Cover of Vampire Academy, with a girl's face behind a big VA

About the Book

Title: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
Shadowkiss (Vampire Academy #3)
Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4)
Published: 2007
Series: Vampire Academy
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

BFF Charm: Yay
Talky Talk: Simmer Down Now
Bonus Factor: Vampires, Buffy
Relationship Status: Friends With Benefits

The Deal:

Ok, so Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, and her best friend, Lissa, is a Moroi, and Rose’s job is to protect Lissa from the Strigoi.

SAY WHAT NOW?

Ok y’all, I’ve got a lot to explain here so let me break it down for you as quickly as possible (and, as usual, no spoilers!). In the Vampire Academy series, Richelle Mead has crafted a whole new (ok, relatively new, and I’m not talking sparkly) take on vampires. Basically, there’s the good vampires, the Moroi, who don’t kill people, and the bad vampires, the Strigoi, who kill people and particularly favor taking down Moroi. Dhampirs are the guardians of the Moroi, and they are created (stay with me now) when a Moroi and a human get bizzay and have a baby. With the exception of Strigoi, who have creepy red eyes and die in the sunlight, these creatures all pass for human, but they typically choose to hole up together in places like St. Vladimir’s, a school for Dhampirs (to train them in badassery) and Moroi (to train them in their “gift” cos guess what, Moroi can also do magic! What!!!). For thousands of years, the Moroi royalty have ruled over this world, but now Strigoi are on a mission to take down not only Moroi, but the entire governing structure.

Uhh you got it?

SO back to Rose. Rose not only protects Lissa, she can also READ HER MIND. I know this shizz is crazy y’all but I swear it works. At the beginning of the series, Rose and Lissa are on the lam from St. Vlad’s but are quickly captured by a few guardians, including the SMOKING HOT Dimitri, who becomes Rose’s personal coach and mentor. While adjusting back to school life, Rose must deal with her growing megacrunch on Dimitri while struggling to help Lissa, who appears to be on a one-way trip to crazytown.

I don’t want to spoil the plot for the rest of the books, but trust me, with each book, the action gets more intense and the stakes (oh yes I went there) get higher.

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

Rose Hathaway kicks major pants, and I mean that literally. And also figuratively! Heyo! Sure, she’s a bit headstrong and most definitely impulsive, but show me a 17-year-old girl who isn’t! Her emotions, like her physicality, are powerful, and the depth of her love for and faith in Lissa knows no bounds. Rose is the kind of friend who always has your back, whether that means serving as a shoulder you can cry on or punching the resident mean girl in the face if she’s rude to you. Now THAT is the kind of skill everyone needs in a BFF.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

So, I mentioned that Dimitri is hot, right? I mean, I just wanted to make sure I conveyed his hotness. Because he’s hot. Just to be clear. FYI he is hot. HOTT. He’s also a super amazing fighter, plus he’s got that warrior stoicism that hides a warm heart, plus a Russian accent NEED I SAY MORE? MUST I CONTINUE? THE MAN IS ON FIRE WITH HOTNESS.

So Dimitri is incredibly gorgeous, and of course Rose totally falls for him. The only problem is that he has a ponytail. Which I REFUSE to acknowledge. Ok actually the only real problem is that he’s kinda older. Like, 26. And he’s her teacher. So… yeah, that’s weird. And to be honest, it took me a little while to be ok with it, cos I’m not a fan of teachers and students getting all upons each other. But you know what convinced me to accept it? That’s right. Dimitri’s hotness.

This series has got CHEM to the IS to the TRY. I feel the need to point out that Richelle Mead has written several supernatural erotic-ish adult books, so she knows how to paint a picture, you know what i’m saying? All of the books feature at least one panty melting (to borrow a phrase from Jenny) moment, plus Mead actually does a good job of building up an authentic, compelling, and extremely tortured relationship (CURSE YOU BOOK 4) between Rose and Dimitri to fill in between, you know, the sexy time.

Talky Talk: Simmer Down Now

This is the only aspect of the books that I found lacking. Mead’s style is very straightforward, and she’s great with pacing, but some of the dialogue? Yikes. Since Rose is supposed to be all sassy pants, her speech is peppered with “clever quips” that, well, aren’t that clever. I really do like Rose, but Mead tries too hard to make her “feisty” and “witty,” and the fact that I have to put those words in quotes should indicate my feelings on her success. As to the rest of the characters, some of them are more dimensional than others, but there are so many moments when the conversations feel formulaic.

Basically, I get the impression that Mead pretty much churns out these books like a one woman Carolyn Keene, and I would love to sit down with her and say, “Honey. TAKE YR TIME. Slow down and enjoy the ride! Dig deeper! And quit with the endless reminders! I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO CHRISTIAN’S PARENTS GAH!!!

Bonus Factor: Vampires

Screenshot from Interview with a Vampire, with Lestat and Louis facing off

Ok, ok, I KNOW a lot of you guys are sick of vampires by this point. I really have no idea why I’m not but… I’m not. I mean, living forever? Being sexy? Are these things you can seriously be tired of? Plus the vamps in this book are, as previously mentioned, a little bit different from yr garden varieties (Anne Rice, Twilight, etc.).

Bonus Factor: Buffy

Buffy Summers holding a bloodied knife above her head

Although nothing can be as awesome as the real thing, Rose is undoubtedly a disciple of The Slayer. She got mad skills on the battlefield, and she’s totally obsessed with an older man. There’s nothing I love more in a YA book than a kickass heroine, and Rose definitely follows in Buffy’s footsteps (esp. as the books progress LORDY I WANT TO SPOIL SOMETHING FOR YOU HERE BUT I CAN’T).

Relationship Status: Friends With Benefits

Vampire Academy and I had a lot of fun together, but it’s not like I see a future for us. I mean, when we’re together, I’m totally into it, but then after the weekend ends, I return to my normal life and don’t really think much about it (ok, except for occasional daydreams concerning Dimitri and the gym mat). This isn’t the kind of series I could ever see myself marrying, but when the next book comes out? Let’s just say I’m not above booty calls now and then.

FTC Full Disclosure: I checked out these books from the library. I received neither cocktails nor compensation in exchange for this review.

Sarah splits her time between Dallas and Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.