Sunday, January 12, 2020

Re-read Book Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date:  August 16th 2007
My Rating: 4.5 Cups
Source: My copy
Blurb (from Goodreads):
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 . . .
Sometime in October 2019 I decided that I wanted 2020 to be the year of rereading my favorites, as well as finally getting to finish all those series I've been putting off for the last few years. One such series is Bloodlines, and when I heard that Jamsu @ Jamsudreams was planning on reading the series as well, we decided to buddy up. Of course, I was feeling a bit extra, so we decided to start from the beginning, with Vampire Academy. So here we are now. Let me tell you all about how I liked this book yet again, and how some thing surprised me more than they did the first time I read it.

I first read Vampire Academy back in 2012 and if you want, you can go ahead and read my initial thoughts about it here. While I still recognize some of the elements from my review in my experience in reading the book now, I'm also noticing a few differences and I think today I'm going to focus on them.

I feel the need to say one more thing before I start. This, surprisingly, is not my first time rereading the book. It is however the first time I fully embraced the things I noticed to be different, both in a positive and in a negative way. I can't tell you exactly why I noticed a few of these tiny details. Maybe being older has given me a different perspective, maybe having grown into the reader that I am now, maybe a combination of both, as well as a number of other elements from my life. I couldn't say, but what I can tell you is that I've noticed them.

I still adore the relationship between Lissa and Rose. It's still my favorite thing and I have to say that I can't wait to see where it will go from here, experience all their highs and lows again.

I noticed a strength in Lissa now that I ignored the last time. It's not just because of her spirit magic, there's a quiet kind of strength that she has, and if you've read this series, you already know that her strength only grows and she eventually becomes queen. I didn't notice that before, mostly because Rose's personality is so big, so strong, that she kind of leaves most characters in the shadows a little bit.

Speaking of Rose, one thing I noticed now, and I don't know if it's something that will come up in the other books. I don't quire remember them. She describes herself as "semi-exotic" because of her physical appearance. While it's a small thing that I previously overlooked, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way now.

Like Jamsu said in her review, I had a hard time not remembering the movie while reading this book. Because while the movie wasn't great in my opinion, it did a better job at explaining why Rose took Lissa away from the Academy. There's a hint to what may have determined Rose to take her, and again, it was something I picked up on because I watched the movie, but it's only my interpretation of that scene. I'm not entirely sure it's exactly what happened, however.

I still love Dimitri. Is it a surprise? I love how quiet he is, how confident without being overly cocky, how he admits he has flaws, how he isn't completely afraid to admit that he failed to protect his friend. But also... He really does have great taste in music. I just can't help it, someone with such a good taste in music will always get an extra point from me.

I forgot how dark and mysterious Christian was, but how awesome him and Lissa are together. Now there's a small part of me that wishes we could get a short story that focuses on them, from their perspective, not from what Rose thinks or experiences through her bond.

I also loved the way Mead wrote the scenes when Rose would see through Lissa's eyes. It was probably the first time I noticed how we get the story from both their perspectives at the same time, and I thought it was such a cool thing. I really enjoyed that aspect of the story.

I was a bit bothered by how Lissa's depression and self harm tendencies were "neatly" explained away by magic and pills. I kind of have a vague memory of how that is again brought back later on, so I'm curious if my interpretation will change when I get to those scenes.

All in all, it was a really interesting experience to reread this favorite of mine. Are my thoughts different? A bit. Is that a bad thing? No. I think I see what past Ruby loved so much about the story, and I know what present Ruby loved about the story. It definitely isn't the exact same thing.

I can't wait to share my thoughts on Frostbite with you guys. Until then, go and hop over to Jamsu's blog to read her review of Vampire Academy.

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