Review of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy
By: Richelle Mead
Release Date: August 16th 2007
Publisher: Razorbill
Barnes and Noble

My Rating:
Note: my overall enjoyment while reading was probably closer to 2 stars but knowing how original and ground breaking this book was at the time of publishing I boosted my overall rating.

I read this with Jon from Scott Reads It, Octavia from Read, Sleep, Repeat and Regina from Mel, Erin +Regina Read-A-lot. Only Jon and I were able to finish the book. You can check out his review here.

Summary (via Goodreads):
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

The Story:
I went into reading Vampire Academy with very high hopes and expectations. With the movie right around the corner and all the buzz along with the high reviews I was really excited to dive into this series and fall in love with the characters. I have to admit, I wasn’t blown away with anything about this book. I think a lot of it could be due to hearing so much hype. I wonder if I had read it when it first came out if I would feel differently.

I felt the pacing was slow and I wanted a lot more action and a lot less time spent on the social game Lissa needed to play. I didn’t feel the stakes were high enough nor was I really concerned with the outcome of the story.

I do think that Mead created a very original concept with her vampires and different variations. I think since this was written in 2007 and other books have adopted similar ideas it’s easy to forget that when this was written it was very original and paved the way for other books in the young adult genre.

The Characters:
I have heard a lot about the relationships between Lissa and Rose and Rose and Dimitri. I was excited to get to know these characters and learn about their stories. I found Rose to be a strong voice and found her humor and internal dialog amusing for the most part. I admired her sincerity and single minded duty to protect Lissa at all costs.

I couldn’t ever really get behind Lissa’s character for reasons I can’t name. Nothing about her really stood out to me though she is such a pivotal character. I didn’t dislike her by any means but never felt much either way.

The first descriptions of Dimitri had me eager to get to know him and see the chemistry between him and Rose. As I continued reading my excitement fizzled. I barely learned anything about him, the training scenes weren’t nearly detailed enough or frequent for my liking. I think there is an interesting start but it’s hard not to be a bit disappointed with how little he was in the story. I do need to keep in mind that I’m basing my view on a character who fans have been fostering love for over the series and I’ve only seen in one book.

Final Thoughts:
When keeping in mind that Mead created this world and its characters in 2007 it is easy to see how this book has accrued such a fan base. It was incredibly unique, original and inspirational for books written after. Unfortunately, since I’m reading it so far from when it was created it loses the newness and excitement it provided for earlier readers. I’m not sure if I will continue on the series or not.

You might be interested to read my review of Gameboard of the Gods, book 1 of Richelle Mead’s latest series.


  1. says

    Honestly? I think this is a hard series to START now… I think this series has such a huge fanbase that one would expect a LOT from book one right off the bat. I actually think the series gets better over time, but the first book did not blow me away. I also know tons of people who were put off by Rose at first so that’s a hard thing to dive into too.
    Great review — Sorry it wasn’t what you were expecting! 🙁

    • says

      I think you are 100% right on it being hard to start now. I actually wasn’t put off by Rose at all so there was nothing (other than the animal violence) that I really didn’t like.

  2. says

    I have always wanted to read this series. But I think they have so many now I am so far behind 🙁
    great review 🙂 maybe one day I can give it a try

    Have a great rest of the week


  3. Paige says

    My thoughts exactly! I too recently read this book after being told be multiple people that I would love it even though I’m not really into vampires. You’re right, it has such a huge fan base that have been with the series since the beginning, but starting it now made it fall flat. I can’t decide if I will ever read more of the series, I have too many other books waiting on me.

    • says

      I feel the same way–I have such a huge pile of books that I want to read they will come first. I’m not opposed to reading more in the series it’s more an issue of time than anything else.

  4. Kat Kennedy says

    I seriously have to agree. Looking back, this book felt better than it was. Though the overall series was a real let down for me. It’s interesting to see your reactions to it though – also refreshing.

    • says

      Overall the series was a let down? Hrm…that’s not a good sign. I’ve heard they get better as it goes but if it didn’t work for you…just not sure if I’ll continue or not. Thanks for stopping by Kat!

  5. says

    I’ve been wondering if I should read this series or not, and after reading Gameboard of the Gods I’ve been more tempted, but still… all the hype kinda pushes me back a bit… I’ll probably give a try to this first book and decide then…

  6. Danielle D says

    I’ve looked at the series, thought about reading it a while ago, but for some reason it didn’t really get my interest, even now with all the hype I’m still not wanting to check it out.

  7. says

    It’s rather sad that this underrated series is only now getting the voice that people are starting to call ‘hype’ which eventually dissuades a lot of new readers from reading any particular series.
    On my first read, the first book did not, per se, stand out … but I loved the concept, I loved the characters and the twist in the end, and I kept on reading. I am glad I did, because the series got so much better and looking back, I realize that the first book was more of an ‘origin’ story … necessary for the character development and foreshadowing what was to come in the books later.
    I recently reread the first book, and it read much better this time than it did last time.
    So hopefully, you guys will give the book and series another chance, because they truly are a great read.

    • says

      Great to hear from a fan of the series–I’ve heard from most people that the series improves with each book and that the first was build-up and that there is much more character development in the next. thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  8. says

    It’s Unfortunate that u didn’t like the series ! Although I read VA first time two years ago I still like it ! And as for the series I think you’ll find out that it gets better from the second book! Cause now that the world building is over the characters are more in the spotlight and are given depth throughout the series ! Lots of action too ! I hope you’d give this series a chance !

    – Gayatri @ Notorious Writer.

    • says

      Thank you for stopping by and reading my thoughts on VA. I wish it had been better for me–I really do. I really do appreciate Mead’s writing and enjoyed Gameboard of Gods far more than this book.

  9. says

    I’m a huge fan of the series.
    The pacing is slow in this one — Richelle Mead seems to like to plot in a six or seven book arc and takes her time setting things up. But as you keep reading, it really all starts to come together. I read these a year ago and was amazed at the influence they had on other YA. And it was a lot of fun to read them back to back — I rarely get to do that…

    • says

      I was really impressed with the impact this series has had on YA too. I think that was the most impressive aspect of the book to me. I could see some striking similarities between other books I’ve read. I rarely get to take the time to read a series back to back either…but I might try that sometime with this one when I have a slow month (or two).

  10. says

    AH, your note at the beginning is EXACTLY how I felt. I’m fairly convinced we’re brain twins, after reading this review. I just read the first book this summer, and I felt more two stars towards it, but gave it 2.5 stars because of how original it must have been at the time of its publication. Unfortunately NOW, everything presented to us in Vampire Academy is repetitive beyond belief. I’m sorry you didn’t like this more, but I am so happy to know that I’m not alone in thinking this way!

    • says

      Blythe–the brain twins cracked me up 🙂 I’m glad I’m not alone in how this book felt to me! I felt so bad that I didn’t love it though I respect the impact it has had on the YA genre as a whole. Thank you for stopping by!

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