Review: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy

Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Published: August 16th 2007 by Razorbill
Purchase: Book Depository | Amazon
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.

Besides all the hype surrounding this book, a large motivation for me reading this series was Adrian Ivashkov. Although he doesn’t appear in the first book, reading Vampire Academy without him wasn’t painful as I expected it to be. It was crappy at some points, filled with clichés and cheesy dialogue but Rose Hathaway definitely made up for it.

Rose is sassy, sarcastic, completely confident and bold and so much fun to read. I like that she’s so stubborn and self-assured, I’ve never come across a heroine like her. At times she was ridiculous, her thoughts being a bit over the top and eye roll worthy but it amplifies the addiction that is Rose Hathaway.

My favourite aspect of the book was Lissa’s and Rose’s friendship. Rarely do I come across friends so fiercely protective and loyal to each other, it felt genuine and I love that it was such an important part of Rose’s life and the story. Usually, romance in YA tends to overshadow everything but there’s surprisingly little of it in this book. The romance really revolves around Lissa and I like her interactions with her love interest. They had a good will-they-or-won’t-they chemistry.

My problems with this book were the plot and just the high school shit drama that was irritating to read about. It was immature and boring and even when the action turned to the villain and the climax, it was still underwhelming. The book lacked that suspense and urgency, there wasn’t a build up and the fight sequences were quite disappointing. The writing didn’t do anything to enhance the experience, the dialogue was funny and sarcastic but it was also corny and made me cringe on several occasions.

There were a lot of things in this book that were quite forgettable but the things I did remember, Rose, her friendship with Lissa and the perfect balance of romance, left a strong impression on me. It didn’t go beyond being a fun, light read but it was enough to get me addicted to the series. Overall, it was okay.

Not Bad

3 Stars

Review: Allegiant


Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Published: October 22nd 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
Purchase: Book Depository | Amazon
Synopsis: The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Allegiant was a funny sort of read for me. I feel so detached from the series I once loved and enjoyed so completely. The Divergent series was always built on a shaky foundation and in Allegiant it crumbles and falls apart though I bear no dislike towards the most raged about ending.

What bothered me most was the explanation of the current state of the world. It’s so inconsistent, the puzzle pieces jagged and wrong for each other. There were too many questions and plot holes stopping me from enjoying this book. I became quite critical while reading it, like I was analysing poorly written text rather than a story I cherish. In comparison to many dystopian books, the reasoning behind the current chaos was more detailed but it was also sloppy and confusing. Even if I suspended my disbelief of people fucking up the United States as much as they had (because seriously, what’s going on with the rest of the world?) I never understood the point of it all.

I do not know if it was intentional but the POV’s from Tris and Four were so similar I could not distinguish their voices. It made me feel indifferent towards either character. Here was Four like we’ve never seen him before, vulnerable and insecure, angry and desperate yet I could not bring myself to care. All I felt towards him was frustration and disappointment. Had he not learnt anything from Tris in Insurgent? He was so easy to manipulate and while I can try to justify it by brushing it off to inner demons of abuse and insecurity it just seemed contrived.

Then there’s Tris, a character whom I admired and respected, described as plain and small yet strong suddenly evolves into this unicorn. A unicorn that is invincible, able to resist things unheard of. The fact that I am supposed to accept that Tris is special without any explanation cheapened the ending for me.

The pacing of the book is also different from its predecessors; it’s slow and halting often dumping tons of frustrating, poorly explained science into the laps of readers. Secondary characters die and drop like flies and it’s difficult to feel anything. New ones are introduced and again there’s little to care about because they all fall so flat. Even when things were coming to a climax I still felt confused and exasperated because by this point I had had enough. Conflicts are resolved so easily and conveniently, they felt like vessels to promote certain messages about love and sacrifice. Overall, it was a disappointing conclusion to the trilogy, the story was mess and there wasn’t enough room to develop the characters. It was just so lacking. As for some of the reasons I gave this 3 stars:
– The last 200 pages were still exciting and entertaining to read despite my frustrations.
– I really liked Christina.
– There were some beautifully written paragraphs and some particularly creative symbolism.
– I liked the glimpses of friendship and how important it is. I liked that males and females were shown to be friends, good friends, without it turning into romance.
– I’m still holding on to what I loved about the characters; Tris’ courage and steadiness, Four’s support and love, Christine’s loyalty and frankness.
– I really liked those last few chapters, when everything ends and there’s just the aftermath. Because that grief and pain makes the character seem genuine and human again.

3 Stars