21) Vampire Academy

By: Richelle Mead

Date Finished: 06.23.14

by Richelle Mead

I didn’t like having reasonable arguments thrown at me.

There are traditional vampires, and then there are Moroi, who are essentially human except they drink blood, practice magic, and don’t do well in sunlight.  Dhampirs are half human/half Moroi, and have a unique set of skills; they don’t drink blood, don’t practice magic, but are supernaturally strong and fast.  As such, they are the perfect bodyguards for their Moroi cousins.  Rose is a hardcore Dhampir and Lissa is a Moroi princess.  They’ve been best friends since they met in kindergarten, and Rose will do anything to protect Lissa, even if the threats are coming from inside the school.

I know, I know, this looks like another trashy vampire book, right?  Well, maybe it is a bit silly, but it’s well crafted.  I watched the movie first, renting it on a whim when Redbox didn’t have what I wanted.  I loved it.  There were a few places where I had to pause the movie so I could laugh properly, and I watched the last scene twice.  The high school presented in this story is in the same vein as 10 Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls, and Easy A.  There are interesting characters, fun quips, and legitimate surprises along the way.

So, I needed to read the book.

The tongue-in-cheek tone of the movie comes directly from Rose’s sassy narration in the book.  Her self-aware, no prisoners attitude drives the story, and allows the sentimental moments to be even more poignant.  The concept for this book has the potential to be really kitschy, but Mead handles the subject with care.  The world is vivid, the stakes are high, and the characters are flawed, but passionate.  Who could ask for anything more?

What makes the story really work is the friendship between Rose and Lissa.  I mean, this is a Code Name Verity (British spies trapped in Nazi-occupied France) level friendship.  Rose’s impulsive nature is redeemed by her loyalty and devotion to her friend.  Lissa is far less combative, but will get her hands dirty to defend Rose’s honor.  In the midst of all the other drama, their relationship is central.

However, Rose’s romantic angst – which was practically nonexistent in the movie – muddied up the book just a touch too much.  I couldn’t bring myself to dive into the sequel right away because of it, although I do plan to continue the series whenever I need a casual read.

If you’re looking for a good laugh, I highly recommend the movie.  The book is only slightly less good, and definitely worth a read if you like the movie.

At the end of the day: For me

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