Read this in high school. I remember only a few things: flying through the pages to get to the end, getting that song with the same name stuck in my h...moreRead this in high school. I remember only a few things: flying through the pages to get to the end, getting that song with the same name stuck in my head (from "A Knight's Tale" soundtrack?), and some graphic sexual situations... to put it in light terms.(less)
When my sister first told me about Vampire Academy, I immediately checked the first book of the series out from the library. After reading about 10 pages, I decided that it wasn't my style, and abandoned it for something else in my towering stack of library books. The next time I picked it up, however, I read past the... interesting start to the novel and didn't stop until I was finished!
I read the entire series in less than a week. That's over 2,700 pages! Yeah, it was that good. Let's just say that I shouldn't have started reading Vampire Academy over the Thanksgiving break from school... I got NO homework done whatsoever!!
Because this is a massive series review, I'm going to break down my thoughts on all 6 books into the pros and cons!
What I Loved:
I loved the following characters: Rose, Dimitri (I heart him), Adrian, Christian, and Sydney. An honorable mention to Jill and Ambrose, as well!
Rose was a great main character. She was a combination of just the right amounts of sass, snark, toughness, loyalty and dedication. I enjoyed watching her kick major butt, suffer through heartbreak, and grow into a fully-realized individual.
Rose and Dimitri.... hello?! One of the best romances I've ever read, and not just in the paranormal genre. I was smitten with them in Vampire Academy (#1) and Frostbite (#2), waiting for the sexual tension to finally amount to something. In Shadowkiss (#3), I got what I wanted, only to be heartbroken. Blood Promise (#4) took me on an incredible journey (probably my favorite book of the series, FYI). And just when we thought it was over, Spirit Bound (#5) completely through me for a loop! Then, the conclusion of their story, Last Sacrifice (#6), was perfect for everyone... well, expect for he-who-must-not-be-named. Not Voldemort, of course, but I don't want to give it away.
What I Didn't Love:
Lissa. I'm sorry, but she was annoying. Until the end of the series, when she finally got some guts, I was cringing during the points where we had to deal with her. I appreciated her friendship with Rose, but I just didn't feel very much depth to her character... and this was a 6 book series.
The other love interests. I know that Rose is a flirt and likes to have her fun, but I didn't appreciate the fact that she continually dragged on relationships with other guys when she was hopelessly in love with Dimitri. Obviously, she thought that her and Dimitri would never, ever, happen, and was just trying to get on with her life. But I think that Richelle Mead could have done a better job at making the other love interests actual competition for Dimitri.
The repetitiveness. Every novel in the Vampire Academy series starts out with a recap of the previous novel's events. If I had a nickel for every time that Mead explained to the reader what the Moroi and Strigoi and Dhampirs were, I would have too many nickels. This was extremely annoying for those reading each book in the series back-to-back, and I had to skip over several pages at a time.
Overall, Vampire Academy is one of my favorite paranormal series of all time! If you haven't read these yet, I seriously urge you to do so. Fans of paranormal romance and vampire stories will love them!!(less)
From the description of this book and the notoriety of the author, one expects The Absolutely True Diar...moreOriginally posted at the Redhead Heroines blog!
From the description of this book and the notoriety of the author, one expects The Absolutely True Diary to be heavy--weighed down by societal issues, controversial topics, and generally dense material.
But it's not. Diary is intensely readable. Once you fall into Junior's head, it seems almost effortless to read this book.
But Alexie is so deceiving. He talks about zits and pretty white girls and basketball woes one minute, then throws in a racial slur or two, an unexpected and tragic death, and general heartbreak another minute. But still, the narrative does not slow. Still Junior keeps his composure. Still the book is readable and enjoyable at that.
The characters in Diary seemed doomed to live their lives according to their circumstances: those born poor and Indian will die poor and Indian. Those born rich and white will die rich and white. Those born ignorant will die ignorant.
And just when it seems like one of them managed to escape, (Junior attending Reardan rather than the Rez school, his sister Mary following her true love to Montana), they fall right back into their innate conditions again.
The complications that arise when these characters try to break free from their social circumstances show that Diary is not simply an issue novel, because no issues are solved. The closest that the novel comes to a resolution is with Junior and Rowdy's relationship, but even this is not cut-and-dry.
At some points, the honesty of Diary is exhausting. It's difficult to know what to do when 13 year old Junior says with a straight face:
"It sucks to be poor, and it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor," (13).
"I don't know if hope is white. But I do know that hope for me is like some kind of mythical creature," (51).
"'Just remember this,' my father said. 'Those white people aren't better than you.' But he was so wrong. And he knew he was wrong. He was the Indian father of a loser Indian son living in a world built for winners," (55).
"There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make that pain go away," (107)
"I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other. It was like being Indian was my job, but it was only a part-time job. And it didn't pay very well," (118).
With such constant honesty, it's difficult to take a consistent message from Diary, to know what to glean from the text.
However, perhaps Diary's greatest success is the authenticity of Junior. The reader can never second-guess Junior's narrative, because he doesn't leave anything out. He is a true protagonist and through him, Alexie delivers a true portrait of a modern Native American existence that is as heartbreaking as it is readable.(less)