Published 2007 332 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
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. Rose 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 – inside the Academy’s iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger. 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...
Vampire Academy is the first novel in a new series aimed at Young Adult readers by Richelle Mead. Richelle is also the author of Succubus Blues and the upcoming Dark Swan fantasy series, although these books are written for a slightly older adult audience.
Vampire Academy has three types of vampire, so there is plenty of potential for supernatural thrills. The Moroi are living vampires who feed on blood and can work elemental magic. The Strigoi are undead vampires who are either Moroi who killed and become undead by choice – or there are humans, Dhampirs or Moroi who have been bitten and turned against their will. Either way the Strigoi are the strong murderously blood-thirsty immortal vampires of traditional vampire lore.
Dhampirs are the children of a Moroi vampire and a human (or another Dhampir.) They are able to go out in the day, can’t work magic and don’t feed on blood - but they are stronger and faster than both normal humans and Moroi vampires. They protect the Moroi from the Strigoi (who find Moroi blood irresistible.)
Written for the Young Adult market, Vampire Academy has a boarding school setting but this is not any ordinary school - it is St Vladimir’s Vampire Academy. St Vladimir’s Academy teaches young Moroi vampires magic and young Dhampirs combat skills and their responsibilities to guard their Moroi kin.
A boarding school that teaches magic classes may sound a lot like Hogwarts from the Harry Potter novels but there really is no comparison. At Hogwarts Harry Potter and friends learn about magic, eat giant feasts prepared by house-elves and generally have a strange innocence that manages to transcend their being teenagers. By contrast, at St Vladimir’s Academy learning about magic comes a poor second to boyfriends, girlfriends, gossip about who is doing the nasty with who, drinking and parties. Somehow I feel that Lissa and Rose are probably the more accurate portrayal of older teenagers at a mixed-gender boarding school…
Aside from the constant social intrigues that the girls must navigate, Lissa seems to be the target of some nasty “pranks” that involve dead or dying animals. The dead animals could just be someone’s idea of a joke but the nature of the “pranks” suggests that somebody at the Academy knows Lissa’s darkest secret.
Vampire Academy is an engrossing tale. Packed full of excitement and intrigue this book should have no problems keeping its teenage audience entertained. It probably has just enough romance to entertain plenty of adults too.
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