By Richelle Mead. Grade A
This is yet another vampire book for me. What I really liked about Vampire Academy is it has some different concepts altogether about vampires.
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous 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; she is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.
After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking hearts.
Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir’s–but their world is fraught with danger both inside and out of the Academy’s iron gates. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever…
There are three types of Vampires : Moroi, Strigoi and Dhampirs. Morois are mortal vampires, i.e. they can die (unlike the vampires we normally read about in series like Twilight, etc. being immortal), and they can do elemental magic, avoid too much sunlight and drink blood from humans and Dhampirs to remain strong.
Strigoi, on the other hand, are immortal vampires, i.e. they are undead,and are said to be evil.
Dhampirs are said to be half-breeds: one parent is a Moroi, while the other can either be a human or a Dhampir. They aren’t vampires themselves but are stronger than Morois and human and can survive in sunlight better than the Morois. Dhampirs usually are trained to protect the Morois from Strigoi.
Luckily for the reader, Ms. Mead explains most of the qualities of the vampires in the initial chapters of the book so it makes it easier to understand the story.
The story is narrated by Rosemarie “Rose” Hathaway, who is a Dhampir, and is bounded to her best friend, Vasilisa “Lissa” Dragomir in such a way that she can understand Lissa’s feelings and read her mind, but not vice versa. Lissa is the sole surviver of a royal family. Her parents and her brother died in a car accident. It is only after the accident she discovers that her element is Spirit, i.e. she can heal a dying person or even resurrect a dead person
The two friends are brought back to St. Vladimir’s Academy after they had been on run. One of the Guardians sent to bring back the two girls, Dimitri Belikov, sees the potential in Rose of becoming a great Guardian and offers to train her personally. As it is quite obvious, Rose starts to fall for Dimitri and soon Dimitri starts to reciprocrate her feelings, though he tries to avoid it as much as possible.
Though the idea of a school which teaches Morois how to groom and learn magic to become strong enough survive the Strigoi attacks and teaches Dhampirs combat skills to guard the Morois assigned to them with their life, it doesn’t fight into the ideal Hogwarts school. This Academy, apart from studies, is all about parties, gossip and boyfriends-girlfriends, nothing to preserve the innocence of a school.
The story basically revolves around Rose, and how she tries to deal with the her “friends” from St. Vladimir Academy while trying to protect Lissa from the pranks being played with her. The pranks are in the form of dead or dying animals which suggest that they may be a form of someone’s idea to find out Lissa’s darkest Secret. People gifted with the power to control Spirit are extremely few, especially compared to the other elements (them being Fire, Earth, Water and Air). There is a possibility that they may drive themselves crazy and become a Strigoi. Rose tries to discover the ways of protecting Lissa while at the same time tried to figure out who is behind those pranks.
Personally, I quite liked the book. It was an engrossing read, and had its share of romance, whether it was between Rose and Dimitri or between Lissa and Christian Ozera. Christian is a Moroi but is an informal outcast as his parents had willingly become Strigoi and had been killed by Guardians. This adds further layers to the plot. I would suggest Vampire Academy to not only paranormal lovers but also to all the other readers who like suspense and romance together in one book.