What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Books 1-3)

Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series has been out for a while. The first book actually came out in 2007, and the last book (of 6) came out in 2010. I think I was a little burned out on vampires when these books first came to my attention. But back in October, I read Bloodlines, which is a new series in the same world as the Vampire Academy books with different characters (though I'm told some VA characters float in and out). Well, I really enjoyed Bloodlines (see that review here), and decided to go back and read the Vampire Academy books. Since these books came out a while ago, and a lot of people have already read them, instead of doing 6 individual reviews, I'm going to review the first three together, and probably the last three together. I am going to try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, but I'll warn you if one pops up!


Book 1, Vampire Academy

Summary 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.

To begin the story, we meet Rose, a dhampir, and Lissa, her Moroi Princess best friend, who've run away from St. Vladimir's Academy for, at least in the beginning, reasons unknown. The action starts almost immediately, and before you know it you're hooked on the story. Rose and Lissa's friendship is one of those strange, almost comical relationships. They are so different that you wonder how they get along at all. At first, even, I thought Rose was so close to Lissa out of duty (a dhampir's job is to protect the Moroi). But then the more you get to know them, the more you start to understand them. Their personalities are developed and revealed slowly throughout the book, something that I'm surprised. It was easy to connect with these two even though you don't know them very well from the beginning. I liked the other characters as well, such as Christian, Mason, and Dimitri. This book sets up a plot that I could tell could go in a lot of different directions as the series progressed.


Book 2, Frostbite

Summary from Goodreads: It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...

Picking up where Vampire Academy left off, Frostbite definitely delivers some more excitement. We get to meet Rose's mom, a well-known female dhampir who was only briefly mentioned in book 1. It's easy to see, after meeting Janine Hathaway, why Rose has her own abandonment issues and is so fiercely protective of the people she cares about. I loved the direction the book took when we left St. Vladimir's for a winter break at the ski resort. You get the opportunity to meet some more characters that aren't just students, and you learn some more about how their world works, and how they (being Moroi and dhampirs) relate to one another. I learned that Rose and Lissa's relationship was unique for a Moroi/dhampir relationship and that kind of brings a new meaning to the story. There is also some really great character growth in Frostbite, particularly on Lissa's part. As she's started this new relationship, her confidence has built up slowly. She isn't around Rose as much, which means that we get to know more about who Rose is as a person, versus Lissa's guardian. There are a ton more things that you learn in this book, which made it all very exciting for me.

Book 3, Shadow Kiss

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Is Rose’s fate to kill the person she loves most? It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since Mason’s death, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She has dark flashbacks in the middle of practice, can’t concentrate in class, and has terrifying dreams about Lissa. But Rose has an even bigger secret . . . .She’s in love with Dimitri. And this time, it’s way more than a crush. Then Strigoi target the academy in the deadliest attack in Moroi history, and Dimitri is taken. Rose must protect Lissa at all costs, but keeping her best friend safe could mean losing Dimitri forever…

After everything that happened in Frostbite, it's not any surprise that Rose is a little messed up. But is it a little more than that? The Strigoi attacks are just getting worse as the novice guardians approach their graduation and are put into their field assignments. When Rose isn't assigned Lissa for her field work, it's a bit of a shock, because everyone knows about their bond and how much safer Lissa is with Rose because of that bond. But she gets to learn (and the reader alongside her) how most other Moroi/dhampir pairings work. I also liked the surprise attacks that the teachers launched, trying to train the novices in real life situations. Then when the Academy is attacked, well, let's just say this is one of the coolest battle scenes I've ever read. And then there is something that happens at the end that just left me itching to find out what's coming next.

Overall Thoughts: I'm really loving this series so far. I made myself stop after book three so I could get these three reviewed before I moved on to the last three books, or else I might start mixing the stories together. If you haven't had the chance to get into this series yet, I'd definitely say check it out. It came out a while ago, and the whole series has been published, so you won't even be left waiting to find out what happens. It's a light, fun, and addicting read that puts a new spin on vampires!

My Rating: 5 shots

4 comments:

  1. I really need to read this series. I think since by the time I became interested in it there were already 4 books out it kind of put me off. It sounds incredible, but I don't have time to read so many book in a row. I wish I did.

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    1. They actually don't take as long as you might think to read. Right now I've been using them when I need to take breaks from the other stuff I'm reading. And since the whole series has been published now, you don't have to wait to find out what happens next! Maybe someday those TBR piles will shrink a little! *pipe dreams*
      Courtney

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  2. Vampire Academy rocks!!! This was my first vampire series I ever read ha! and I loved it.

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    1. It does rock! I'm trying to get my sis to read them now! I know she'll love them!
      Courtney

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