[BEWARE, SPOILERS FOLLOW FROM THIS POINT ON. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.]
So lately I have been reading the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead currently in fact I am reading Spirit Bound. Vampire Academy is a huge book series for anyone with more than a passing interest in YA novels. It is the kind of book you see on display in bookstores like WH Smith that will maybe have all of one shelf and an end display for children’s reading combined with YA but for some reason it never appealed to me. I put at least some of it down to the fact that all the Twilight hype started kicking off and I was loathe to just assume that another vampire book would be as good and it also comes off as very girly after a browse through of the back cover.
Strangely enough I first came to an incredibly similar series called House of Night which as far as I can see doesn’t quite have the reputation that VA does but it easily as good or even better a read but that is a discussion for another time.
So here is a quick review of the books so far in the series up to Blood Promise.
The first book reads like a blur there is so much going on it becomes quite difficult to keep up. Although now I am sure a lot of you guys are questioning my reading age I am just giving my opinion. The things that left me feeling a little bit lost was the constant movement back and forth from before running away and back to the present aftermath of the capture. There just seemed to be a lot of things to absorb, while it was still entertaining that part of it was a little annoying. Rose is somewhat likeable though the whole dedicated to Lissa and being the number one party girl thing did start to jar with me a little, it felt like she was incapable of noticing how she acting.
The book itself is exciting even with all the baggage of being the first in the series and having to lay down so much background and the romantic stuff doesn’t suffocate the rest of the story from moving on.
3 out of 5 stars. A Solid Opening.
Frostbite, the second in the Vampire Academy series is a big step up from the first not suffering from the limitations of having to fill in too much back story as a result the action kicks off and instantly you find yourself eager for the next page or chapter. The change of scenery worked well too and the interaction between the characters made you begin to care for the other supporting characters in a way I didn’t in the first book. Adrian is an interesting character and instantly makes you like him despite his vices.
The second part of the story is compelling and leaves the pulse pounding you just know something bad has to happen when they are left in that situation and it is truly heartbreaking when it does come to pass. Rose’s near obsession with Dimitri is to me hardly worth mentioning at this point, we all knew from the first book that this was the main romantic story of the series and sometimes it gets a bit repetitive to hear her whine about why her love life is a mess. For me Frostbite is where Vampire Academy truly gets started.
4 out of 5 stars. An Excellent Read.
Shadow Kiss deals with the aftermath of the death of Rose’s friend and would be romantic interest. It doesn’t stop there though as it delves into the further implications of being a shadow kissed guardian. There is further political intrigue in small part due to the upcoming trial but mainly the attempt by royal Moroi on campus to organise themselves which leads to a very tragic if unexpected outcome.
Rose spends the book doubting her sanity and reeling from her grief at the loss of Mason with so many things left unsaid between them. The Spirit bond and the issue of darkness rears its head as first Lissa then Rose lose control of the dark emotions that using Spirit can create after Lissa is tortured by her classmates eager to make use of her power to compel. The result of this is the consummation of the relationship between Lissa and Dimitri something most readers will have been waiting around to see happen me I’m still a little put off by the difference in age.
There is then a huge battle with the Strogoi and another inevitable tragedy as the prophecy comes true as Dimitri falls in battle and it is later confirmed he has been ‘awakened’.
3 out of 5 still an enjoyable read but not the height of excitement that Frostbite was.
Ok this one is weird and takes the series in an entirely different direction. Rose attempts to burn all her bridges as she leaves the Academy to kill her lover as part of a promise she felt she made once to him. It feels at first reading through the book like you have fallen into another series but an interesting one nonetheless. Though Rose does wallow a bit which can become a bit annoying the first part of the book is interesting especially with the reference to the landscape and cityscape of Russia.
The new character is interesting I do hope we see more of her in the future though at first this whole human side of the hidden world of vampires jarred with me a bit I just thought maybe a little background could have been laid beforehand but that is just me and it is not all that important.
The parallel story back at the Academy is also interesting even if you only slip in and out of it briefly. It comes with one hell of a twist though that stretches the realms of possibility somewhat.
And here we come to the low point of the story Rose’s imprisonment for me it just dragged on and on for hours and it was just... boring. The escape was handled well and the drug addict storyline had some interest in it but things just stretched on and on.
3 out of 5 stars but a low 3 due to that whole imprisonment thing it nearly ruined the book for me.
And there we come to the end of my small report on the Vampire Academy series books 1-4.