By Richelle Mead
332 Pages – paperback
1st in Vampire Academy Series
Summary: Rose’s one job in life is to protect her best friend Lissa, a vampire princess, from any danger, including Strigoi, evil vampires that never die. That’s what she thought she was doing when she took Lissa and ran away. However, things didn’t turn out as planned and both Lissa and Rose find themselves once again at boarding school. Once they are back, it’s not just rumours and cliques they have to face, but truths about who they are and why mysterious things have started to happen since they returned. Not everything is what it seems at the Academy and that includes Lissa.
Review: Vampire Academy is captivating from the first page. Mead does an excellent job at world building, creating a complex hierarchy of vampires that differs slightly from previous vampire legends. The novel is also well paced with a lot of action and suspense moving it forward. Even scenes that might seem to be slower provide the reader with a sense of movement and anticipation. One of the highlights is Mead’s ability at creating absorbing characters. Rose and Lissa are captivating and relatable. Even though a paranormal novel, Mead is able to normalize her characters with issues such as bullying, peer pressure and cutting. Rose has an authentic voice and this novel easily sets the stage for the rest of the series. There is also some romance for those interested. In the end it exceeded all my expectations.
Other books in the series: Frostbite (2008), Shadow Kiss (2008), Blood Promise (2009), Spirit Bound (2010) and Last Sacrifice (Dec 2010)
If you liked Vampire Academy you might also enjoy: The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, Evernight by Claudia Gray and Blue Bloods by Melissa De la Cruz
Additional Info: There is a graphic novel version and the movie rights have been sold, so expect to see Rose and Lissa on the silver screen sometime in the future.
Author website: http://www.richellemead.com/index.htm
Rating: W4/4 C4/4 P4/4 O4/4 PP3.5/4 CR1.5/4
Grade Level Interest: high J or S