This might surprise you a little bit but when I first got into reading I read only YA novels. You might’ve heard about a little series called Twilight that may have started the obsession (I’m Team Jacob btw) but it was actually Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series that kept that fire burning.
To the horror of many of you, I didn’t start the series in order like any normal person would do. In fact, I read the third book, SHADOW KISS first after picking it up randomly at the library. It was when I finished that book and came to the devastating end that I realized just how good this series is and how fantastic a writer Richelle Mead is.
So in honor of the first Re-read Worthy Week, I’ve chosen to feature one of my all-time favorite series, the Vampire Academy series and my all-time favorite author, Richelle Mead.
This feels a little like walking down memory lane because I clearly remember discovering this series one summer and just falling in love with it. I would spend the entire weekend devouring these books until I had to wait for the new book to release.
ONLY A TRUE BEST FRIEND CAN PROTECT YOU FROM YOUR IMMORTAL ENEMIES…
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger… and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever…
This quote is from my original VAMPIRE ACADEMY review back in August 2010.
“Vampire Academy is the best vampire series out there. No offense to Twilight (which I love) and other vampire teen books, but VA raises the bar to an entirely new level.
And I still stand by that. No other series has such a wonderful cast of characters.
I believe this is especially true because of Rose Hathaway. I distinctly remember thinking that Rose was the EXACT mirror image of me when I first read the book. She was tough, out-spoken and didn’t really care what others thought of her. I feel like if you knew me from high school, you’d be surprised by the similarities we shared and I think that was one of the big reasons why I enjoyed this series so much – I saw so much of myself in Rose.
Join the Vampire Academy and Experience Augmented Reality. Click here and put your face on the cover of a best seller book. Are you tempted? Watch “Vampire Academy” come to life with your likeness! Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose…
It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians–including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if handto- hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks…. This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.
But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…
The second book, FROSTBITE introduces a new character named Adrian and this character spurred so much discussion. I just love this guy. His presence stirred up the series, creating more intrigue and charm. Again, taken from my original review of FROSTBITE all those years ago, my crush for Adrian and the rest of the boys in this series remains strong.
“I just absolutely love Adrian. He is such an interesting guy to read about. The fact that he has his vices is also very appealing. With all the hot guy action in this book, it’s no wonder it’s so popular with the ladies. There’s a guy for everyone. I must say, I can’t even choose myself.”
Having read the spinoff series featuring Adrian, I still prefer the VA series over Bloodlines but I think the spinoff catered to a slightly older audience and so the tone of it feels different as well.
WHAT IF FOLLOWING HER HEART MEANS ROSE COULD LOSE HER BEST FRIEND FOREVER?
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
Rose knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa – the last Dragomir princess – must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken…
Then a strange darkness begins to grow in Rose’s mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy’s iron gates. The immortal undead are closing in, and they want vengeance for the lives Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most… but will her choice mean that only one can survive?
As I mentioned earlier, SHADOW KISS was actually the first book in the series that I tried. And it still remains as what I like to call “the game changer”. This was the book that totally derailed readers and took them on a ride they didn’t see coming. And from a writing standpoint, Mead took a risk but I think it paid off completely.
The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them . . . including Dimitri. He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa–the one she has sworn to protect no matter what–and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?
The fourth book, BLOOD PROMISE is the one that actually made me stop and take notice of something. It was the first book that made me realize that my favorite part of the series was the blooming romances spreaded throughout. I didn’t realize it then but could this have been the start of my Romance addiction?
Taken from my original review, it is clear that I was falling head over heels for this romance between Rose and Dimitri.
“Even though I already loved Rose from the very first book, I felt like she was more real in this installment. She was heartbroken, and lost, and lonely and the only way to fix herself was to fix the world.
The “love scenes” between Rose and Dimitri are so sweet and memorable that you wonder why Richelle didn’t let any of this happen between them earlier. You desperately wish for something more to happen between them. You can see how Dimitri’s presence makes Rose a happier person. The weight of the world is lifted from her shoulders once Dimitri is there. It shows how much she loves him and you see her as a lady in love.”
After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s and to her best friend, Lissa. It is at long last graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.
She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won’t rest until Rose joins him . . . forever.
By book five, I was having a mental breakdown and couldn’t believe just how well Mead executed this novel and series. I know she is a plotter and keeps extensive notes and outlines but it’s one thing to know what is going to happen and whole other thing to execute that plan flawlessly. She doesn’t give too much away and doesn’t reveal anything all at once so when the “big event” comes, it hits hard and knocks you on your ass. By this excerpt from my original review, it’s clear that Mead had blown my mind with this book:
“The summary doesn’t do any justice. What Richelle does in this book is beyond anything I could have ever conjured up in my own mind.”
Look out for “Bloodlines,” Richelle Mead’s new series set in the world of Vampire Academy, coming August 2011!
The astonishing conclusion to the #1 international bestselling series, now in paperback!
Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice.
The Queen is dead and the Moroi world will never be the same. Now, with Rose awaiting wrongful execution and Lissa in a deadly struggle for the royal throne, the girls find themselves forced to rely upon enemies and to question those they thought they could trust. . . .
But what if true freedom means sacrificing the most important thing of all?
LAST SACRIFICE marks the end of the series but oh man, it was everything I ever wanted in a finale. As everything else gets tied up, so does the love triangle that started with Frostbite. I remember thoroughly enjoying the love triangle in this series because even though it was clear Dimitri would forever be Rose’s man, there was something about Adrian that I couldn’t easily shake off.
Of the entire series, there is one quote that I think stands out in my head and it is from Rose in FROSTBITE.
“ You can’t force love…It’s there or it isn’t. If it’s not there, you’ve got to be able to admit it. If it’s there, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.”
After this journey of many ups and downs, many losses and gains, Richelle Mead brings it back to basics with these words. And I still think they are great ones to live by.
Spurred by my deep love of this series, Richelle Mead was also one of the first authors I’ve met. She had a signing in Toronto with fellow YA author, Carrie Jones and I distinctly remember the butterflies in my stomach. This was way before I had the blog and way before I started reading Romance so after that I really got the chance to discover more of Mead’s work outside of YA (which are also great btw!)
While I don’t get to reread this series nearly as much as I want to, the Vampire Academy series still has a special place in my heart. To this day, I still haven’t found a heroine who is a close of a match as Rose was for me, but I think that’s also what makes me cherish this series even more.
Whether you’re a teen or not, I think this series has something for everyone so if you haven’t read this series already, this absolutely needs to be bumped up on your TBR lists!