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.
Back to school! Listen to more titles in the Vampire Academy series.
©2005 Richelle Mead; (P)2008 Penguin
Book blogger from Esther's Ever After - focusing on YA books!
So I FINALLY jumped on the VA bandwagon - I feel like I'm the last person to have read it! I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Bloodlines last summer for review and decided to give it a shot - much to my surprise, I totally fell in love and it wasn't until I read Bloodlines that I actually had a desire to read VA!
I can totally see what all the fuss is about - I'm not a huge fan of vampires or paranormal books in general, but I really love that VA doesn't feel like every other vampire book out there. And a pretty awesome, strong lead female definitely helps too!
Reasons to Read:
1.This isn't your standard YA vampire fare:
I love that Richelle incorporated her own twists on vampires and different elements. To be honest, the vampires in the VA world very rarely felt like traditional vampires - or even vampires at all - for most of this first book. They just seemed so normal and, well, more like fancy humans. Especially since Rose is a dhampir. And I LOVE the magic aspect to it.
2.Great blend of paranormal and contemporary:
I also love that this one isn't overloaded with paranormal events and elements; there's a distinct contemporary feel to it, similar in the way that a lot of the characters go through very real, very familiar struggles. It definitely makes them easier to relate to, it's just more exciting than any of the highschool drama I ever witnessed haha.
3.Rose is a very different sort of main character:
I think in YA, we kind of get used to reading about the misfit characters - ones who aren't entirely confident, or just don't feel like they fit in. In some ways, Rose definitely is a misfit and there are times when her confidence is a bit lacking... but overall, she isn't like that. She's very confident about herself, overall, and often does find ways to fit in and roll with the punches. It's nice to live vicariously through characters like her at times. And while there were a few times where I could easily see how immature and young she was (which isn't a bad thing, it's factual) I also know that there's plenty of room for improvement in that area too (seeing as there are a whole bunch of books in the series).
4.Strong female friendships:
I know that there are some special reasons why Lissa and Rose are bonded together, but I find it so heartening to read about two characters who can be so close as friends. Too often I feel like the good friends take the backseat in books, or turn out to be jerks. But these two such depths of loyalty and mutual concern for each other, something which I wish we saw more of in YA books.
And yes, there's definitely action. And mystery. Plenty of other elements to keep you intrigued and easily hold your attention for the book and leave you looking for more at the end.
But at the same time, I could definitely tell that this book was really more of a set up for later books because it lacked a lot of the excitement and action I was highly anticipating after hearing so much about these books. And there were too many times when people just felt far too oblivious to what was going on around them. I definitely have the impression that I'll love the later books though.
Lastly, I also don't feel like I missed out by reading Bloodlines & The Golden Lily first. Yes, I am definitely spoiled for some things - but honestly, I never would have read VA without Bloodlines. And I didn't find Bloodlines confusing without having read VA, but I believe I'm in the minority on that one.
Thoughts on the audio:
The other bit that might have taken away from my experience was the audio and narration itself. I didn't love the narrator, but I did get used to her voice. The problem was when she switched to different voices for other characters - Lissa and Mia were just far too annoying, and I really can't stand the Dimitri voice. My sister told me at one point that it reminded her of an old Russian lady, and after that I just couldn't picture anything else.
The accents were very distracting and unnecessary. The music in the beginning and the end also distracted from the story. Narrators voice is also quite annoying.
I tried to give it a chance even though I read some of the reviews that it's too petty for adults but too mature for kids. Total agree now, I just wasted my money on this book.
I have something like 216 books in my library at this time, I always mean to be more active but I go nowhere without a book in my earphones
it really got you into the mind set of a high school student and the author actually tried to be accurate with many of the problems facing young adults
I guess the twilight books and maybe harry hotter. much better written then twilight however and mainly because they all focus on high school children with super powers who have to deal with normal high school drama
I think rose was my favorite character but if asked in regards to who I liked listening to the most then Dimitri because of the accent she used while speaking for him
there were quite a few things that got my emotions going but the thing that moved me the most was a negative. I am guessing that the author wants to relate to high school kids when she wrote this but I did not like the idea that anti depressants are the answer to Lissa's problems I know they work for some people but me and my doctor experimented with them for 3 years and the way they change your emotions just is not fair to a teen who has enough trouble with hormones and puberty. and putting that in a book will make kids reading it think that a pill might solve all of their problems when it really is more of a band aid (just my opinion on that)
I see that the next few books have different narrators which I really dislike but I think I enjoyed the book enough that I will get them anyway
Say something about yourself!
What I Loved: This is one of the rare YA novels where neither of the lead characters got on my nerves, in fact they were both appealing and engaging. Their relationships with each other (best friends) and others were well written and fun to read. They were teenagers, they did some very "teenage" like things, but they were not annoying. The pacing of the story was fantastic and kept me interested until the very end.
What I Liked: I really enjoyed the twist on the vampiric lore and how it works in this society. The secondary characters were well rounded and served to work the storyline further. The plot was well though out and didn't leave that "where are they going with this" feeling.
What was "Sorta OK": The only complaint was at very the beginning it felt like "jumping" into a story already progress. It took awhile before I felt "caught up".
Why it got a 4: The book is very enjoyable to read: fast paced, quick, engaging, and funny (at times). I would recommend this to older YA readers (PG13 type of rating) and any adult who enjoys PNR. Overall, just a book to not miss!
I never listen to book series with multiple narrators so i was very glad at taking a chance this time. So far i have listened to 4 books from the series, the 1st one had the best narrator but the books afterwards have great plot. I was also supprised at the "young readers" label. The main character stars off at 17 but as the novels progress you don't see any immaturaty except for a few reminders here and there. This series doesn't have sex scenes of a graphic nature except in one or 2 places and when they do, they are very well done. I love the amount of social conflicts with an emphasis on false assumptions. I am also impressed by the amount of combat and how you as a reader learn along with the characters in the books to be guards. The books are very well writen. Oh one more thing i should mention... the audio books have some sound effects at certain places and is done better then most. An example would be when one character is talking with another using magic there is kinda of a cave reverabrate effect that you might not hear unless your paying attention. I have always thought sound effects were annoying or amateurish but I think this audio series has changed my mind.
My teenage daughters insisted I read the VA novels, and I admit I wasn't excited about delving into the world of paranormal romance. However, once I listened to the first book, I was completely hooked. The stories are well told, with unexpected twists, and memorable characters. I hate to admit my teens were right, but they were right. These are really fun books.
I waited a long time before deciding to download this book because there seem to be quite a few books out there like this one. I was pleasantly surprised though when it turned out this one had a unique and very interesting story. The narriator has a good voice. The Russian accent takes a little while to get use to but once I got used to it I like that also. It has good friends, young romance, a sexy hero and good action. Great listen!
Really enjoyed this book, interesting take on the vampire genre but with a good enough story line to keep you interested.. will definitely get book 2
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