Series Round-Up: Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

vampire-academy-series

Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

Another vampire series, you say? Sorry to disappoint you but the Vampire Academy series is definitely not similar or even close to the Twilight series primarily because of the fact that it’s so much better… “it” being the Vampire Academy series, of course. If you’re looking for more depth, substance, and great character dynamics within a young adult/new adult vampire series, then this one’s a great read for you.

I promise you after you finish this series, you’ll instantly forget all the great things about Edward Cullen and the one man that you’ll swoon after is Dimitri Belikov. Okay make that three men because there’s also Adrian Ivashkov and Christian Ozera.

Even though not all books were that great separately, all in all, this series is definitely a highly recommend must-read for vampire novel junkies 🙂

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Vampire Academy (#1)

BOOK BLURB:

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.

MY REVIEW:

Overall Rating: 4/5 — Slow start but still a great start for the series. 

Definitely hooked on this series! Okay at first, I can’t help but see all the similarities with Jennifer Armentrout’s ‘Half-Blood’. But then as the story progressed, I just couldn’t care less anymore ’cause it’s just impossible to not get attached and drawn to the characters and the flow of this story as well.

Most of the time, the swoonworthy-ness of the lead guy carries the story as well as the lead female, but not with this one. Badassery at its finest comes in the form of our dear heroine, Rose Hathaway. I just couldn’t help but admire her solid strength and unwavering fierce protectiveness of Lissa. Yeah, she’s a bitch but she has her reasons and if there’s one thing I understand about some of her reckless actions and decisions is how important it really is to stand by the people you love and truly care for no matter what. In addition, I also liked how the guys took a secondary spot with her priorities as well.

And since the romance kind of took a backseat in this one, I really didn’t find myself swooning over Dimitri Belikov that much. I think I might have more feelings for Christian and Mason instead. But I’m looking forward to more Dimitri and Rose moments and how their undeniable attraction would play out in the next books 🙂

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Frostbite (#2)

BOOK BLURB:

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose…

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

MY REVIEW:

Overall Rating: 4/5 — Still lacking in a few aspects but it’s definitely an improvement. 

Hmm… well this was definitely better than the first book. Probably the best thing about these books is the way they’re written in such a way that it makes you breeze through the pages and you don’t even realize that you’re almost done with it already. At least that’s what I felt after reading the first two books in this series. It felt like I was breezing through the first 3/4 and nothing monumental really happens up until around 80-90% in the story.

Okay at least we finally see some growth in the characters, even with the elusive Dimitri, who I finally got attached to thanks to that simple and sweet rooftop scene with Rose. But surprisingly, I found myself kind of charmed by Adrian right away as well. I wouldn’t really be surprised if I turned team Adrian if Dimitri won’t get his A-game on. The other supporting characters had their fair share of the spotlight, but I really (and surprisingly) like that Mia has somehow changed and that she and Rose finally has come to some kind of friendly truce.

Finally, the whole Mason thing 😦 I pretty much cried my eyes out the same time Rose broke down while in the plane with her mother. If I didn’t know better though, I’d say the two pivotal scenes in this whole book were the Dimitri-Rose rooftop scene and Mason’s death. And while I’m still pretty much hooked on this series, I’m still looking for that unpredictability factor as well as some mysteries and predicaments that would really make me think all throughout the book.

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Shadow Kiss (#3)

BOOK BLURB:

It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She’s having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all… might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose’s forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line – and choose between the two people she loves most.

MY REVIEW:

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 — The real action begins here! 

Now this is what I’m talking about. Finally got some real nail-biting action and some mysteries that would really make you think.

Probably my most favorite aspects of the story are the two reasons and mysteries behind Rose’s irrational and almost crazy thoughts, feelings, etc. Finally more light has been shed on the whole St. Vladimir and Anna connection because I always felt that there was always something more to their bond than Anna just merely being in-tune with Vladimir’s feelings. Then there’s the whole shadow-kissed factor. Man, I always felt like tearing up just imagining Mason in front of Rose with his very sad and tortured face. He really should get more credit in the whole story since he basically played a huge role in saving the whole school despite being a wandering ghost.

Now let’s move on to the boys. I probably misinterpreted the last scene of the previous book because I thought for sure that Dimitri would somehow pursue some semblance of a romantic relationship with Rose already and well, he didn’t. However it was nice to see him become more vulnerable and open to his feelings towards Rose… and then some, especially towards the end. One of the guys that I really admired hands down since the first book is Christian and seeing the badass Rose-Christian team all the more solidified my admirations for him. Not to mention, I also loved their witty banter and their fierce protectiveness for each other underneath all those snide remarks. Eddie also stepped up his game of being a big brother to Rose and I also loved him for that. And finally, Adrian. I love Dimitri but it’s not really hard to fall for Adrian as well. His flirtatious comments towards Rose never fail to crack me up.

I don’t think I ever talked about Lissa that much before primarily because there really isn’t much to say. I do admire their friendship but somehow I’ve always felt that it became more of a one-way thing, especially since Lissa got into a relationship with Christian. It wouldn’t have hurt to become more available to Rose and I mean even though Rose didn’t vocalize it that much, a best friend should have and would have known if something was bothering her best friend—right? Anyway, the last scene between them broke my heart but I really hope Lissa would take into consideration that this is the first “selfish” thing that Rose has ever done that did not include her or her welfare.

Lastly, hah the whole Strigoi attack and rescue mission. I was seriously holding my breath especially when they were inside the caves. I’ve already read the spoiler regarding to Dimitri’s unfortunate “awakening” and even with the knowledge of it happening, it still killed me when it finally happened.

Now excuse me while I prepare myself for the torture that is the next book with Rose going face-to-face with a Strigoi Dimitri.

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Blood Promise (#4)

BOOK BLURB:

Rose Hathaway’s life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir’s Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose’s neck, a mark that says she’s killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters . . . Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life’s vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She’ll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir’s and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

MY REVIEW:

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 — What it lacked in fast-paced action made up for its heart-wrenching moments between Dimitri and Rose. 

Wow this book should’ve been called “The Pain & Torture of Dealing with Dimitri’s Death, Of Becoming a Strigoi, Of Killing Him Once and for All, and Realizing that He’s Still Alive”. Yup.

Aside from the fact that Rose had indeed lingered and overstayed her welcome a bit n Baia, this book was just perfect in dealing with what happened to Dimitri. If anything, this book actually made me appreciate his old self more than the three previous books have ever managed to accomplish. Rose’s moments with Dimitri’s family as well as the time she was held captive by him just tore me apart. It was as if I was also feeling every conflicted feeling that Rose was experiencing. And ohmylordy, the whole chase scene up until the bridge was just too painful and I was one with Rose in having that one percent of hope that the old loving Dimitri would come through even though obviously, he wouldn’t.

“You forgot another lesson: Never turn your back until you know your enemy is dead. Looks like we’ll have to go over the lesson again the next time I see you-which will be soon. Love, D.” 

Well, hell. I do think that was the perfect setup and precursor for the next book! Can’t wait!

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Spirit Bound (#5)

BOOK BLURB:

Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong…

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won’t rest until Rose joins him… forever.

MY REVIEW:

Overall Rating: 5/5 — This one basically had it all! Fast-paced action, angst/drama, suspense, etc. 

Oh man did I get what I wished for. What I found lacking in the first three books certainly manifested itself in the 4th and 5th book, and I’m almost sure it would continue up until the last book of this series.

Honestly, I’m still reeling from the torture that is Blood Promise and that’s why I’m just as confused as Rose when it comes to Dimitri and Adrian. I swear, this is the first time that I actually fell for both guys in a love triangle. I usually have one unchangeable and unyielding preference when it comes to cliché love triangles, but I just couldn’t help fall for both guys. Rose is one lucky sonuvabitch. Yes, I hated and even despised her with the way she used Adrian and his “resources” in order to help Dimitri, but I also wanted more than anything to bring back the old Dimitri as well. I know Adrian deserves so much more and I kinda wished that Rose would just let him go or that he would decide that Rose’s not worth it. BUT, he does have an addictive personality and I also can’t help but look forward to his swoonworthy moments with Rose. Agghhhh. Inasmuch as I want Adrian to get the attention and devotion he deserves from Rose, I also can’t blame Rose for still pining after Dimitri. See, I’m confused.

Adrian: “What are you, Rose Hathaway? Are you real? You’re a dream within a dream. I’m afraid touching you will make me wake up. You’ll disappear.” 

Dimitri: “Love fades. Mine has.” 

Oh the Dimitri-Adrian feels.

Other than that, the action and pacing in this book was A+ and even I felt the whole transcendent-slash-miraculous vibe when Lissa brought Dimitri back. In addition, I also liked how the whole murder predicament was introduced. And just like with Blood Promise, I felt that it was also a great precursor for the grand finale.

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Last Sacrifice (#6)

BOOK BLURB:

They come first.

My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won’t give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri’s face join Lissa’s. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.

The dead could finally have me.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose – for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back…and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

MY REVIEW:

Overall Rating: 5/5 — What a way to end this series! This was a definite unputdown-able read. 

Ahh finally! Reading the whole series in one week proved to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride. That was one sweet ride and it’s surely bittersweet having to say goodbye to the characters I’ve grown attached to.

The Action: Rose’s bond to Lissa made it seem that this book had two POVs and it was certainly entertaining to have an insight to what’s happening while Rose was on the run and with Lissa and their other friends who remained inside The Court. While there were certainly some dragging and unnecessary scenes here and there, I still enjoyed what all the characters had to go through in uncovering the truth. I just have to say that the 4th and 5th book still did it for me. I don’t know why really, but this supposedly grand finale just wasn’t as earth shattering as I imagined it to be (plus the major twist in the end didn’t really blow my mind as well). It was still a great ending to an awesome series though 🙂

P.S. I can’t believe I’m saying this but was it just me or were there not any Strigoi attacks that happened? It was just a bit weird to not have them making random and surprise attacks after having to deal with them in the past 5 books.

The Romance: I’m on both team Dimitri and Adrian but we all knew what was bound to happen in the end. I was even surprised that Dimitri and Rose’s reunion didn’t happen earlier during their escape, but that didn’t mean my heart shattered any less for Adrian when he finally lost to the Russian war god. I guess it was nice that Dimitri took his time in re-discovering life and love after being “resurrected”, which made their reunion very meaningful and beautiful. And Adrian, aaaghh. Their whole confrontation in the end just destroyed my heart and it wasn’t like Adrian was completely worthless of a boyfriend to deserve being cheated on because he wasn’t. He did love Rose but they were just not suited for one another in the end. I do want to see him get his happy ever after but I’m just not ready to dive into the Bloodlines series yet.

The Others: I finally appreciated Lissa thanks to the fact that she finally discovered and unearthed her inner strength even without Rose by her side. And how can you not love the rest of the gang including Rose’s mismatched parents Abe and Janine, Christian, Eddie, Mikhail, Sonya, and of course, Adrian? They were the perfect support group for Rose and all their combined efforts surely paid off in the end as well. As for Sydney and Jill, hmmm. I don’t know why but I just didn’t have the same affection for them as I do with the other characters and this is primarily the reason why I don’t see myself reading the Bloodlines series anytime soon. I mean I even like Mia more than Sydney. Weird, right?

Sidenote: Okay I said that I wouldn’t compare this whole series to Jennifer Armentrout’s ‘Covenant’ Series but I can’t help it. I still prefer the Covenant series considering it only has three books out so far compared to the six Vampire Academy series books. I mean this series had the potential to be a larger-than-life YA series but there was just something lacking for me. Can’t exactly pinpoint what it is, but that’s just how I feel.

I still do HIGHLY RECOMMEND this series to anyone and everyone who’s a fan of paranormal YA genre and it’s still very much a worthwhile read for me as well. I’m surely going to miss all the characters but all good things do have to come to an end 🙂

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2 comments

  1. Divya Sachdeva · · Reply

    I luv them soooooo much bt i cant find any books similar to them
    Anyone kmow sum books like them?

    1. Hi there! I would suggest Jennifer Armentrout’s Covenant series if you still haven’t read them. I admit that with the first book, there are quite some similarities with VA’s first book as well but that’s the only thing that’s similar. It’s like a more mature version of the Percy Jackson series, you know with all the gods, goddesses, and what not. I really loved it and it’s personally one of my favorite series 🙂

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