Sunday, May 8, 2011

Review: Vampire Academy (Mead)

Vampire Academy, Book 1
Richelle Mead 
336 p.
Penguin Group
August 2007

Genre: Paranormal Romance (vampires)
Summary: Two years ago, best friends Rose (a dhampir, the offspring of a vampire and a human) and Lissa (a vampire princess) ran away from Vampire Academy. Now that they have been caught and returned to their school, Rose and Lissa discover that their bond is unbreakable. Amid the gossip, backstabbing, and budding romances of Vampire Academy, Rose trains to become Lissa's Guardian one day, and Lissa's ability to heal takes its toll on her body and mind.

What I liked: Well, my 8th grade girls really love this series. They read all of the books in this series compulsively; some girls even read them more than once. They get as excited about this series as I get about The Hunger Games, Num8ers, and Chaos Walking. My students' love of this series is really enough for me to like it, even if it is based on that alone. The storyline is interesting enough, and I eventually came to actually like Rose as a character. 

What I didn't like: I really wish I liked this one more than I do. It is just really difficult to care about Rose and Lissa, neither of whom I find very likeable. Rose reminds me so much of Angelina Jolie (from the photo on the cover to the butt-kicking femme fatale characters Jolie likes to play in movies). The problem is, I can't stand Angelina Jolie or her movies. Even though whiny Lissa is supposed to be so sweet and caring and selfless, I found her to be mean-spirited at times. Further, the slow plot put me to sleep more than once; it took me about a week to finish this 336-page book.

Front Cover: Angelina Jolie look-alike. Bad decision. 

Language: moderate-high; a few F's and S's, among others. 
Sexuality: moderate-high; nothing actually happens, but sex is discussed many times. Intense kissing and sensual vampire bites. Lots of mention of "blood whores."

Violence: Moderate; Animal cruelty; some fighting; self-mutilation

Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate; teens drink beer or talk about getting drunk; vampire saliva is a form of drug for humans/dhampirs
Overall Rating: Highly Recommended for high schools simply because students really love it. Same for middle schools, despite mature content. Librarians, teachers, parents are always advised to read and make their own decisions. While some may disagree, it stays on my shelves because my girls just love it.

Give it to: 8-12 grade girls

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