This review will look at Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy. Ms. Mead's MA in Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University fits well with her love of folklore and mythology; it's no surprise that Vampire Academy combines both.
The series won the 2010 Teen Read Awards, the 2011 Kids' Choice Awards, and the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards. As of 2013, the series has sold 8 million copies in 35 countries. Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters has just hit the big screen. The critics aren't impressed, but the target audience seems to be.
Lissa is a Moroi, a living vampire who wields elemental magic (earth, wind, fire, water, or a combo platter of sorts). It’s part of the Moroi nature, a gift that connects them to the world. The Moroi live in fear of the Strogoi, the undead vampires who have an existence “dark and twisted, the greatest of all sins, both against the Morio way of life and nature itself.” The Strigoi lose their vitality, gifts, and heart as they enter a soulless world devoid of light and life. Literally.
Rose is Lissa’s guardian. Her father abandoned her, her mother is totally uninvolved in her life, the girls in her school think she’s a slut, her teachers don’t trust her, and the boys just want to take advantage of her. But she is also Dhampir, half human and half vampire, and she lives to protect and serve Lissa to the point of giving her life (and sometimes her blood) for her.
The Moroi and their Dhampir protectors are always close, but Lissa and Rose have an unusual connection: Lissa brought Rose back from the dead. Now, Rose is one of the Shadow-kissed, bonded with Lissa in a way that allows her to feel her emotions and see through her eyes. It’s not a pretty sight.* The more Rose sees the world through Lissa’s eyes, the more her mission clarifies: “Save her from herself.” And when she thinks of herself as a savior, she’s not kidding. “I don’t believe in angels. I believe in what I can do for myself.”