Overall Rating: ☆☆☆
Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Audience: Young Adult
Narrators: Stephanie Wolf (book 1), Khristine Hvam (books 2 & 3), Emily Shaffer (books 4-6)
Publisher: Razorbill; Listening Library
Source: Library (Libby app)
Recommended for fans of: Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Content Warnings: teen drinking, smoking, drug use; self-harm; slut shaming; student-teacher romance
#1 Vampire Academy
Pub. Date: August 16, 2007
Length: 9 hours (332 pages)
Pub. Date: April 1, 2008
Length: 9 hours (327 pages)
#3 Shadow Kiss
Pub. Date: November 13, 2008
Length: 12 hours (443 pages)
4. Blood Promise
Pub. Date: August 25, 2009
Length: 13 hours (503 pages)
5. Spirit Bound
Pub. Date: May 18, 2010
Length: 13 hours (489 pages)
6. Last Sacrifice
Pub. Date: December 7, 2010
Length: 18 hours (594 pages)
BOOK ONE SYNOPSIS
ONLY A TRUE BEST FRIEND CAN PROTECT YOU FROM YOUR IMMORTAL ENEMIES…
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger… and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever…
With the resurgence in vampire lit this year, I’ve been trying to catch up on some of the popular paranormal series that I missed. Vampire Academy has been very highly rated and recommended. I think I would’ve loved this series if I had read them as a teenager when they were first published, but as an adult, these left something to be desired.
I’ll start with the good. The vampire mythology in this series is super interesting with three types of vampires: Moroi (good, living vampires with magic), Strigoi (evil, dead vampires), and dhampirs (human/vampire hybrids who serve as bodyguards for the Moroi). I loved the MC Rose. She was a bit shallow in the first book, but she is fierce, tough, passionate, and sarcastic. I also appreciate that she is strong, warrior-type MC when so many paranormal series feature a human with a male vampire. I also really like Lissa as a character and the magical bond she and rose share.
HOWEVER. This series features a student-teacher relationship as the primary romance, and I cannot get behind that. It does not matter that he was a young teacher, she was close to graduating, and by the end of the series she was no longer his student. The romance was inappropriate, illegal, and gross, and young adult books should not glorify or normalize student-teacher romances for teen readers.
While I mostly enjoyed the magic system, the adventure, the vampire politics, and the strong characters, I hated the romance, and the storyline took a few strange and convoluted detours. I also was just not interested in the petty high school drama that featured in this story. Read this if you enjoy paranormal romances and missed out on this series during your adolescence, but I do not recommend this series for young readers.