Monday, February 10, 2014

Series Wrap Up | The Vampire Academy

Hey, all! 

Today I bring you my very first "Series Wrap Up" - where I talk about a series that I just finished, and share my general thoughts on it. Today's series? The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead!

This is the obligatory disclaimer in which I tell you that I will be discussing the series as a whole, and there will be spoilers. You have been warned. I don't want any angry trolls in the comments telling me that I ruined their lives by telling them who Rose ends up with. 

My entire reading experience during the Vampire Academy has been a little odd. I read the first book, Vampire Academy, and I loved it. "Here is a book that breaks the mold," I said to myself, as I happily threw myself into the VA world which included a different spin on teenage vampires, complete with unique characters, settings, and world building. I devoured Vampire Academy and I couldn't wait to read the rest of the series.

Frostbite came along, and it was just okay. This book suffered from what usually happens with the sequel to an amazing first book - the plot seems lack luster and I walk away feeling a bit let down. Frostbite wasn't terrible... but it definitely could not hold a candle to the first. 

And then we have Shadow Kiss. Shadow Kiss was a turning point in the series. Sh*t got real and Rose and co. were forced to face some serious stuff. After I read Shadow Kiss, I just didn't want to continue on with the series. Dimitri had become Strigoi and Rose blatantly told Lissa that she'd be leaving St. Vladimir's to avenge him. And I knew that it would be upsetting... and I knew that her journey would be long and involved... and it just felt tedious and exhausting to me. I persevered and moved into Blood Promise and it was everything that I was afraid it was going to be. 

Rose jetted off to Siberia to track down Dimitri and free him from a life as a Strigoi... and it was long, and emotional, and (sigh). I don't know what it is about stories that take main characters on a long, soul searching journey but they just make me tired. I knew that I was in for a ride when I opened up book #4, and it definitely was. But I wasn't in the correct frame of mind and so I was just over the story. I finished Blood Promise on November 7, 2012 and I walked away from the series. None of Rose's original goals had been resolved by the end of the book and I wasn't ready to commit to two more high drama books. 

Fast forward to, well, now and I finally decided to knock the last two books off of my TBR list... and I was incredibly surprised by how quickly I got sucked back up into the story. Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice were fast paced and action packed. I can't distinguish the details of the books from each other because they bleed into one another, but I was totally okay with that. And for possibly the first time in my life, I was totally okay and open to a love triangle that existed within a YA paranormal series. 

All in all, I did enjoy the Vampire Academy series. The series was fun, quirky, and different enough from the "typical" YA vampire romance story. I think that Richelle Mead did a nice job of constructing the world in which her characters lived which again, makes her series stand apart from the norm. Most of the time (but not all of the time, for sure), YA series do not seem very well thought out or put together. A vast majority of the series seem to have originated from one strong stand alone which publishing houses felt could be stretched into (unnecessary) series. Mead side stepped this, and I'm inclined to pick up her companion series - Bloodlines

I think that anyone who enjoys YA paranormal would enjoy this series. But then again, if that's you, chances are you've at least heard of this series, even if you haven't read it. But to the potential readers - I will caution you with this. Don't force yourself to read the series back to back. In fact, I'd warn you against it. I think that my overall opinion of the Vampire Academy would have doubled if I had not forced myself to read the books all in one shot! 

Have you read the series? Tell me your thoughts! I'd love to know if you've read Bloodlines and would recommend it.

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