Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead: don’t judge a book by its title

Title: vampire academyVampire Academy

Author: Richelle Mead

Genre: YA paranormal

Length: 332 pages

Published by: Penguin

Source: my friend kindly loaned this out from the local library for me! I went a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t find it, so when she spotted it she nabbed it for me. Friends are pretty rad.


St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

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.


I was extremely dubious about this book. There were a few reasons for this.

1) The title. I mean, I’m not a fan of paranormal in general, and this just seemed really…um, tacky, I guess?

2) The vampires. Because I am ridiculously biased against vampires, apparently. What’d they ever do to me? Who knows. Maybe I have repressed my memories of being bitten by a vampire…

3) The blurb. Any blurb that has the phrase “forbidden romance” makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit.

BUT WAIT. This review is not negative. Indeed, it is positive. To counteract these three reasons I didn’t want to read the book, here’s a few reasons you DEFINITELY SHOULD.

(how about that! Emily is surprised! Hallelujah!)

Oh, and I’m using a GIF from Mythbusters for a very profound and meaningful reason: I’m busting the myth that VA is shite. Because it’s not. At all. Let me count the ways.

1) Rose and Lissa. Now I know why everyone put this book on their “top ten friendship books” list. Because they are freakin’ awesome friends. Rose is so loyal towards Lissa, and protective, and just…I loved their friendship so much. Especially since it’s something that I’d like to see in more YA books.

2) Rose. Rose deserves her own category because she is one of my favourite protagonists for this year. She’s snarky, sure, but she also has a softer side that I really liked. But okay, fine, I mostly liked the snark. Snark is a great word.

3) The plot. It moved a little slowly in places, but it was CREEPY, and creepy is GOOD (in my world, anyway). It made me shudder and not just because it’s cold. Although it is pretty cold. But mostly because of the creepiness. The world-building was incorporated really well into the plot, and after about a chapter of it being confusing, I found myself fully entranced in the world Richelle Mead has created.

4) Not too paranormal-y. This may sound confusing. I get that. But too often, paranormal books come across as really cheesy, and they focus too much on romance, and just…gah. This was one of the reasons I was reluctant to pick this book up. But it wasn’t! I think partly because of Rose, this book was quite grounded, with a nice mix of high school drama, friendship, Dimitri and some cool vampire voodoo.

5) Dimitri. That is all.

6) Mental health. I was surprised that mental health was mentioned here! Lissa has depression and it’s not just used as a plot device! Hurrah! I really liked this aspect.

7) The author has the same last name as me. I mean, that’s just cool. If I ever publish a book that means it’ll be next to Vampire Academy…no pressure or anything.

8) Pretty much everyone in the universe told me to read it. Seriously. At least 6.7 billion people told me to. Wow, I thought peer pressure was just about drugs, not reading vampire books…

All in all…


There you go. Despite 3 reasons I didn’t want to read it, there are 8 reasons you should DEFINITELY read it. And I’ve heard that the books only get better from now…

Rating: 4/5 Stars





25 thoughts on “Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead: don’t judge a book by its title

  1. I’m so glad that you like it!! It’s one of my favorite series and definitely the best vampire story ever! Well, I have read a lot of vampire stuff and I’m hands down with Vampire Academy. I was reluctant to read this too after I read twilight. Fortunately, I have nothing to read so I tried it and I was hooked. Best decision ever.

    What I like about Richelle Mead’s stories is that the romance is build up throughout the series and it takes 2-3 books for them to be together.

    Hope you will like the rest of the books 🙂

    • (Hope you don’t mind if I reply)
      I actually read VA after Twilight, too. But I liked Twilight because I was eleven at the time. VA basically made me change my mind though. So much better, obviously!
      And I love that about Richelle Mead, too. But it also frustrates me. It’s like, I want them to be together o.o

      • I like the build-up of the romance as well. Reminds me of Harry Potter, where it didn’t emerge until the fifth book…which was nice. And yeah, I was wary of the vampires but it ended up being so good!

        I read some of the first Twilight book but really didn’t like it. Very glad I decided to give VA a chance 🙂

  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, Emily! I only started the series at the beginning of the year also because of the reasons you mentioned above for not wanting to read it. However, it really surprised me and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series. 🙂

  3. OH, YAY! I’m so glad you liked it 😀
    VA was one of the first YA books I read, waaaaaay back in sixth grade or so. I was about eleven at the time. Probably too young to be reading that kind of stuff, but hey, I turned out okay(:
    Anyways, I’ve always been fond of the series. It definitely gets better as it goes on, although I absolutely hate the last book. Sorry, I have to put that in there. It’s not even that it wasn’t a great book. The last book is amazing. Until about halfway in- for reasons I will not spoil 😀 But keep going, girl! And let me know what you think! VA is great. And you can’t miss out on Bloodlines. I think that’s even better. Just because my favorite character is a huge part of it (:

    • That’s the same sort of relationship I have with The Princess Diaries – probably wasn’t appropriate at the time, but I had no clue what half of it meant anyway, haha. I’ve heard that the series gets better, so I’m looking forward to the next ones! Only another star to give away… I will definitely let you know what I think 🙂

  4. *throws confetti* I’m happy you read this book and like it! After Twilight messed up my ideas of vampires, I had a tendency to steer away from vampire books. I read this because they were releasing a movie(although the movie sucked, big time), and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I loved this book because it didn’t centered on cheesy moments and this described the vampire world more. Every book is bound to make you want for more, and I wasn’t able to stop reading the whole series.

    Can’t wait for you to read the rest of the books. 😀

    • So am I! I have to admit the parallel with Twilight put me off. I’ve heard that the movie sucks, so that’s unfortunate. I’m glad it doesn’t centre on cheesy moments – Rose really helps with that. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books, so that makes two of us! 😀

      • Yes the movie sucked big time so don’t waste your time. The movie ruined Dimitri’s image in my mind. >.<

  5. I love this post, really love it. More people need to know that its not the twilight rip of they all think it is. Now read the rest, you’ll love them 🙂

    5) Dimitri. That is all.

    Its a reason in its self just to like the book. That man. ❤

    Great review 🙂

  6. I NEED TO TRY THIS. (Also I think that it’s super cool you will be shelved next to this book. x) I haven’t found a YA author with my last name yet…) I kind of avoid vampires. Not intentionally, buuuut I just guess paranormal books that I’ve stumbled across never have been terribly well written. Except for Half Bad. That’s my favourite. But are witches paranormal? Gah. I always get confused. Like what the difference between “paranormal” and “urban fantasy” technically are? Okay, yes, rabbit trial. OKAY. So I love friendships and I think that’s the main reason I’m keen on this book. But there are a ton of them, aren’t there? I’ll need to buckle up for a marathon read. x)

    • YES YOU DO. (and I know right, how cool is that? Searching for my name was how I discovered Vampire Academy a few years ago…never picked it up until now though). I avoid vampires well, and paranormal in general, because it all starts to sound the saaaame. All about forbidden romance and pathetic female leads and yuck, just not my thing. Are witches paranormal? I have no idea. But witches are cool so I allow those. There ARE a ton of them – like six or something? And they get pretty massive. I think I’ll read them in between other books 🙂

  7. YESSSS. I am so, so glad you loved this! Rose is one of the most badass heroines ever. And Dimitri… *swoons* Rose and Lissa definitely have a bond that any set of friends would be jealous of. READ THE REST OF THE BOOKS. And tweet to me while you do. I want to see your reactions, especially from books 3 and onwards! <33

    • That makes two of us!! Rose is excellent. I want to be friends with her. I WILL read the rest of the books. I have a friend IRL who recently read them and is now obsessed, so she’s my main motivation. Honestly, she nags so much it’s like she’s my mother.

  8. Dmitri is well worthy of his own category 😉
    I was never vary about reading this which was surprising because I am pretty damn biased against vampires as well but I loved the idea and kind of went along with it and wasn’t disappointed!

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the series too!!! DMITRI GETS MORE SWOONWORTHY (if that’s even possible. Also I’d just like to point out that he is mine and I am not willing to share. OKAY BYE)

    Great review, Emily!! 🙂

  9. LOL! Awesome review, Emily! I’ll let you know however that I tried, like, the first 5 pages of this book and then gave up on it, but now I’m wondering if I was perhaps a wee bit too hasty when I put it aside. Your review is certainly making me reconsider. Rose sounds like an awesome character and I would love more friendship than romance!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  10. Pingback: What Happened This Week: Stacking the Shelves, six days of school and announcing Diverse Book Week! | The Loony Teen Writer

  11. This is my all time favorite series! I started reading it 4 years ago, and vampires were pretty famous at that time.. lol 😛 I’m really glad you enjoyed it 🙂 The whole series is really awesome, you won’t be disappointed. I’m excited for you to meet Adrian in Frostbite, but Dimitri will always be the love of my life!

  12. This series surprised me as well, in the best way possible! To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Rose. I’m one of the minority I think, as I connect to the protagonist of the spin-off series a lot more. However, I can appreciate how amazing of a protagonist Rose is. She’s incredibly flawed and incredibly human (as human as a dhampir can be, haha) and her good qualities make her stand out. I also adore the friendship between Rose and Lissa, and I really appreciated how she handled Rose handling Lissa’s mental health.

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