My Teen Vampire Books Can Beat Up Your Teen Vampire Books
Sometimes when I'm reading a lot of nonfiction I like to have a bit of fiction on the side as a palate cleanser. I've been reading quite a few memoirs lately, and I'd reach the end of the day and want to curl up and read a book that wasn't so... real. It's also nice to revisit a book, or series of books, that you know and love. This is what led me to my current super fun reading project: Rereading Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series.
I first read the Vampire Academy series when I was recovering from surgery. I'm pretty sure it was my third surgery, in 2010, because I had a lot of books to get through, but I know I had to wait for the sixth book. I'm only making this clarification because it was my third surgery (for the same ailment) where I had tissue growing on a ligament that was attached to my spine burnt off, and then couldn't stand upright for weeks, so having a hefty book series was a Godsend. (When you're stuck in bed for a long period of time, getting sucked into a series, be it television or novel, is practically essential.) I was immediately in love with the series and devoured all the books I could. I even read a few of Richelle Mead's other novels, but nothing stole my heart like Vampire Academy. So now, coincidentally on the tenth anniversary of the first book's publication, when I needed a book series to turn to as a distraction from anything and everything, what better series than Vampire Academy?
For the uninitiated, Vampire Academy is a series of six books that center on Rose Hathaway and her best friend Lissa Dragomir. Lissa is a Moroi, or a vampire that feeds on blood and avoids sunlight, but isn't a killer and doesn't need to steer clear of all sunlight or churches. No, that kind of vampire is called Strigoi, and they're straight up evil. Those vampires are killers, and they love to hunt down and kill Moroi. This is where dhampirs like Rose come in. Dhampirs are half Moroi, half humans. They have the physical strength of vampires, but they don't need to drink blood or avoid the sun. They are sworn to protect Moroi and serve as their guardians. Rose and Lissa also have a special bond because Lissa saved Rose's life in a car accident that killed Lissa's entire family (and Rose, until Lissa brought her back to life). After Lissa's family was killed she was the last member of the Dragomir royal family, which means it's especially important to keep her alive. Rose is of course a perfect choice to be Lissa's guardian, because of their psychic bond, but she should probably also have a super hot guy guard her too. You know, for safety.
Of course there's a super hot guy! It's a supernatural YA series written by a woman who also writes erotica! And Dimitri fits the bill completely. Rose and Dimitri have a steamy relationship that spans the whole series. They're both guardians and he's her trainer, so they do a lot of hot fighting where you're like, "Now KISS!" (And sometimes they do, dear reader. Sometimes they do). Rose and Dimitri are the tumultuous, passionate relationship whereas Lissa and her boyfriend Christian are the classic high school sweethearts who have their ups and downs, but they're generally adorable and you know they're going to be together for 100 years.
Over the course of six books Mead manages to pack in a lot of action and never makes the story feel tired or repetitive. Rose and Lissa learn about their bond slowly over the course of many books. The bond takes a toll on them both. Rose and Dimitri's relationship keeps you turnin' those pages. Rose learns about her mysterious father! Someone becomes Strigoi! And what I think is one of my favorite moments: Book two takes place at a luxury ski resort. Why? WHY NOT?!
I'm over halfway through my reread now and I'm loving every second of it. I'm 30 years old and these books are just as enjoyable as when I read them at 23, and I'm sure if you're an actual teenager they're even better. If you need a little book candy at the end of the day (or the beginning, or the middle) then I cannot suggest Vampire Academy enough. Ten years on and Vampire Academy is definitely proving its status as a classic series.
*The Vampire Academy Graphic Novel series only covers the first three books, but it looks amazing. All the images for this post are from the graphic novels (normally I like to use fan art when reviewing books, but the graphic novel was irresistible).