The Vampire Academy series (1-6) by Richelle Mead.
This book (series) is: marvelously entertaining.
Other elements: ass-kicking ladies, vampires, world-saving, star crossed lovers, misunderstood teenagers, political plots.
Read it: if you like the idea of a sassy supernatural teenage heroine who is good at beating people up.
Overall rating: 7.5/10
This is a review for 6 books of The Vampire Academy Series all at once, both because I read them in less than a week and they melded together and because I have the same primary things to say about all of them.
I’m feeling a surprisingly strong urge to apologize for liking this series or justify the fact that I liked them, but I’m trying to resist because I firmly believe you should never apologize for what you enjoy reading. And I really did enjoy these.
I picked up the first book because I had to undergo an unpleasant minor medical procedure and I wanted some brain candy to cheer myself up. Next thing I knew, I had bought all 6 and was plowing through them.
The world has an interesting premise: our main character, Rose, is a teenager in the hidden world of the Moroi – which are basically good vampires. Rose is a Dhampir: a member of a half-vampire race who is expected to dedicate her life to protecting the full blooded Moroi she is assigned to. Then there are Strigoi: the bad vampires, who Rose is supposed to defend her Moroi against.
The main characters are all teenagers who spend the majority of the first few books at boarding school, so there’s lots of (highly entertaining) hormonally-fueled drama. Parts of the at-school books feel a little like Gossip Girl but with fangs.
The heroine, Rose, is a fun character. She’s sassy, impulsive, and conventionally beautiful, but she’s also very strong and trained in physical combat. I wish the books emphasized her beauty a little bit less, but you know I love a heroine who can punch her enemies in the face. She’s no Bella Swan, sitting around waiting for life to happen to her.* Rose makes things happen.
My least favorite part of these books is the fact that Mead felt the need to make every single one of the main characters remarkably beautiful. My feminist sensibilities were pleased by both the physical power and assertiveness of the main female character (main characters, really) but annoyed that there didn’t seem to be anyone in this universe who didn’t look like a supermodel.
That said: I still had a great time reading these. The romance started to feel a little representative, but that’s probably because I read all 6 books in 7 days and there’s only so many times to make the lovers star-crossed and then happy and then star-crossed and then happy again. Still, I read them all and I’ll probably reread them. Hopefully while on a beach.
* It’s okay if you love Twilight. I don’t. But I do love the Vampire Academy series!