Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy Book Cover Vampire Academy
Richelle Mead

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Review:

Oh, Vampire Academy, I had such high hopes for you. I read such great things about your characters and your plot that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on you, but once I did…you were a big, fat, letdown.

I just didn’t find this book entertaining. I had a hard time making it through to the end, and the only thing that kept me from giving up on it was an absurd hope that it would miraculously becoming interesting at the end. Unfortunately, it didn’t. The plot was anticlimactic, and I can’t say I was really interested in any of the characters. Rose, the protagonist, is the only person in the book who has any spunk, but she’s a bit too abrasive for me to find likeable.

In addition to the utter lack of excitement, another problem I had with Vampire Academy was that I didn’t find it very convincing. I was unclear on the “rules” of the vampire world. For example, the vampire teenagers drink alcohol at parties, so does this mean they’re also able to eat regular food in addition to drinking blood? And why on earth do the students who are training to become vampire bodyguards study such ridiculous subjects? “Bodyguard Theory and Personal Protection” makes sense, but “Slavic Art” and “Animal Behavior and Physiology?” Really?

I also had a hard time buying into the strength of Lissa and Rose’s friendship. Lissa comes off as weak and bland, and Rose has the opposite problem of being snarky and arrogant; I just couldn’t understand what they see in each other. I suppose that their bond could be partially explained by the fact that they have a long history together, what with it being Rose’s duty to protect and defend Lissa. Still, I’m not convinced that this would add up to the unwavering love and devotion the two of them supposedly feel for one another. Loyalty is one thing; deep and abiding friendship is another entirely.

There are a few positives about this book. There are some humorous scenes that I appreciated, especially the witty banter between Rose and her male classmates. I also enjoyed a certain steamy scene that comes toward the end of the novel. Otherwise, though, I was definitely unimpressed.

I’ve heard that Vampire Academy is the weak link in this series and that the books get progressively better as they go on. I guess I’ll never know for sure, though, as I have no intentions of reading the next installment. If Mead didn’t thrill me with book number one, why should I trust her to do so with book number two?

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