Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vampire Academy: Book 1

Summary via 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.

 Review after the jump

So I read this book with, like, every intention of not liking it. But it's so popular, all my friends have read it, they're making a movie about it, so how bad can it be? I like being trendy. Sue me. So I read it.

I hear ya sister, snooze in the romance 
The low heart rating is for the romance. Bor-ing! Snore. I mean, the dude isn't even in the book for most of it. You're supposed to like him because the boys and girls call him a 'god.' And yes, Dimitri does seem to be a BA fighter...though I can't recall actually seeing him fight. I mean in the book.
Which means, regardless if he did or not, I didn't remember it. So how BA can he really be?

Romance, Mia. Focus. Summary of their 'love': He kinds likes her, she kinda crushes on him. They have one somewhat 'hot' scene and that's it. He says it was all a spell, she believes him because she's an idiot, then the bad guy says no, he has feelings for her or the spell wouldn't work. (Trust me, I'm not giving anything away here) I am not very smart and I could see that coming from a mile away. It was a terrible romance. The age thing didn't even weird me out that much- the lack of chemistry was really the killer.

The reason this gets two hearts instead of one is that I actually did like the characters overall. From what I had heard I thought I would hate Rose. While I think her name is stupid, her character doesn't bother me. She's putting on a tough chick act, I can get behind that. She cares a lot about her friend and I like that. She's a pretty normal teenager for what she is. I don't hate her.

Dimitri...he's alright. Seriously, that's the nicest thing I can say about him. He's...meh. I like his name. I like to pretend I'm Russian while I say it...Dimitrrrrri. It's fun. Try it! He has potential to be interesting. That's about it. 

The side characters don't bother me. A lot of people hate on Lissa. I liked her. She'd be my friend. Christian is probably the best character in the book though we don't find out a lot about him. The bad guy is obvious and a terrible bad guy. Most of the students are cardboard cut outs of typical side characters but really, in a book about teenage 'vampires' what are you going to do? I didn't mind anyone, everyone was just ok. 


Mia made me read this book. She MADE me. This is what I was like when she shoved it into my hands:

And this is how I feel about it now that I've read it:

There are some high points. There are some low points. Overall, the thing is ok. It's a book. I've read it. It wasn't a complete waste of time but then again I probably would have lived a happy life never having opened the thing. So there you go. A solid 2.5 out of 5 but we don't give half stars here. 

The back story is what sells this to me and made me bump it up instead of down. I do like Mead's world. I like it for two reasons: First reason is that it is a different take on vampires. Mortal vampires. Different jobs for different levels of vampire blood. She put a little brain power into this idea and her ideas are plausible in a fantasy world. I didn't have a hard time figuring out what the different races were and they worked within her vampire world. I understood them and she gave history to back up the nature. For an entertainment YA novel I thought this was done well enough.

I also like that though it is a 'vampire academy' the focus wasn't on vampires being vampires. Really, you could take the word vampire out and still have essentially the same novel. It's a novel about high school. This could be considered by some to be a bad thing. This could be considered cashing in by Mead on the whole vampire craze. And those people would have a point. At the same time, that doesn't bother me. If you can tell me a decent story I don't care what you're cashing in on.

And that's what this is. A decent story. It's ok. I was entertained. I enjoyed learning about the world in Vampire Academy. I liked watch Rose act like a fool and have things blow up in her face. I liked when Lissa got a backbone and started manipulating students instead of just being meek like she was for the first half of the book. The book did its job. And it did it ok.

However, it was predictable. There was nothing in it, besides the history, that I haven't read before or seen on a TV show. There was nothing ground breaking. The author's prose wasn't spectacular. It wasn't bad either. I don't like a lot of purple prose (Mia: I do!) so I didn't mind the writing because it was very straightforward. The climax was pretty anticlimactic. We didn't get a romantic payoff which doesn't usually bother me but I do feel I need to point that out. The only payoff is that the bad guy is captured in the end. The end was probably the biggest "meh" of all. 
In the end you're just left with the feeling of "So that happened." You feel neither good or bad about this. You just feel...okay. Okay with it all. 

I will not be reading any more of this series. While the first was ok, it didn't leave me wanting to know any more of Rose's story. I have been introduced to the world, I like the world, but I don't need to learn anything more about it. I'm good. Thanks for sharing Ms. Mead.

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