Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Pages: 332
Genre: YA, paranormal
Series? Yes, Vampire Academy #1
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: August 16, 2007

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

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Dwarf Version

Vampire Academy blew me away with how unique and engaging it was. I was expecting cheesy romance and wannabe vampires, but instead I found more than just a love story and some vamps that are absolutely badass. Rose was perfectly snarky, yet also a well developed character. The pace and plot completely sucked me in, and I finished the book as quickly as I could. In the end, I was kicking myself for not reading this sooner, and putting up such a fit about the cover. Despite the cheesy name and awful original cover, the insides are what count – and this book is definitely worth a reread!

Supernova Version

This review was supposed to be posted on Monday, but I was surprised at the last minute by my cousins and whisked away to Big Bear for a mini-vacation! It’s definitely what I needed – and I wasn’t going to ruin it by stressing out about writing a post! Thus, this review actually earns the honor of being the very first for this blog in 2014! And it also must be started with an apology:

Veronica, you were absolutely 100% right and I will forever listen to you and stop whining about covers because you know all and you are perfect and you are the best for buying this book for me even when I was dragging my heels and then letting me borrow the rest of the series and not turning off your phone when I text you at two in the morning crying because Dimitri and you are just a flawless human being. 

I think that about covers it. And now to the review:

I shouldn’t have been such a snob about this cover. Let me explain myself: the original cover looks like it has Angelina Jolie on it – and I don’t like her so much. That’s about the only reason. So when Veronica dragged me to Barnes and Noble and bought me the version with the new cover (where Jolie look alike is barely there), I agreed to read it. AND OH MY GOD WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG??

In short, this book is my new guilty pleasure. It’s full of everything that usually makes me cringe – vampires, bad boarding school settings, cheesy titles, and overly rash protagonists. But this time it just worked. First of all: the vampires. Twilight forever scared me from vamps and the entire paranormal genre, but I’d say that VA has successfully convinced me that maybe there’s hope yet for the genre. Second: the boarding school. Other than HP, I haven’t found a book with this setting that I actually enjoy, but once again VA broke that rule! Maybe it’s because Rose was beating other people up for homework rather than talking about physics?

Speaking of Rose – loved her. She was sassy and snarky and 100% firecracker, and the best part was that she was unapologetic about it. She didn’t need approval – she was who she was and would break the femur of anyone who puts up a fuss. But in that, she’s flawed, and is far too rash and acts without thinking half the time. I think the greatest part of the book was seeing her try to grow through that. She didn’t do a complete change, since of course it’s a series and she can’t get it all done in one book, but there’s definitely some maturing going on. And I especially love how she and Lissa worked together – their bond was an interesting part of the book and a mystery that I enjoyed working out.

As for the guys (because of course while there are some kickass vamps and some awesome fight scenes and a mystery and murders and kidnappings and whatnot – we cannot forget the romance, or the hot dudes that go with it), I honestly could’t decide which I liked best. I think what sold me on the romance was that neither Rose nor her prospective partners were solely defined by their romance; they were still very unique in their own right. Between Dimitri, Mason, and Christian (who I add in because even though he’s not Rose’s love interest he certainly is mine), I just loved them all. But, I totally shipped Rose and Dimitri. Mason was a sweetheart, but there just wasn’t a spark. But Rose with Dimitri… now that’s chemistry. And Christian is just totally perfect and far too good for any of these girls. I’ll take him off their hands. For safekeeping only. Only pure intentions here.

Emma Babies

Basically, I just really liked this story, okay? I could not stop flipping the pages. Could. Not. Stop. The pace is perfect, and everything develops SO WELL. So once again I apologize to Veronica, and to all the skeptics out there:

There is hope. Ignore the title. Ignore the cover. It’s worth it.

My Final Rating:

Five Stars

14 thoughts on “Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

  1. Exactly like me! I refused to read this for so long because the name kind of bugged me but the cover completely bugged me but my friend Jade convinced me to read it, and now I’m a VA addict. Wait until you read the rest of VA and then the spin off series, Bloodlines. You will love it.

    • Ughhh that’s what I’ve heard! And I’m already in love with Adrian so I’m sure I’ll love Bloodlines. I just have the second half of Blood Promise, plus Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice, and then I’m done with VA!

  2. These books were my first vampire books, and Twilight pales in comparison. I totally agree with you about the cover, it just screams “gross vampire romance” to me and just…ugh. I think it’s the color scheme and the look on Rose’s face…well, it’s a great book anyways 🙂

    • The newest covers are much better – I just ordered the whole series 🙂 And now they’re all pretty!

      And I think it’s great that these were your first vampire books – if I had read them before Twilight I think I would have been more involved in the paranormal genre a lot sooner.

  3. So glad you enjoyed it, I am so pumped up for the movies! But now I can’t stand the movie cover editions of the books that have been released. I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the series and read the spin off series, Bloodlines, too. 🙂

    • I saw the trailer, and that’s what finally convinced me to read the books! I don’t like movie cover editions either, but I was able to get the ones without them 🙂

      I actually was just fortunate enough to have been able to buy the entire Bloodlines series for super cheap, so now I have all four books!

  4. Oh my gosh, I hate the covers too haha. They get a little bit better throughout the series, but they’re still in general pretty bad. But this series is SO GOOD! I started it in the summer and just finished in December and I loved the whole entire thing 🙂 There’s not even like one book in there that’s bad…I really, really liked them all! They were all 4-5 stars for me! Can’t wait to hear what you have to say about the rest of the series…although it starts to get really hard to write reviews of them, haha. Lots of things happen!!

    • They’ve all been four stars for me as well, but they’re edging into the five star territory I think.

      And I just hope I don’t repeat myself the whole time xD I really have nothing to complain about at all with this series!

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