Title: Vampire Academy (first in the series)
Author: Richelle Mead (her website)
Release: August 2007
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires--the ones who never die.
The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir; she is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.
After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking hearts.
Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's--but their world is fraught with danger both inside and out of the Academy's iron gates. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever...
In my first order of business, I would like to say: I loved every second of this book. Who cares if vampire novels are burnt out? This book will have you take a different view on the whole "oh, look another vampire book" thought that's probably, most likely running through your brain at this very moment. Richelle Mead takes alot of what you think about vampires and throws it out the window (and I mean that in the most positive and honest way I can). I've heard of evil vampires and half vampires and half vampires that kill the evil vampires... well and to be honest we have all heard of "good" vampires (coughTwilightcough). But all at the same time? With awesome elemental powers or the good ones? Raise your hand if you have heard of that, because I haven't. It's good to see some more original vampire stories for once. Speaking of originality, I love the government set up she created for the moroi with the royals and the dhampir being guardians that keep the moroi safe from strigoi.
Now, moving on to characters. Rose Hathaway: a sarcastic, flirty, funny, smart-mouthed dhampir teen who, despite her wild nature, will let no harm come to her best friend. I think what i like most about Rose, other than her extremely sarcastic wit, is how strong she is. And not just physically. She could face down accusations and humiliation without shedding a tear in public and she knows how to push everything aside for Lissa. Speaking of Lissa... I like Lissa's character, despite her many weaknesses. She's kind, caring, sweet and charismatic, but looks are deceiving. Underneath all that adorable mask, Lissa is scared and unstable. Also, she, like Rose, will make sure nothing harms her best friend, and if someone does... well, let's just say you don't want to do that.
Then there's Dimitri and Christian... well, I'll leave that to you to discover more about them.
Again, moving on. The story line was exciting from beginning to end, you always had something to keep you entertained, whether it be, romance, drama, action, jealousy, sarcastic remarks, or evil interference. Those aspects were nearly always there. I bet your wondering, "Evil interference? What?", well I won't spoil that for anyone. All you need to know is someone/thing is after Lissa. And it's not till the end that you discover how, why and to what extent they will go to just to get her.
So, if by now you haven't picked up on how much I love this book, i'll say it one more time. Vampire Academy is bomb! I would definitely recommend this book to any YA reader, actually, if I had a Must Read List to hand out to people, this would be on the top. In fact... I might just do that, at lesast once I get more entires and stuff on this blog.
Anyway, remember, vampires are not all what you think :). I am sure this book will captivate many of you so don't be hesitante in reading it, you won't regret it.
P.S. my Twilight comment above was not meant to be a bad thing, all you Twilight fans, I happened to be a Twilight fan and I am proud!