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Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

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Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead
Young Adult, Vampires
Paperback (RAZORBILL, 332 pages, $8.99)
ISBN# 159514174X
Released: August 2007 (Reviewed: May 2008)
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.
Author Site:

Welcome to St. Vladimir's Academy (4 stars)

Younger fans of the vampire genre, and even adult fans, this is a new series you should check out. Welcome to a world where the good vampires, Moroi, need their half-blood cousins, Dhampir, for protection. Their children train at academies like St. Vladimir's, preparing Dhampir for the fight against Strigoi, the bad vampires. Moroi are not completely helpless, as they possess four schools of magic--air, earth, fire and water--but these are strickly for non-offensive uses. The Dhampir are heartier and stronger, their human side keeping them from needing blood to survive. But Strigoi hunt their kin, having a special taste for Moroi blood but an inability to tolerate any sunlight or use magics.

Vampire Academy introduces us to Rose Hathaway, Dhampir and guardian trainee. She and her best friend Lissa Dragomir, a Moroi princess and last of her family bloodline, have run away from St. Vladimir's after strange events lead them to believe Lissa is in danger. For two years they have run, hiding among humans and their time has run out. Brought back to St. Vlad's the two friends must deal with nasty rumors, mysterious changes in Lissa and that doesn't include the rigors of regular high school! Behind in her training Rose begins training in all her spare time with a full-fledged guardian, Dimitri, whom she has a growing attraction to. Meanwhile Lissa is having problems, someone keeps putting dead animals in her vicinity, but is this just someone's horrid prank or is it something more serious?

If you're a fan of vampire lore or favor the school of vampire fans who like their vamps pretty and not-so-evil this is a great book to try. As a hardcore paranormal & urban fantasy fan I found it to be light, but entertaining reading. On a more personal note I enjoyed that the locations in the book were all within the Northwestern US (Portland, Oregon, rural Montana, Missoula, Montana) as they were areas I was familiar with and aren't overly used in this genre. Richelle Mead's writing was a little unnotable and while I rarely complain about it the massive number of typographical errors in this book was annoying.

If you're too young for Laurell K. Hamilton, you enjoy the Buffy franchise or you just want a vampire lite this should be a good read--and don't forget to check out the second book, Frostbite!

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