Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Narrated by: Stephanie Wolf
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin Audio
Publication Date: 2007
Length: 332 pages/8 hours 55 minutes
Series?: Vampire Academy #1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: Audio Book
Source: Purchased from Audible.com
Let it be known: I do not like vampire books. But the world is full of gray areas and exceptions to rules. Vampire Academy is the exception to the rule. Everyone’s always telling me I’ll like it, that it’s different, and they are right. This ain’t Twilight.
When I read summaries of vampire books, they are full of all these made up words and names. So let me try to explain the set-up in plain English. There are three kinds of characters here: undead vampires (Strigoi), living vampires (Moroi), and Dhampirs (half-vampire, half-human). The Strigoi are the bad guys. Dhampirs and Moroi go to school together, with the Dhampirs learning how to be Guardians to protect the Moroi (they are like royalty).
To those of you who like vampire stuff, that may all sound quite normal. To me, the Goodreads blurb sounds like Chinese.
Anyways, Rose is a Dhampir attending St. Vladimir’s Academy with her BFF, Lissa. Lissa is a Moroi princess, and Rose is training to be Lissa’s Guardian. Rose and Lissa are, like, SUPER BFF’s. Seriously. I almost thought this was going to be a lesbian novel because these two are that close. Rose can read Lissa’s feelings. Lissa feeds on Rose when they run away for two years, which is a very erotic experience for Rose. And by feeding, I mean Lissa sucks Rose’s blood from her neck. But no. Rose’s real love interest is her Guardian training partner, Dmitri. He’s TWENTY FOUR. But that doesn’t stop the googly eyes from happening for the whole book.
Vampire Academy is a series, so we’ve got story arc for the series developing. But the plot for this book is really about who is leaving dead animals all over St. Vladimir’s, obviously trying to send a message to Rose/Lissa. Rose is trying to figure out why she and Lissa seem so special (both have powers that aren’t *typical* of Moroi and Dhampirs). And there is good amount of googly eyes/kissing/almost-sex going on. Like I said, this ain’t Twilight. Rose is not afraid of her sexuality/sensuality.
For a vampire book, it was pretty good. Nothing was ridiculous. Rose is a cool kid. Dmitri makes a sexy book boyfriend…even if he is TWENTY FOUR. Can I say that enough times? He’s TWENTY FOUR. He is HER TEACHER. Gah. Between this and Pretty Little Liars I hope YA lit isn’t teaching high school girls that real love is, in fact, possible with their TWENTY FOUR year old teachers.
My only issue with the audiobook, as with most YA audiobooks, is that the narrator does not sound like a sixteen-year-old girl. I know Rose is mature, but she sounds like she’s in her thirties. This may be a combination of the writing and the narration, to be honest. Along those same lines, Wolf’s Russian accent for Dmitri makes him sound like a middle aged man. I spent time with Russian boys around Dmitri’s age (25) this summer, and they do not sound like that. At. All. So it made the whole romance thing even more confusing and weird. Otherwise, the audio is fine — fast enough that I didn’t have to speed it up, and entertaining.
Final Grade: B
Y’all were right. This is good stuff. I will be reading the rest of the series. It was a fast, easy read and the vampire business was more interesting than I thought. And I’m just going to pretend Dmitri isn’t TWENTY FOUR and root for these two…when I’m not rooting for Rosa and Lissa to make out, of course. I’d recommend Vampire Academy to anyone afraid of vampire books., anyone who loves vampire books, and anyone who wants to see the movie coming out in February 2014! Because it will be a movie, high school and public librarians should take note and order extra copies in preparation (get the whole series!). I had it in my middle school library, but there is a high level of sexual activity discussed in the book.
How do you feel about vampire books? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em?