It’s easy to indulge in a television boxset. You have the option to multitask when and if you want to. With books however, multitasking is a luxury you can’t have. You have to fully invest and do nothing else when you’re reading. It’s no wonder, then, that I struggle to get into series. I usually read the first book and then put the rest of the series on my TBR pile, never to be touched again. Every once in a while, a Young Adult Fantasy series will come around that pulls me in and refuses to let me go. This was the case with both Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series and Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy. Recently, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series joined that list too.
A writer friend of mine, Hannah, had recommended the movie. She described it as ‘so terrible it’s good’ and I raised my eyebrow at her when she made me promise to watch it. I watched it that weekend as I ticked admin tasks off my To Do List. Hannah had been right: there was something about the movie that was so incredibly ridiculous, but it was also SO good! And Rose and Dimitri? I was smitten! I was so desperate to find out what happened between them that I did something I rarely do and bought the entire book series, in one Amazon order!
I was rushed into hospital the morning they arrived (for more on that click here). Deciding that I would need something to keep me entertained while sitting in a waiting room bored to death, I grabbed the first in the series. I was glued from the very first page. Even bouncing between countless meetings with various doctors, I finished Vampire Academy in that waiting room. Hannah was right. The book was way better than the film and I was quite happy to pick up the second, Frostbite, right away, despite the fact that I was exhausted. Thankfully (there really is a silver lining to everything!) I was put on bed rest for the following few weeks and I finished the entire series within the first five days, although I did go immediately into Vampire Academy withdrawal for the rest of the month.
The books deal with three races of vampire: Moroi, who are good vampires that can tolerate sunlight, have magical elemental powers and don’t kill when they feed; Strigoi, who are evil vampires that kill when feed and bur in the sunlight; and Dhampir, half-vampire half-humans that become guardians of the Moroi, protecting them from Strigoi. Our main characters are Lissa, a Moroi Princess, and Rose, her Damphir guardian. They share a ‘bond’ that allows Rose to feel what Lissa’s feeling and see through her eyes.
While their shared storyline of Rose protecting Lissa from those that want to do her harm runs throughout all six books, there are also a number of individual storylines: Rose’s relationship with her mother and finding out about her absent father; Lissa dealing with the death of her family and her new unconventional boyfriend; and, my personal favourite, Rose’s affair with her teacher, Dimitri (both of whom are two of the greatest characters in Young Adult literature to date, in my opinion).
With such series as Twilight and The Vampire Diaries, I was pretty positive that Teenage Vampire Fiction was so close to being done to death that there wouldn’t be anything fresh and exciting in the genre. Vampire Academy blew me away and proved me wrong. The narrative for all six books was well developed, the storylines complex but still easy enough to follow and the character arcs were brilliant. The plot was so addictive, the twists so shocking, that I was completely and utterly hooked from start to finish. Definitely a must read for all fans of Young Adult Fiction!