The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
The Vampire Academy series was probably one of the more defining book series I read back when I was in middle school. It gave me a little bit of insight into what to expect in high school, and overall I really did enjoy the series. I’m excited to be writing this review close to 8 years later.
Tags: Young Adult | Supernatural | Fiction | Vampires
Adult Content: Not really, it’s only lightly mentioned.
Please note, that this is rather long lol.
Back in middle school, I was that kid that always wanted to be more mature than the rest of my classmates. And that kind of manifested in the form of reading “more advanced” books when I was in middle school, so I would end up reading 1-2 grade levels up from that actual grade I was in.
Meaning that I was 12 when I read the VA series (recommended 16+). And like most long book series, I didn’t read them in order, I ended up reading Shadow Kissed (Book 3) first. I did start from the first book after realizing my mistake though, and this series had a part in kind of shaping me, growing up.
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.
Adrian was actually a really great character too, though his alcohol abuse was something that I now frown upon. And the parts where Dimitri was a Strigoi really made my heart hurt, and it was around then that I realized that I was a hopeless romantic.
The two biggest impacts the series made on me though was something that seems small to others..but I absolutely cannot take cheating in both my personal life and in novels, and I refuse to go in a relationship with someone I don’t truly like. Rose was still in a relationship with Adrian when she kissed/maybe had sex with Dimitri (I can’t remember), and seeing how devastated Adrian was in the aftermath really made an impact on me.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t really consider there to be a love triangle in the last 2-3 books of the series because while Rose liked Adrian enough, even she admitted that she couldn’t see their relationship going anywhere. While on the other hand, Adrian seemed to see them getting married? I felt like he was just a temporary replacement for Dimitri, which wasn’t fair to Adrian.
When I was 12, Rose seemed so much older at 17. But now at 20 (oh god), there were a lot of things she did at 17 that really make me stop sometimes. That is, Rose is very impulsive whereas I like to plan things out so seeing her make sudden decisions made me so nervous while reading.
Despite the impulsiveness, Rose was very brave and that was one thing I really admired about her, and her personal growth throughout the 6 books. The first 2-3 books had a bit of High School drama, but after that, it was all pretty much adventure/action and then later, detective work.
I’m just going to stop here because I’m finding it increasingly hard to review the series without giving away spoilers lol. I can say, however, that my friend had the biggest book crush on Christian, and then for me, it was Dimitri lol.
I think the only part of the novel that did make me just a little uncomfortable was the fact that Dimitri was Rose’s teacher essentially. Around the time I was in middle school, there were a lot of news stories about High School or College/University students being caught in relationships with their teachers and profs.
It’s a rather rocky path to talk about this because it’s a grey zone between “they are adults” and “this isn’t ethical”, but truthfully for the sake of the storyline I just mainly ignored it and just imagined Dimitri as Rose’s tutor (which wasn’t any better because I had a tutor). Overall I really enjoyed all 6 books in the series and went on to write a few essays around the book/series while in High School and College.
I honestly would recommend this to students in grades 8-12, because it’s good but also contains a few “life lessons” wrapped up in the fictional world of vampires.