Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy Books 1-6

Vampire Academy is an ongoing series of six vampire-based fantasy/romance novels by USA Today and New York Times best-selling author, Richelle Mead. The Vampire Academy series of books include titles such as Vampire Academy (Book 1-2007); Frostbite (Book 2-2008); Shadow Kiss (Book 3-2008); Blood Promise (Book 4-2009); Spirit Bound (Book 5-May, 2010) and Book 6 with a to-be-determined title scheduled for release in December 2010.

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. Rosemarie “Rose” Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Vasilisa “Lissa” Dragomir, a Moroi Vampire Princess.

They’ve been on the run for two years following a horrible incident, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s, a large castle hidden in the deep forests of Montana, the very place where they’re most in danger. Rose and Lissa each 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.

Vampire Academy Books

Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy (book 1) introduces guardian-in-training Rose Hathaway, her training teacher Dimitri Belikov, her best friend Vasilisa Dragomir, and Lissa’s new boyfriend Christian Ozera. Rose is 17, a student at St. Vladimir, extremely opinionated, and very tough! Dimitri is in his mid-twenties, from a small town in Russia, the assigned guardian to Lissa, and a school-wide guardian at St. Vladimir’s.

Lissa is 17, a moroi, royal, the last in her bloodline, and is currently waiting to see what magic she’s specialized in. Christian is a moroi, 17, a fire-user, an only child, and a St. Vladimir social-reject. Dimitri is assigned to train Rose to prepare her for the Senior Year Field Exam. But as Rose’s training gets underway, Lissa starts to worry about things, and finds she’s falling for bad-boy Christian Ozera.

Although Christian can help keep Lissa mentally stable, it is Rose and Dimitri’s job to keep Lissa physically stable. So when Rose gets shot with fear after running 12 miles with Dimitri, she runs even more to see what has traumatized Lissa. After 30 minutes of having to calm Lissa down, Rose, Lissa and Dimitri stuff themselves inside Lissa’s room to reveal a fox with its throat cut open, lying on Lissa’s pillow. With Rose burning with anger, she wins her first fight in class and suspects a fellow student, Mia, of killing the fox.

When students start antagonizing Rose and Lissa about the fox, one of the taunters, Ralf Sarcozy, finds himself on fire in the middle of class. After all possible fire-users are considered, it’s discovered that it is lonely Christian who performed the offensive magic. As a way of trying to figure out what’s going on between Lissa and Christian behind closed doors, Rose meditates and is able to “get into” Lissa’s head.

Afterward, Rose has a little run-in with male-royal, Jesse. As a way of getting back at Mia for some issues, Rose starts telling rumors to Jesse about Mia’s family. Right when things start getting heated and intense between Rose and Jesse, Dimitri walks in and threatens Jesse about Rose. After an outburst from Rose, a training session the next day, and a few “romantic” moments between Dimitri and Rose, it was time to get ready for Queen Tatiana to visit the school.

Once the excitement dies down, and Rose has an almost-fight with Mia, Rose finds it difficult to sleep. When Rose goes to talk to Dimitri, they find Lissa in her bathroom with a butchered rabbit in the trash. After the hall matron gets worked up, they discover a note was left for Lissa, threatening her “identity”.

As classmates start up with their comments about Rose and Lissa again, Lissa has finally had enough and starts taking things into her own hands. After a few days go by with romance continuing between Rose and Dimitri, and a few other exciting and interesting things unfold, Rose finds out she’s going on a shopping trip! But when Lissa tries to pull out a pair of shoes to show Rose, not only are there shoes in the bag, but a dead dove as well.

After everything gets cleaned up, Rose discovers that this shopping trip actually serves another purpose: she’s to be Dimitri’s partner in guarding Lissa to help Rose prepare for the future. While Rose is shopping with Lissa, they come across a rose-shaped necklace that happens to be too expensive. Once everyone gets back to the school, Rose breaks her ankle on a rotted bench, and has to be rushed to the clinic.

Although Dimitri finds Lissa passed out from cut wounds on her wrists, Lissa decides she wants to be on her own for a little while. At a school dance, Rose’s friend Mason gets Ralf and Jesse to reveal how some sex rumors got started. Also, Rose has a run-in with Mia which ends in Mia screaming with a bloody face, and a broken nose. After Rose finds herself under a spell, from a necklace, Lissa gets abducted by Viktor and his Strigoi-turned niece, Natalie.

Vampire Academy Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy has an interesting relationship between the characters, in my opinion. Rose and Lissa are bonded, so Rose will always know how Lissa is feeling, and what she’s thinking. Good-girl Lissa falls for bad-boy Christian, proving that opposites attract. And teenage-rebel Rose develops feelings for older, self-controlled Dimitri Belikov.

I love that Rose has a mind of her own. She’s not falling, stupidly, in love with someone just because of what they are, like Bella does in Twilight. She’s a typical teenager having feelings of attraction for someone she knows she’s not supposed to. She’s not some prissy girl who’s scared of everything. She’s down to fight and will instigate it; even if it’s between animals and not “humans”. What I like about Lissa, is that even though she’s supposed to be the more self-controlled and reserved one between Lissa and Rose, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty either!

These characters are so much more realistic and well-thought out than some books I’ve read. You have typical teenagers talking smack, girls trying to ruin each other’s reputations, jealousy over popularity, people spreading rumors, etc. Richelle Mead does a fabulous job of telling a story based on fantasy, but keeping it somewhat realistic too.

One thing that helps a lot is, since Rose is bonded to Lissa, Rose needs to literally see what Lissa sees. Richelle sets up the transition so well that you know when points of view are going to change between Rose and Lissa, then back again. There may be a couple confusing parts to when the point of view is changing from Lissa to Rose, but not many.

The only parts of the book that I was getting pretty confused about, was when Richelle does her flashbacks. Instead of using 15 chapters to tell a story and then continue it, Richelle just flashes back to an event that happened between Rose, Lissa, and a teacher; it’s the whole reason for the story, basically.

In one chapter, Rose is sitting in class, and something triggers a flashback. Somehow you go from Rose in a classroom, to 3 people freaking out in a random location. So I had to reread the page to figure out what was going on. But it’s definitely not like you’re totally lost and have no idea what’s going on. Sometimes you know you’re in a flashback, sometimes you get confused, but the confusion is definitely worth reading this book!

It is an INCREDIBLE book, and I’ve already recommended this one to the Co-Owner of the Hush, Hush fansite, Rebecca. It’s not the generic story of vampires and all that nonsense. Richelle keeps to some old parts, but adds some new, and some in-betweens. She keeps to the undead, vampire-staking and no sunlight: Strigoi, but adds the idea of “living” vampires, who wield magic, and who die like a human would: Moroi. She also brings back the idea of Dhampirs: half-vampire, half-human. Only, instead of the Dhampirs killing other vampires, they GUARD the Moroi from the Strigoi.

Vampire Academy is amazingly well-thought out, and I love this book so much I feel like I’m giving too much away! You won’t be disappointed with the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead like with some other Vampire books!

Guest post review written and submitted by Heather P. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow Heather P and engage with her and fellow Vampire Academy fans, Hush, Hush and Twilight book fans.

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