Goodreads description: 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 admit when I first heard of this series I was kind of sceptical - I imagined a kind of Harry Potter- Twilight hybrid. But after hearing good things about Richelle Mead’s books I decided to give it a go, and I’m glad I did.
In the world of the Vampire Academy series, there are three kinds of vampires: the ruling Moroi, the half-vampire dhampir, and the savage Strogoi with whom the others are at war. The dhampir traditionally serve as guardians to the Moroi, who live in a hierarchical society based on class and royalty. Seventeen-year-old Rose is the guardian of the Moroi Princess Lissa, who is also her best friend, but after an accident, they became bonded in a way no two other vampires are: Rose is able to read Lissa’s thoughts. When the two realised Lissa was in danger, they ran away from the Academy. But at the novel’s start, they are caught, and end up under close security back at the school. But Rose knows Lissa may still be in danger, because she has abilities that no other Moroi have, and she becomes the target for a sick prankster. The mystery deepens as Rose discovers a connection between her powers and a long-dead vampire…
This book has everything I like in a YA novel – a feisty, strong-willed protagonist, great characterisation, an engaging plot and loads of action. The romance thankfully didn’t detract from the storyline and there’s no ‘insta-love’ or fluffiness. The interactions between Rose and Dimitri are believable, and all the supporting characters are well-developed enough that they didn’t feel like cardboard cut-outs put in there to support the main cast. The book is well-written and fast-paced. I found the background and the vampire mythology intriguing and different from other vampire series. I like the distinction between the mortal and magic-wielding Moroi who are nevertheless weaker than the guardians whose role is to protect them – and I can see plenty of potential for conflict there!
It looks like I’ve found an addictive new series! I’m keen to learn more about their world and I’ll definitely be recommending this.