by Richelle Mead
Published: August 16, 2007
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.
There are books with too typical storylines you practically ignore them in bookstores. There are books with “meh” covers and titles that don’t really spike up your interest. That’s what I initially thought of this one, and I just proved it’s actually neither. Having nothing else to read for the break, I started on this one with no evident appetite. At first read, I thought it was...okay. But then after several chapters, I was already maniacally laughing out loud with every turn of the pages. Its epic coolness suddenly made me regret I hadn’t followed my friends’ recommendations in reading this series real earlier.
The best part of it that especially got me was the heroine. You’d think humor is a common enough trait added by authors to their protagonists in most YA novels to add taste and interest. Count this one out. Rosemarie Hathaway is the sexy, smartass kind of hilarious that’ll get you totally snickering, scoffing, and even hysterically laughing at almost every page. That and the fact that she’s very different from other female perspectives. Most authors create their heroines appealing more to their emotions especially in insta-love plots, and I sometimes find these annoying and boring. That’s why Rose rules, because she always weighs and makes her decisions wisely, and she doesn’t let her selfish feelings take over, like any other sane, normal, kickass guardian should do. It’s the type of book which, in your excitement to finish it, you just grab a copy at the bookstore and read it there, all the while squealing swoonfully at the process, not minding the hard glares you get from other people, because you just oh so love and admire it and you couldn’t care less about what they thought.
The vampire theory was also simple, but I liked it because it didn’t follow on the common, repetitive vampire culture and description. It also had its own monarchy and laws which presented it as well thought out, and the story has also the usual political conflict, but not elaborated enough as to make it wearisome and arid. The writing was simple but interesting, not to mention funny, especially with the witty trash-talks, snarky comments, and smartass exchanges of natters. I go really crazy during these parts. And you should absolutely read the ending to get what I mean. Instead of the supposed to be sentimental and dramatic ending, I ended up laughing in its outstanding humor. Not a total cliffhanger, but it made me want to suddenly read the next book already! A very good read, this one!
"I'm glad you're better," he said. His mouth sounded like it was almost in my hair, just above my ear. "When I saw you fall..."
"You thought, 'Wow, she's a loser.'"
"That's not what I thought."