on top of that we get a bird’s eye view of Lissa’s relationships, too.

Vampire Diaries is a young adult series that does fall prey to a lot of young adult tropes. Lot of young adult logic. They never turn to the adults for help. They always try to solve their problems themselves. They keep secrets. The plots are often solved through coincidence, and if not coincidence heavy coincidence. Yet despite this, the series does start off really strongly, until about the midway point. Then the series kind of loses its direction.

It starts with the worldbuilding slowly collapsing. The author builds more and more on top of itself, without any regard for how it fits together. Then what was a young adult tale about friendship and learning who you are to the world turns into this giant mess. More and more plotlines are just added on to keep the drama and tension high. Teenagers become the only voice of reason, which is never a strong point in a young adult series. And then on top of that the characters set themselves impossible goals to hit that you know they’re going to have to hit because what would be the point of everything.

By the end, I grew to hate almost every character in the series. I grew to dislike what was happening on the page. And then, to top it all off, the end to the book didn’t really actually end anything that was started in the series. It just kind of put a happily for now label on everything, and I’m supposed to be happy with it. But it wasn’t a conclusion to anything.

 

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