Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Whole New World of Vampires

Vampire Academy A Novel by Richelle Mead

Wow, where to begin with this one. Hmm, well it does suck you in (no pun intended). We are thrown into a very unfamiliar vampire world right away without much explanation. Basically, there are two types of vampires the living and the dead. The living are the Moroi who have guardians to protect them, they do need blood but also can eat food, they can tolerate a little sunlight and are born. The Strigoi are undead, feed only on blood (of any being including Moroi), have to be made, and die in sunlight. There is a war between the two groups or more accurately the Strigoi are killing off the Moroi. Our heroine, Rose, is a guardian in training to a Moroi princess Lissa. Oh, and Rose is half human and half vampire, a dhampir (stronger and faster than a human but no blood lust). The girls have a connection to one another that allows Rose to feel what Lissa is feeling and even occasionally see things through her eyes, something that neither of the girls understand as it is extremely rare in the vampire world. We meet our two main characters as they are captured and brought back to St. Vladamir's Academy in Montana, a school that trains vampires and their guardians. Enter all the angst, drama, embarrassment, self doubt, and drama that is high school. This book goes back and forth between the petty and awful things high school students do to one another and a mystery and danger that surrounds Lissa. Lissa starts to become unstable, she realizes she has the power to heal and to make anyone do what she wants but as she uses the power her mind becomes increasingly dark. Is there a real threat to Lissa other than herself? Can Rose help to solve the mystery of Lissa's powers before it destroys her friend?

This was a very good book. It draws you in right away and I feel that I am not doing it justice in my summary. There is so much to take in that every detail seems important. I liked the way the author led us along through the mystery of Lissa's condition until at the end all is revealed. The character development continues throughout the book and we get to see our two main characters grow and struggle with their own natures. This is an edgier Young Adult book and I would not recommend for young teens but for the older ones I think this is a great read. There is romance that comes into the story for both girls in very different ways. It was often painful reading the different situations they get themselves into, remembering those feelings I think everyone had in high school. This is a series of about six books and I cannot wait to go to the library tomorrow to get the next one. My main concern is that the library will be closed due to the impending snow storm and I will have to wait until Thursday.

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