**Warning: This review contains spoilers**EDIT: July 2014 -
Since apparently my original review wasn't clear enough, I'll be inserting more of my musings as to why I didn't like this book from the comments section.May 2011 -
Well here I am, finally writing my review for Vampire Academy after finishing it about four months ago (Wow, has it really been that long already?). I’ve had many long debates with myself over what I wanted to say, and now I think it’s time I finally said them.
Let me start by saying I had extremely high expectations for VA, given that it has over 70,000 ratings with an average of 4.23 stars. I thought there was no way I wouldn’t LOVE this book, but sadly I was mistaken. To be honest, I don’t see why this book is so popular. It has a somewhat interesting concept, but overall the characters and plot pissed me off. Sorry to be so blunt about it, but that’s the truth. Rose: The Main Character:
If I had to list my top 5 least favorite book characters, she would be high on the list. I detested her throughout the book. Why, you ask? She has almost no redeeming qualities. Her main character traits are: she’s bad-tempered, violent, reckless, defiant, arrogant, selfish, and encourages vengeance. I will give her some credit though (before you start yelling at me) that yes, she’s a tough girl who can kick some serious butt if she needs to, and as the book goes on she does get somewhat
more responsible with her duties.
However, Rose is probably one of the most self-absorbed characters I've come across. Yes, she's supposed to be caring for another person, but she lets her own jealousies get in the way and tries to sabotage Lissa's relationship with another guy when it was obvious he made Lissa happy. Rose even basically says at one point that she wanted to forget about Lissa because she was feeling horny and wanted to do something bad. Rose only cared about her own feelings and screwed with people just because she felt like it.
It's nice having a main character (especially if it's a girl) that can take care and defend herself instead of being a mary-sue who always trips and falls on her face. But honestly, what is so cool about a girl who's mean just to be mean? What is so badass about a girl who goes behind their "friend's" back and tries to ruin their relationship with another guy? What is so awesome about a girl who heartlessly uses and abuses people? Who thinks she's better than everyone else and hotter than everyone else?
There's a difference between being proud of yourself/your body and thinking that you're better than everyone and abusing your powers of manipulation and good looks to get what you want.
A few quotes to illustrate my point:
I liked flirting, I liked groups, and I liked making smartass comments in class. (page 91) Opinions on Rose and Dimitri’s developing “Romantic Relationship”:
He was boring, yes, but safe. Just like Natalie. How come all the harmless people were so lame? (page 69)
Momentarily forgetting Lissa, I focused my full attention on Jessie. Suddenly, I so needed to do something wild and bad. (page 103)
I was a pretty dhampir, one who didn't mind getting into trouble and pulling crazy stunts. I became a novelty; they liked having me around for the fun of it."
You flirted with the other guys simply for the sake of flirting. You flirted with Jesse in the hopes of getting semi-naked with him. He was a royal Moroi, and he was so hot, he should have worn awarning: flammable sign."
"I knew I was pretty, but to Moroi boys, my body was more than just pretty: it was sexy in a risqué way."
"I knew perfectly well that there weren't a lot of girls at this school who looked as good in a bra as I did."
Rose: "Hey Mason, wipe the drool off your face. If you're going to think about me naked, do it on your own time.”
Mason: "This is my time, Hathaway. I'm leading today's session.”
Rose: "Oh yeah? Huh. Well, I guess this is a good time to think about me naked, then.”
Eddie: "It's always a good a time to think about you naked."
Rose: "She thinks you're a freak, but she's too nice to say anything.”
Christian: "But you aren't too nice?”
Rose: "No. Not when I feel sorry for someone.”
Christian: "I'm a lot of things, but I'm not a liar. That's your department. And Rose's.”
Lissa: "We don't—”
Christian: "Exaggerate stories about people's families? Say that you hate me? Pretend to be friends with people you think are stupid? Date a guy you don't like?”
Dimitri: "It won't happen to you. You're too . . ."
Rose: He groped for the right word, and I mentally substituted all sorts of possibilities. Goddess-like. Scorchingly sexy.
I’m sorry fan girls, but Dimitri didn’t exactly woo me like I expected he would. And the budding romance between Dimitri and Rose (gag) was weird and unrealistic. The only apparent reason Rose is drawn to Dimitri is because he’s a handsome “badass,” who also happens to be older than her. I guess it would be typical for a rebellious girl like her to go after the “ experienced bad boy,” though. And when Dimitri finally admits he likes her too, the first reason he offers up is because of her appearance. The whole thing just seems rather shallow, cliche, and underdeveloped. The only real thing they have in common is their duty to guard and protect.
Also, having two main characters feel "mysteriously drawn to each other" is NOT an excuse for a lack of romantic development. I want to know why they like each other (for reasons other than beauty), I want to see them get to know each other over time, and perhaps later, they can take their relationship to the next level. Plot and Writing Style - Basic Thoughts:
Pros: There was
something addicting about the book, I cant exactly say what though considering I have so many complaints about it. Perhaps I was just curious about what other sort of trouble Rose would get herself into. The overall plot was somewhat interesting, especially the different classes of vampires. And the writing style wasn’t bad, easy to read and decent on description.
Cons: Wayyyy too much inappropriate material in VA for this to be considered a Young Adult book, in my honest opinion. Same thing goes for a book (series) similar to this one, The House of Night. Sex, drugs, drinking, etc. Now believe me, I’m not a prude. I know this stuff happens in the teen world ALL the time (partly I think because it's so romanticized in the media). And the thing about sex in a book is, ok fine, it's part of the progression in a relationship between two people, but seriously, you can't expect me to be happy about it when they have sex (or almost have sex) when their relationship hasn't progressed much at ALL. This goes for YA books with sex in general. I mean jeez, at least the Twilight series waited until the fourth book until Bella and Edward did the deed. I'm not against pre-marrital sex, but I just think there should be a little more time passed and growth in the relationship before the clothes start flying off.
Things like this (media like books, tv shows, movies) only perpetuate that as a teen, being popular, being beautiful, and being incomplete without a significant other are the only important things you should care about. It perpetuates this oversexualized ideal that we think we're supposed to be at such a young age. It perpetuates this immaturity and rudimentary set of priorities. One scene that really pissed me off (spoiler alert):
That near sex scene at the end of chapter twenty. I have never wanted to chuck a book at the wall so much (don’t worry, I contained myself). I calmed down slightly after I found out they only almost slept together because of the enchanted necklace, but still, it made me really peeved. It felt like Mead just wanted to shove that in there for shock value. I MEAN COME ON, what were you thinking Richelle Mead? Did you wake up one day and say “I know! I’ll have the villain give her a magic sexy-time necklace!” (Not that Rose needed one…)
REALLY??? My review in a nutshell:
Did this book meet my high expectations? NOT AT ALL
More cons than pros, hardly any likeable characters (If I had to chose I’d say my favorite was Christian), and just an overall disappointment. Will I read the sequel(s)? Eh…maybe. If I find them in the library, perhaps, but right now I don’t plan on buying any more books in the VA series.
EDIT: A review that shares my opinions, better explained than mine: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... Note to VA lovers: I ask you to please respect my opinions, as I respect yours. If you love this book, then I'm happy for you. It just wasn't for me.