Rose and Lissa are best friends. Lissa is one of the Moroi vampires, while Rose is a dhampir, learning to become a guardian and protect Lissa from the Strigoi, the evil vampires. Convinced that someone was out to get Lissa, the two fled St. Vladimir’s Academy, living on their own and evading capture. That only lasted so long, however, and now the girls are back at school. Sexy dhampir guardian Dimitri found the girls and while acting as guardian for Lissa, begins to train Rose to become a far better guardian than she was before. In the face of a new danger, can Rose keep Lissa safe while denying her newfound attraction for the older Dimitri?
Vampire Academy is a fun start to what appears to be a promising YA series. For once, it isn’t particularly Twilight-esque and I appreciated its originality with the two different kinds of vampires and the dhampirs as the guardians of the Moroi vampires. It’s a well done world. I always enjoy books set in boarding schools. They provide such a terrific setting with all the characters in one place, with a reason for them to be parentless, and I find that I often wish I could go there myself (Hogwarts is the best example of this). While I don’t think I want to attend St. Vladimir’s Academy, the setting worked perfectly and allowed all of the young drama to take a strong hold on the characters and their actions.
Rose is by far the strongest character in the book. She is a vibrant teenager that visibly grows over the course of the book. She is a bit promiscuous, but I like that she learned over the course of the novel how to be a better guardian and became much more of an adult. Her priorities straightened out and her development was impressive and fluid. I really liked her crush on Dimitri. I think most teenage girls have an older man that they decide they love, so it humanizes her and gives the story an interesting direction to take for the next few books. I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes. Lissa is a weaker heroine, in part because we see her only through Rose’s eyes. She seems to be loyal and kind, but it’s harder to get a grasp on her personality, although I loved her scenes with Christian when Rose was spying on them.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s great YA urban fantasy and I’m looking forward to continuing the series.
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