Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
by Richelle Mead
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.
Source: I borrowed a copy of this book for Kindle through my local library
I’m so conflicted about this book. I’ve been wanting to read it for ages because it’s such a popular series and now that I finally did, I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I really liked it, but I also felt frustrated by it and wanted more from it.
When I started reading the book, I had to double check that I had the first in the series because I felt like I was missing something. Rose and Lissa were on the run after escaping from the Academy, but I had no idea why. And when they return to the academy, the story moves along as if we’d been there with Rose and Lissa and before and knew who everyone was and the history of the relationships between the students and the reputation of Rose and Lissa. It took me awhile to adjust and go with the flow, but once I did, I was definitely hooked.
I thought the vampire world was interesting and unique in Vampire Academy and pretty complex. I enjoyed the world building once I got used to being thrown into the events of the story. I didn’t care for Rose’s character for the majority of the book because I found her to be petty and immature in the most inopportune moments, causing more grief than necessary. I liked her inner character, it just drove me nuts to see her do the complete opposite of what she should do in certain moments. She was incredibly catty and reckless and ridiculous most of the time. I did enjoy Rose as a narrator and I eventually liked Rose and grew to respect her and her actions as the book progressed. I really liked Dimitri’s character, but I wanted a lot more of him, especially in depth glimpses at his character and not just his looks, because I sense he is quite complex. I liked Mason and Christian because I felt they were more complex and real characters. I don’t quite know how I feel about Lissa, despite how close she and Rose were. Rose's personality overshadowed Lissa's and it seemed as if Lissa preferred it that way. The downside of having Rose as a narrator was that I only got deeper glimpses into characters when she felt like looking, which is rare. Vampire Academy was unexpectedly deep on some occasions. It dealt with a lot of issues relevant to teens and adults, such as depression, secrets, jealousy, love, self worth, rumors, death, shame, and loyalty.
Despite how irrelevant this observation is, based on the way the society is set up, I saw a pretty bleak future for Rose and it irked me that she didn’t really give much thought to it and enjoyed training to be a guardian. I suppose I wanted her to challenge the system and I never quite understood why on earth she’d be such a loyal guardian and friend, knowing how limited her options were in life. This was due to my own bias because I just have this feeling that the society is kind of messed up, even if I’m alone in that thought. It didn’t seem to bother any of the characters and I am just hoping that something will change later in the series. I suppose I wanted a conflict like that of the Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer in regards to being a part of a society that isn’t telling the whole truth. But maybe I’m completely off base or perhaps I’m picking up on later conflicts in the series. Rose was mean, rude, and held herself in high regard at times, constantly talking herself up, especially in the looks department. In her most vulnerable moment, she ruined it for me by asking if she was pretty instead of saying something a little less shallow. I hated this character flaw, but I hope that Rose's conceitedness stems from subconsciously knowing how little worth she really has in the society and it's her defense mechanism and her way of dealing with her life, so for now I am giving her character the benefit of the doubt, along with the series.
Overall, I liked the conflict in Vampire Academy. I plan on continuing the series and want to know more about the characters and their adventures. I’m intrigued by the story, but I have no idea whether I loved the book or not. For now, my thoughts depend on how the rest of the series goes and how much Rose grows as a character.