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Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead Read review at Smash Attack Reads: http://smashattackreads.blogspot.com/2011/03/review-vampire-academy-by-richelle-mead.htmlWELCOME TO VAMPIRE ACADEMYMeet Rose Hathaway, dhampir and self-appointed Guardian of Lissa Dragomir, the last of her royal bloodline. In the beginning of this book, Rose and Lissa are enjoying a night in, until Rose notices a shadowy figure outside their bedroom window. She immediately drags Lissa out of the house, and hauls ass. Yes, they get caught – but not by the bad guys. Turns out these two ladies ran away from St. Vladimir Academy, a school for their kind. Think Hogwarts. They get taken back and Rose is reprimanded for taking Lissa away and endangering her life. All the while, you are left wondering why they ran in the first place…This world doesn’t just have vampires, but different types of vampires. The Moroi are living mortal vampires and their enemies are the Strigoi, the dead immortal bloodsuckers. The Strigoi are stronger and have been killing the Moroi off little by little because their blood enhances the Strigoi’s abilities. Over time, the Moroi royalty have lost their fighting edge, and thus, have recruited dhampirs as their Guardians. Dhampirs are half-Moroi, half-human hybrids and possess heightened characteristics of both species. The dhampir Guardians take their job hella serious. Without the Moroi, the dhampir race would cease to exist. It seems as though dhampirs can’t mate with one another, but mating with a Moroi always creates a dhampir (so odd).Rose’s personality is right up my alley. She is fierce, sassy, stubborn, uses her sensual body to tease the hell out of the boys, lacks impulse control and is so very protective of Lissa. You see, not only have they been best friends their entire lives, but they posses a rare psychic bond that occurred after an incident that remains unclear until later in the book. Rose can feel Lissa’s emotions and sometimes enters her head when Lissa is over-emotional. I really enjoy these scenes, being able to enter Lissa’s mind and experience events from her POV. Due to this intense connection, Rose is always on her toes, and will kick ass when Lissa is threatened.Dimitri Belikov, Guardian Extraordinaire, has been assigned to teach Rose all that she has missed during her two year hiatus. That means meeting before and after classes to train in Guardian technique. Dimitri is extremely serious about his position and let’s Rose know that immediately. However, he also lets her know that she has the potential for greatness if she puts her all into it. As you can guess, spending so much time with one person in close quarters can turn serious business into, well, more serious business. ;)Dimitri is a fantastic character, full of strong emotion that he keeps muted so he can remain focused. He is wise, observant and patient. The connection that arises between he and Rose happens in a realistic manner, making it all the more sweet. Unfortunately, Guardians don’t have time for love, lest they loose their focus and allow their charge to be killed. This is an unfortunate part of this world and you really feel for Rose and Dimitri as they continue on as though love can be turned off with a switch. Internally, however, emotions run rampant. Can I just say that Dimitri is totally swoon worthy, and I pictured Taylor Kitsch in my head… Lissa was an ok character, meek and mild is her personality, but we see glimpses into the dark area of her mind. It’s a tad creepy. She has quite the issue to deal with, and without Rose to help her through it, I think she would go mad. I immediately liked Christian, the weird, anti-everyone else, outcast that has an ugly family history. His snarky comebacks had me smiling, and I look forward to more of him.Once again, my hesitance to read a series mocks me. So very many people talk about the greatness that is Vampire Academy, and while I believed them, I was leery of another YA vampire series. Well, I should just smack myself next time I go there. The world that the author has created is really unique. And she doesn’t throw you into it at lightning speed, so you aren’t drowning in world building. One thing that fascinates me about this world is the revolting politics of Moroi royalty. It really adds to the complexity of the story, and it makes me wonder if this series will move into a “let’s overthrow the royals” plot, but we shall see. I loved learning the history of the Moroi via St. Vladimir, and thus, learning a lot about Rose and Lissa.Great action, great characterization, great magical abilities, great plot, great chemistry, great emotion, great surprises….this book is FULL off great. The first book in this series was fantastic, and I dove into the 2nd book immediately