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: Secret

Secret by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Secret
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Published: January 28th 2014 by Kensington Teen
Received from: NetGalley
Purchase: Book Depository | Amazon
Synopsis: Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point. Keep his grades sky-high or he’ll never escape his hometown. Keep his brother’s business going or the Merricks will be out on the street. Keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his own twin—-or he’ll lose his family. Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who’s supposed to be his “girlfriend’s” partner.

Of course there’s also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. There’s a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.

Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?

Unlike its predecessors the story focuses on Nick and Quinn rather than Nick and his love interest and there’s far less action based conflict. Secret reads like a YA contemporary issue book with a tinge of the paranormal. The usual action packed plot comes secondary to all the problems faced by both Quinn and Nick, I didn’t really mind but the story did drag at times.

I was surprised when I found myself more intrigued with Quinn’s character. I cheered on her badassery and nodded in approval every time she stood up for herself but it quickly devolved into frustration and confusion at her progression. She’s full of resentment and jealously and she makes stupid decisions at times, it is hard to like her but eventually she grew on me. As for Quinn’s love interest, I initially hated him but somehow Brigid Kemmerer convinced me that there was more to his character. Their romance still makes me cringe but they complement each other very well.

Nick is completely paralysed by his fear of rejection and throughout the majority of the book he is indecisive and scared of the choices he must make, understandable so. He is uncertain and insecure which causes him to be an ass at times but he is also suffering from the weight of the secret he carries around, inadvertently hurting people. His struggle was prolonged, it added to the realism of his situation but it was boring at times.

In Secret, he finds relief and comfort in Adam. I like Adam well enough, he’s a good for and with Nick. He’s independent, confident, playful, sarcastic and determined but he’s not really memorable especially since Quinn stole the spotlight from him. Their romance wasn’t as exciting as I hoped it would be but it was warm and sweet and as realistic as a paranormal can get. They just didn’t have me as reeling as when I read Breathless, Nick’s novella. As for the action, it was definitely a bang. There was a lot of it crammed into a few chapters but it was very much appreciated and enjoyable. It was the part of the book that grabbed my attention the most.

Throughout this book I felt a whiplash of emotions but in the end Secret surprised me. I spent the first half conflicted, torn between dislike and utter disappointment. It wasn’t a good place to be but it wrapped up so satisfyingly, all my negative feelings were soothed and I finished Secret with a smile (more like a smile then OH DAMN!) on my face. It covers a whole range of issues and they were handled beautifully, the whiplash was worth it in the end.

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for approving me to review this title.
3.5 Stars