Vampire Academy, The Books (1-6)
I’ll preface this post with the following statement: I am the person who thinks the whole ‘vampire’ craze is overdone. Yes, I love Buffy (who doesn’t?) and of course I read the Twilight’s. Though, after that, my vampire consumption subsided for quite a long time. I am not a person who reads vampire literature often. Or at least, I wasn’t.
I read all six Vampire Academy books in a week. Not that that’s a difficult feat; the books are neither literary nor complex. But, like so many fantasy writers before her, Richelle Mead can tell a good story. A good, action-packed, romantic story at that. And sometimes, that’s all I crave. I want to be entertained, dammit!
The Vampire Academy books follow the lives of Rose Hathaway (a Dhampir, meaning half-vampire, half-human) and her best friend Princess Lissa Dagomir (a Moroi, meaning full-fledged vampire). Since Rose is a Dhampir, once she graduates high school her job will be to serve as a guardian of Lissa, protecting her at all costs. Who is she protecting her from? Anyone who wants a piece of the royal blood line, especially Strigoi (evil, undead vampires). Sounds complicated? It isn’t; that’s pretty much the gist of it! The first book begins with Rose and Lissa trying to live normal human lives; they ran away a year ago and have been attending human high school, trying to blend in. Soon, they are captured and taken back to the place they had escaped: Vampire Academy.
The books that follow draw the readers into a world of magical powers, unbreakable bonds, politics, love and death. I’ll hand it to Mead; she continuously had me hooked. Rose is an amazing protagonist for the female reader; she’s a headstrong woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone. She’s sarcastic, funny, strong and impetuous. And Rose’s love story with another guardian named Dimitri made me turn the pages even quicker… their scenes were some of my favourite.
Long of the short: Many times while I was reading the Vampire Academy series, I would shake my head and mutter to myself “This is what my professor told me not to do.” Mead does a lot of showing and telling in her writing, and she over summarizes, but then again, so do a lot of Y/A authors. That being said, these books are quick reads which offer humour, action, creativity and sexiness. No thinking required! Great for the beach, the subway or the gym. Enjoy, all you serial-novel lovers!
Vampire Academy, The Movie
Upon hearing of the Vampire Academy movie, I went out and bought the book. It’s a best seller and has a cult following, so I though Why not? So I waited until I read all of the books before watching the film. My expectations were quite low because I read that the movie underdelivered in the box office.
My review is as follows: Like so many other movies based on Y/A novels nowadays, this movie was made to appease the fan base. On one hand, happy fans are a good thing. On the other hand, critics can be cruel. One review I read on Rotten Tomatoes actually said the movie is “Twilight meets Mean Girls,” which I thought was a pretty accurate description (Mark Waters actually directed both Mean Girls and Vampire Academy).
For me, as someone who read the books, I thought the movie was fine. But for consumers who went to see the movie as a normal movie-goer, I think they would be been overwhelmed and disappointed with backstory summarizing (which, surprise surprise, is something Mead does in the novels as well). At the beginning of the movie, a reasonably good description of the variety of vampires was given. The actresses did a respectable job of portraying the characters too, which makes me, as a fan of the main character, especially happy. But I think a lot of the scenes that could have been explosive ended up getting lost in the multiple back stories the movie tried to project upon its audience.
So, take from that what you will. I’ll close with this: if you read and liked the books, watch the movie. If not, don’t bother.