Throwback Thursday Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

The Throwback Thursday review is where I take a book I recently reread and review it with new eyes. It could be a book I’m reading for the second, third, fourth or millionth time. Some books haven’t been read in years so its fun to throwback and see if my opinion has changed!

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.

Please keep in mind that Throwback Thursday reviews are based on reread books. They most likely will contain spoilers as the books have already been released for some time. This is your only warning if you want to avoid spoilers for these books. 

GENRE: 

Young Adult, Fantasy

PAGES:

332 pages

PART OF A SERIES?:

1st in the Vampire Academy series

RELEASE DATE: 

August 16th, 2007

PUBLISHER:

Razorbill

SOURCE:

Borrowed Ebook From Library – I do own physical copy.

YOU CAN FIND THE BOOK AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

GoodReads

IndieBound

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Kobo

Google Play

Author’s Website

GOODREADS SUMMARY: 

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 . . .

MY REVIEW

I have read this book three times now – for the very first time in 2014 (I got a tattoo for the series not long after), in 2016 and just a few days ago. I got into the series very late. The first book came out in 2007 and I didn’t read it until 7 years later. To be fair, those covers turned me off and it weren’t for my friend, Jade, I may have never given them the chance they absolutely deserved.

Even though its only been about 2-ish years since I reread this book, I was still kind of nervous to reread it again. I’ve kind of talked about it before, but those early days of young adult literature can sometimes come back to haunt you. What I mean is, back then YA was still SO insanely new so there wasn’t much competition. Books then didn’t have to be nearly as good as they do now and so sometimes reading those books years later again just is so sad. Its like watching a movie you loved as a kid and you realize, as an adult, that its just not good and it did NOT stand the test of time.

This is absolutely NOT true of Vampire Academy. This book definitely holds up over time and I swear this is not just because I super love these books. I was really nervous about reading them again but so far, so good. The first book is definitely a little cheesier than I remember and there are times when I’m like, omg Rose, shut up. She’s younger, selfish, cocky as all hell and it can definitely get on my nerves. I kind of forgot she was like that because the last I remember are the last three books and the Bloodlines and she’s grown so much and she’s matured so so much.

Besides that, I still think its a strong book. It definitely sounds like a much earlier 2000s YA fantasy novel, the way Rose talks to the reader and each book opens with a recap of what has happened – which I appreciate because YA books NEVER do that anymore and I always have to reread books and its just a pain. I love all the characters – Rose, Lissa, Natalie, Dimitri, Mason and so forth. There is some one-dimensional issues with some of them but the ones that stick around for the series get really great story arcs. I could see why maybe those characters wouldn’t catch people on first read though.

I’m currently Frostbite, which is where things really start to change and get serious, so I think its making me feel a little more kindly toward the first book. Sometimes I don’t think the first book is a good example of what the series became – funny but dark and romantic and emotional. I love this series but the first is kind of lighthearted and fun, with some dark elements mixed in. The series definitely gets better as it goes on and I definitely read this book remembering that. I think maybe some people would have a hard time continuing if they’d never read the series but I still think its a great opening, it really sets up the story and it made me want to continue and read all 12 books in the total of original series and spin off.

My goal this year is to reread all 12 books, which is one per month. I’m about halfway through Frostbite so I’m already ahead. I super like VA but I definitely think my flashback reviews will get more favorable as I read the books and as the characters, especially Rose, evolve and change into the characters they are in Bloodlines.

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