Review + Giveaway: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

February 4, 2014 Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 32 ★★★★½

Vampire AcademyVampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Published by Razorbill on August 16th 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Traded
Buy the Book
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.

Welcome to Vampire Academy week at Forever 17 Books! This week I’ll be reviewing each book in the series as well as holding a giveaway!

I wasn’t initially sure how I wanted to review this series – individually or as a whole. I think I am going to attempt individually, though there may be some overlapping flails and spoilers as I get further. And they might be on the short side, but we’ll see!

I honestly never intended to read these books back when I first heard about them. I’m not even sure why, really. Maybe I just didn’t want more vampires. But I started to see a lot of bloggers and authors I love flail about the series and the spinoff series, Bloodlines, so I became a little curious. A movie in the works was a bonus as well. So I traded with someone for the first two books, and then they sat on my shelf… When the movie trailer came out I fully admit I was not running to my shelf to pick them up either, like I had hoped and expected. If I had just that to go on and not the word of mouth going around, I honestly think I would have passed. My initial thoughts were that the movie seemed… cheesy? Like they were playing up the high school drama and character snarkiness quite a bit and well over the seriousness of the rest of what I hoped from the story. Since finishing the book I can see the trailer in a new light, though I am still unsure on the direction they might have taken the movie. A few tv spots and such have eased my mind a teeny bit since then but I’m nervous. Perhaps it is just how they are marketing it but I guess I’ll be undecided about all that until I see the final product.

ANYWAYS, on to the book. What a very pleasant surprise! I immediately clicked with our main character Rose. And yes, she is very sarcastic and snarky. She is also extremely kick-ass and unbelievably loyal. Part of what makes this such a success is how connected she is to her best friend because that is one of the main themes running its course throughout the series, friendship. Rose is a dhampir – half Moroi and half human. Just what is a Moroi you may ask? A vampire, but the good kind. They do not kill for blood, have magic in the form of an element, are mortal, and have a whole class system and society with royals and a queen. Rose’s life is dedicated to training and protecting the Moroi, especially her best friend Princess Lissa, the last member of her royal line. The two share a unique bond in their world. Rose can feel what Lissa feels and even step into her mind. What exactly does Lissa and the other Moroi need protecting from? Well primarily the evil vampires, Strigoi. They are immortal, unruly and highly dangerous, attempting to kill off the royal families the best they can.

Being caught while on the run, the girls return back to their school, St. Vladamir’s Academy. Of course since they missed quite a bit of school, Rose requires extra lessons on defense from a certain dhampir teacher, Dimitri. ASDFGHJKL! Since I am just reviewing the first book here I will try to refrain from the amount of flailing Dimitri requires for the series. In Vampire Academy Dimitri is quite the enigma. I mean obviously he is a little older than Rose, he is 24 I believe and she is 17. Not sure in normal settings this would fly with me, but for some reason the forbidden aspect of a romance between the two seemed exciting. He has a job to do that he takes seriously and he is committed to that. As is Rose. She wants to finish her training and become Lissa’s guard. Both don’t want to mess any of that up, but the chemistry between them was undeniable and I kept waiting and waiting for it to boil over! I think what I love about how things progressed between them is the pacing. If you expect a full blown romance to be established in this first book, think again. SLOW BURNNNNNN. That’s the best way to describe what you find between them. I honestly think that is what kept me so enamoured with this book.

There are numerous secondary characters that start off strong. Christian was probably my favorite of the bunch as he’s a seemingly bad boy who was ostracized by his people for the behavior of his family. He liked to push buttons and I enjoyed his chemistry with Lissa. Some of the others surprised me quite a bit… and that’s all I have to say about that without spoiling! lol

I admit that Vampire Academy is not my favorite book of the series, though I enjoyed it immensely. It does start out a bit on the slow side. And yes, it has quite a bit of the high school drama you might expect from a book that takes place at a boarding school. But it was so worth reading and sticking with. It’s a great start to a fantastic series! The plot is super interesting with a great and unique spin on the vampire folklore.

If you were like me and not impressed with the movie trailer, I implore you to still think about giving the books a chance. Yes, like I said above, some of teen drama is present, but I feel like they amped it up a bit for the movie as a way to distance itself from another popular vampire series, Twilight. This series is completely different. Twilight‘s major theme was romance and though Vampire Academy has it’s fair share of romance as well, it is spread throughout the series in a slow and even pace. Vampire Academy is so much more about friendship. And the action is amazing!





One winner will get my paperback copy of Vampire Academy! I hope if you have yet to read the book you will give the series a chance!

Giveaway Rules:

1. Giveaway is US/CAN only.
2. Must be at least 13 years old to enter.
3. Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.
4. I am not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged items.
5. Please follow the entry directions in the rafflecopter. (I do check and will delete entries that do not follow the directions. If you have any questions on how to enter, please ask!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Richelle Mead

Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She’s a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

32 Responses to “Review + Giveaway: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead”

  1. Beth F

    I have not read this series. Like you, I feel like the movie trailer doesn’t make it seem very interesting. But after reading your review I feel like I should give this series a chance now.

  2. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    VA Week!
    I wasn’t impressed with this book when I first read it. I almost put it down and it took me like a week to get through the beginning. So happy I stuck with it. I noticed this happens a lot for my favorite series. I guess the setting up of the world is boring at first when we don’t get it all yet.
    Rose & Dimitri, I <3 them!
    I looooooove their story arc and if you ever get to reread, you'll be blown away by all the foreshadowing clues that you miss the first time around.
    So excited for you to start Bloodlines. Like this one the first book starts off slow but ADRIAN!
    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted…Blog Tour: Taut by JA Huss!My Profile

  3. Vitoria

    VA Week! Finally. can’t wait for the movie, really hoping it gets a sequel we need Adrian! haha

  4. Giselle

    Ugh don’t even get me started on the movie trailer! I was ashamed to have just admitted to my friends that I loved the book when I saw the trailer start up the first time. I quickly explained how so NOT like the books it was afterwards when they all turned to me like O_o haha. Anyways I’m glad you liked it it’s such a fun series as a whole. And YES Dimitri asdgjhsgdhafsdh!!!
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Alienated by Melissa LandersMy Profile

  5. Mindy D

    This is great! Thanks so much! I actually really enjoyed the trailer because it was personable to people haven’t read the book yet. It isn’t exactly how I imagined while reading it, but it’s really not that bad.

  6. Irene

    I’ve read the whole series. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of any of the books. Thanks for holding this giveaway! I hope to see the movie soon.

  7. Jen @ YA Romantics

    Ah, Rose, how I love her. I have had HUGE disagreements with friends about the age difference thing. Usually the whole teacher/student thing bothers me, but in this case, it didn’t.
    Now you’re scaring me about the trailer. I’ve been afraid to watch it. There have been some cheesy movies based on YA books and I really really hope that VA is not one of them.
    Jen @ YA Romantics recently posted…Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing February 4-10My Profile

  8. Fatma Shahin

    haven’t read it yet but planning on watching the movie, it sounds really good!:D

  9. Ria

    Movie Trailer: Hated it!

    VA #: Loving it!

    I’m going to have to sneak away from my family this weekend to go see it! I.Cant.Wait!

  10. Lauren

    I’m glad you loved the first book, it’s been awhile since I read it and your review is making me want to go back and do a re-read. The movie trailer didn’t bother me as much as it did some people, but it’s definitely not the same tone as the book at all. Even if the movie bombs I still love this series with a fiery passion (and Bloodlines too!).
    Lauren recently posted…Book Review: Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen YangMy Profile

  11. Jen

    This is one of my favourite series.

    While the original trailer isn’t that great, but the TV spots in the last month? makes up for it 10x. I impore you guys to check them out, especially ones “The Stand”.

    Richelle and people who have seen the movie last night have said it is very faithful to the book.

    But in any case, I’d suggest checking out the book. It’s a fresh take on the vampire genre. I was hesitant at first, but was proven wrong.

  12. Cheryl Sab

    I enjoyed the series. Love Rose but still not so sure about Dimitri. I did like Christian a lot also. The movie trailer made it look KINDA funny but so cheesy. I will see it…maybe when it comes on DVD 😉

  13. Lindsay

    I’m crossing my fingers that VA follows in the Twilight, Hunger Games success and becomes the next big film franchise.

  14. Michelle Lee

    I have read the series and I loved it! Hopefully the movie turns out great and gets an awesome review! Thank you for this amazing giveaway 🙂

  15. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I just bought the ebook of Vampire Academy when it was the Kindle daily deal yesterday. I noticed that you’ve since read (and loved) the entire series as I’m typing this comment, which is great. I have always been somewhat interested in this series, but wary of the hype, which seems a bit over-the-top.
    I can’t resist a good story that focuses on female friendship, however, so I will be giving this a go. I’ll keep in mind that it’s a slower buildup at first, though.
    Great review, Sara!
    Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books recently posted…Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerMy Profile

  16. Tori S.

    Well, first off thank you so much for the giveaway and I love hearing your opinion on the series. I have read the series. I actually finished it shortly before you started them. Like you I was really Leery of another vampire franchise and the trailer left something to be desired but the books sucked me in. For me I wanna see the movie even though I don’t expect much from it just because I love to see the characters and scenes come to life. I always try to distance myself though and remember that it is an adaptation and that means things silk inevitably be differentbecause of the different medias. Anyways, I’ll end my babble here 🙂

    Tori S.

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