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Introducing the Vampire Academy series

There are some truly cracking YA series out there, and we thought it would be great to do an irregular series of blog posts featuring fans of particular series telling you why you should be picking them up.

The first post of this kind showcases the Vampire Academy series, written by Richelle Mead. The series comprises:

1. Vampire Academy
2. Frostbite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
5. Spirit Bound
6. Last Sacrifice

First up, talking about the series we have Gabby, the teen reviewer from Chapter by Chapter.

If there’s one book series that I am completely obsessed with, it’s the Vampire Academy universe. The VA series is six novels long. Not short novels. I’m talking about nice, thick, beautifully written novels. Each book was always (and I do mean always) better than the last, and constantly left me dying for more. When I began reading the Vampire Academy novels, I had just finished reading the Twilight Saga and wanted to read something that would sate my thirst for a vampire novel and also meet my very high expectations. Vampire Academy did a whole lot more than meet my expectations, it gave me everything I wanted and so much more.

Since some readers don’t really know what VA is about… allow me to explain. Vampire Academy (VA to those diehard fans like me) is set in the modern world and seen through the eyes of main character, Rose Hathaway, who is a dhampir and has fled from St. Vladimir’s Academy to protect her best friend, and moroi princess, Vasilisa Dragomir. While on the run, the two girls are tracked down and brought back to St. Vladimir Academy and throw the reader into the dangerous vampire world where dhampir’s (the child of a moroi and dhamphir or human ) are trained to kill the dangerous evil vampires: The Strigoi.

The characters in the series always managed to blow my mind! If it wasn’t Sydney, the Alchemist, with her quirky personality then it was the romance between Rose and Dimitri. From what I’ve learned reading the entire series, it is that not all of the characters can be trusted and that some have motives that you won’t suspect until the very end. Every installment in the series was not only filled with twists and turns, but had a beginning that left readers yearning to continue and had endings that had readers begging for another novel to read.

From start to finish, the series itself formed an entire world that I think readers enjoy, finding themselves complete immersed into the stories, and the world of VA. The way in which Richelle Mead wrote the novels gives the reader the ability to see the universe through different eyes, and always managed to show the problems within the world of the prestigious moroi monarchy and the St. Vladimir Academy. While most YA readers come to Vampire Academy for the vampire lore, they end up staying for the romance and mystery that is woven into the story amazingly.

As if the entire Vampire Academy series isn’t enough, author Richelle Mead has expanded the world within anthologies and the companion series Bloodlines, where readers see the world through the eyes of the Alchemists. All in all, a breathtaking series that deserves the recognition it has in the YA community.

Next we have the inimitable Laura from SisterSpooky!

For me; Vampire Academy is one of my all time favourite paranormal YA books. It just is. I read it not long after getting back into reading and reading YA and before I had even considered blogging and I was completely sucked in. It was a fresh way of handling the vampire genre (or fresh for my eyes at least) and it was action packed. PLUS the female main character was kicking arse just as much if not more than the lads. Rose was the type of female character I could easily identify with. She was strong willed and feisty with a fantastic sarcastic sense of humour that I just loved; however, she was a broken girl inside trying to keep it together and be strong. Her main love interest is one Dimitri Belikov.

Let’s take a minute to appreciate him *shuts eyes and smiles like a crazy lady* ahhhh yes. He was older, a bit out of reach but completely on the same level as Rose. Oh how we wanted him…..I mean ROSE; oh how ROSE wanted him.

Richelle Mead is one of those authors that no matter how much I prepare myself for I am always shocked and delighted by her characters and story telling. She manages to do the Joss Whedon thing of giving with one hand and then taking away with the other. That was probably the main appeal for me of this series as a whole because I’m a big Joss Whedon fan and Vampire Academy has wonderful Buffy elements dotted all over it and is yet still original. I kept reading the whole series because I couldn’t stop myself. I even gave myself sunburn by reading half of the 5th book the day it came out in my back garden and was so engrossed I didn’t feel my shoulders sizzling!

I’d take Vampire Academy over any other YA vampire books any day. FACT. It has action, humour, thrills, mystery, horror, romance, sex, love, drama and doesn’t stop throwing the punches. I defy anyone to finish one in the series and not instantly NEED the next book straight away.

Finally, we have a great essay from Sophie of So Many Books, So Little Time:

When you first find out what Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series is about, the words ‘epic’, ‘awesome’ and ‘completely heart-rending’ don’t immediately spring to mind. But they are all that and more.

With vampire novels now, they have to have a punch of originality and a clever take on mythology to make an impression in a market drowning in them and the world that Rose lives in isn’t just brilliant in vampire novels, but one of my favourites in YA. There’s a clear hierarchy and class system of the vampires with elements of their world spilling into ours in perfect disguise. The mythology of the vampires themselves goes beyond the basics of whether they can go out in sunlight and how they feed and spills into mystical abilities and the whole organisation dedicated to clearing up their messes.

However, a beautifully crafted world means nothing if the characters don’t leap off of the page and straight into your heart and two years after the final instalment in the Vampire Academy series, Last Sacrifice, was published, Rose, Dimitri, Lissa and Adrian are still refusing to leave mine. Here’s why:

Rose: Strong, loyal, bossy, sarcastic, rebellious and one of the most kick-ass heroines out there.

Dimitri: Tall, strong, beautiful, Russian accent and the best Guardian alive. Pretty much all you need to know to fall in love with him, really. Oh, and he calls Rose Roza…

Lissa: Quiet, dignified, a little bit naive and when she really comes alive, she’s quietly strong and fiercely loyal.

Adrian: Cocky, arrogant, some addiction issues, secretly sweet and brilliantly funny. He comes into his own in the VA spin-off series, Bloodlines.

There’s not much else to say other than, read it. You won’t regret it, I promise.

There you have it!

Have you read the Vampire Academy series? If you have, why would you encourage people to pick it up?

Anyone planning on trying it now after reading the three pieces above?

(If you have any ideas for future Introducing… posts or would like to contribute, then please send an email to YA@angryrobotbooks.com)

Amanda

Comments

Julianna Scott

Oh, I LOVE the VA series! Probably my favorite ever! Love, love, love! Had Richelle Mead sign mine at the RT Convention last May! =D

Maria @ Fantasy's Ink

I love the Vampire Academy series as well as the spin-off (although I still need to read The Golden Lily). The reasons why I love this series: is one Mead is very good at making believable characters that have chemistry with one another and her world is so good because she’s put so much thought to her society – what’s accepted and what isn’t, the taboos, the three types of vampires, the moroi’s magic, the idea that it’s the duty of the dhampir to protect the moroi and so much more!

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