‘Vampire Academy’ by Richelle Mead

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

When Dymocks says 5-7 days, they actually mean 7, at the earliest. I lost count of how many days or years I waited for Vampire Academy. Though I can confidently say I feel much older and wiser having gone through such hardship. I read Bloodlines by Richelle Mead first – Vampire_Academywhich is actually the spin off series to Vampire Academy. I didn’t realise at the time, but when I did realise – on the first page of Bloodlines, it was already too late to turn back.

While some of Mead’s writing style is similar it pleases me immensely that she has such a different set of protagonists. Rose Hathaway is spunky and sassy and swears and sluts around. She fears no man. Really. She rarely seems to be afraid in the novel, which is what I think is missing from her character – a little more ability to be human. There were some scenes where she was getting beaten up and the way Mead told it was so passive and la de da that I wondered if perhaps she hadn’t quite grasped the calamity of the situation. Maybe I was reading it too fast.

That’s another thing. I finished this bad boy way too quickly. The story was fast paced the whole way through, which when combined with my overwhelming desire to read all the things made for an eventful evening but didn’t last me more than a night. Not to say the story was bad – it wasn’t – obvi I gave it five stars.  Though in this first novel you can really tell that Mead’s style has matured when she wrote Bloodlines. I think I will see her progress as I get further into the Vampire Academy series.

tumblr_n8xfigdBTw1sjz1mjo3_250The first thing that hit me when I read it was how angry the book fans must have been when they saw the movie. So many things the movie did was so tacky and inserted in for stupidity’s sake. But my goodness they did get one thing right – the bitchiness of St. Vladimir’s. I felt like I was right back at high school. The strangest thing was, with most
high school stories, the protagonist has an adult view tumblr_n8xfigdBTw1sjz1mjo4_250of things. Rose and her companions are actual teenagers. They plot ways to get back at people, they spread rumours and conduct evil social experiments. So many times, authors ignore the faults in their protagonists – teenage faults. I think perhaps that they don’t remember what high school was like, or they want to believe that they weren’t that way. Mead remembers. It pleases me beyond belief that she has the characters acting their age in many scenarios.

“Yeah, but did you know that her parents are practically custodians for the Drozdovs?”

The hand on my leg stopped. I’d exaggerated, but he was a sucker for gossip-and notorious for spreading it.

“Seriously?”

“Yeah. Scrubbing floors and stuff like that.”

“Huh.”

I could see the wheels turning in his dark blue eyes and had to hide a smile. The seed was planted.

(p.117, Rose and Jesse)

The darkness that is enveloping Vasilisa (great name) is completely underwhelmed in this book. tumblr_n98n6w4zSj1rkt608o3_250Rose has a habit of describing the dark moods in a way that reminds me of smoke settling through her body. Which is a great image though doesn’t fully grasp the intensity or hopelessness of it all quite the way it does for Adrian (another spirit user) when I read Bloodlines.  I wonder if anyone else had these issues when reading the books. My guess is no, because they read them in the correct order.

Besides the faults that I found in the writing style, as ever, Mead’s imagination more than makes up for it. I know that she will have already improved by the time I settle into Frostbite – it’s laying inches away from me, waiting for the exact second I post this. And I’m a writing fury right now. Must get this out while I remember!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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9 thoughts on “‘Vampire Academy’ by Richelle Mead

  1. Bec Graham

    Yay! You finally read it. (I feel like I’m stalking your blog but I love these books so much I just HAVE to talk about them.

    Rose and Sydney are two completely different characters. Thank God. Rose’s strength and Sydney’s strength are completely different but both are just as awe-inspiring. Just wait until you meet Sydney through Rose’s eyes. That’ll be how you know you’re reading the prequel to Bloodlines. I cannot wait to re-read VA.

    I WAS SO ANGRY ABOUT THE VA MOVIE! IT WAS LIKE THEY HATED THE BOOK!!! Seriously, the only things they got right were Rose and Mason. Dimitri wasn’t Dimitri enough, what was up with the Headmistress, and Lissa was not a prude. And she was not British! They got the Mia thing down, though, but goddamn they screwed up. I’m not giving money to the IndieGoGo campaign for Frostbite because I don’t want them to screw up the traumatic events of that movie. Plus, that’s the book where we meet Adrian for the first time. What if they screw up Adrian?! Like…it was as though they were parodying the books. I was so mad. What they did to City of Bones was one thing, but the VA movie took Hollywood’s disregard for the sanctity of the written word (and the fandoms attached to those words) to a whole other level.

    Rant over 🙂

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    1. Amy Wallin Post author

      It’s so promising that. Female characters can be admired for being strong and there isn’t just one way. I feared for a while that authors were going to just make the same girl over and over. But Sydney and Rose are even different to that stereotype. Sydney has no physical strength and not a lot of emotional intelligence yet she is still completely bad ass. I can’t wait to see how Rose develops over the series. I actually squealed when I realised that miss Karp and Sonja were the same person. Duh Amy!

      I thought it wAs very parody-ish as well! Are they the same people who made the first one? I just disliked so much. I didn’t like how they just slapped the cat in there, where do you come from fella! As well as a bunch of other things I must say…. If they fuck up Adrian… I just might cry.

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      1. Bec Graham

        That’s why I love Mead so much and I can overlook her little literary mistakes. She write dynamic female characters who are always different. Clare does the same thing; Clary and Isabelle? Tessa and Charlotte? Camille? Brilliant. I just hate seeing women reduced to stereotypes. Mead is great and creating actual characters.

        Haha, yeah Karp and Sonya are the same. I don’t know which books you have but Mikhail goes by a different name in a few of my VA books. I think it’s Tomas or something. I got so confused until I read a press release from Mead saying that there was a screw up at the publisher’s I totally forgot about the name change thing while reading Bloodlines though.

        Yeah, the Frostbite movie will be done by the same people who did the first VA movie. I kinda want a look at the script. I think there should always be a fan of the books on staff to make sure the movies are in the same vein as the book. Like, that any changes made are still keeping in the themes of the book, if that makes sense.

        OMG if they screw up Adrian, I’ll cry. I love Adrian (despite Silver Shadows). I honestly think the guy who plays Bash from Reign, Torrance Coombs, would be an AWESOME Adrian (do you watch Reign? It’s amazing! About Mary Queen of Scots). And they HAVE to make him have green eyes. None of this changing-them-to-blue nonsense like they did with HP and covering it up by always repeating “you have your mother’s eyes”. Adrian HAS to have green eyes.

        OK. Rant done….

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          1. Bec Graham

            All of season 1 is online PLUS season 2 starts in October. PLUS there are Aussies in it! And they pull of some pretty flawless British accents (which is odd because you’d think Scottish women would have Scottish accents but maybe they’re putting on airs because the French are, well, French?)
            Yes. Watch Reign. But keep in mind it’s basically “historical fan fiction”, as described by an article I read. Based in fact but with a LOT of poetic license. Like…fortune telling and stuff.

            Best show. I’m just terrified they’ll cut it. Like they did Star-Crossed. I am so mad Star-Crossed got cancelled. Shows like “Real Housewives” get 5+ seasons and awesome sci-fi shows based on Shakespeare get ONE because they’re too convoluted for the damn general public.

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    2. bornandread

      Completely agree – the movie was an absolute travesty! I thought Rose was pretty great, but Dimitri was TERRIBLE. Not attractive at all! I was so disappointed, and I feel like people will see that movie and assume the books are just as terrible, so they won’t bother reading them! Gah, why can’t they get these things right?!?

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      1. Bec Graham

        Rose and Mason were the only ones I felt were true to form. Lissa was a travesty, they all were travesties. And if that was how they pictured Sonya Karp, so help them. But, like, WHERE WAS EDDIE? That totally pissed me off. He plays such a huge role in the VA, especially Bloodlines, universe that his lack of a role in the very first movie is just stupid. Especially because if they DO end up making Frostbite how are they going to bring him in properly? Like, without it being contrived? Gah, stupid filmmakers. I have a theory that filmmakers make book movies look as stupid as possible because they’re jealous authors are the last remaining source of original thought.

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  2. Sierra

    I’ve been contemplating starting this series because everyone – even people whose opinions I usually trust – says that the first book is painful but the rest of the series is gold. And I feel like, having never even given it a chance, I may be missin’ out on a potential party. I think, after reading this review, I just may. Hmmm…

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