Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead $8.99 [332 pages]
The five star ratings comes with a strong caution because of an ethics violation. "Ethics?" You ask me, which is when I plant my hands firmly on my hips and snort. "Do not allow your very young daughters to read this book!"
I bought my copy in the children's section, of the book store, after all, and Vampire Academy simply does not belong there. No 12-year-old should be reading stories that condone sex between adult teachers and impressionable young students.
Don't get me wrong. The romance between a 24-year-old guardian, Dimitri, and 17-year-old Rose Hathaway seemed very compelling in all of its presentation. Dimitri is hot, HOT, hot, but Rose is his STUDENT and she's a minor! (I worry this sort of book can give very young girls hope for establishing romance with teacher-predator types). Admittedly, the two are under some sort of spell when they "do it" and the teacher apologizes later. Yet the writing was so compelling, I was living vicariously through that student and seriously wanted to disrobe to show that teacher all of my stretch marks and cellulite. Readers be warned! (Things could get embarrassing)
Ethics aside, I think this is a most compelling read for adults. Rose proves extremely likeable even while flawed. She's the would-be guardian-in-training to Lissa, a rare-version of living-breathing (mortal) vampire with special gifts, and the two females form an extremely strong bond that gets Rose into numerous fist fights and other trouble. Sadly, Rose's best intentions regularly cause more harm than good; bless her adorable half-vampire self.
Mead writes brilliant dialog and the plot is extremely compelling and believable. Here's an example where Rose is considering a boy her own age, Manson, who she really likes (he utterly worships her) but she doesn't feel any chemical attraction for him; not like she feels for her instructor, whose seemingly indifferent at this point:
[page 195] "How hard would it be, I wondered, to go out with him? (Manson) He was nice, funny, and reasonably good-looking. We got along. Why did I get caught up in so many messes with other guys when I had a perfectly sweet one here who wanted me? Why couldn't I just return his feelings?
The answer? She's too mesmerized by her hunky self defense instructor and all other males pale by comparison. That's why! Fortunately, Mead also writes amusing details into the book's regular script.
[pag 193] There was so much testosterone in the air, I felt l needed a gas mask.
If it weren't for the ethics violation, I would definitely be giving this first book in the series ten out of five stars. I love all the teasers that Author Richelle Mead works into the plot, little snippets of information that keep the reader begging for more details as the bigger story unfolds. I loved this book so much I bought "Frostbite" (the next installment in this 6 book series). It's been just that wonderful to meet all the characters and to observe their individual evolutionary processes. I cannot wait to read more about Christian (Lissa's brooding boyfriend and he's so enjoyably mysterious).
Great entertaining and fast paced read!
(Reviewer's Admission: I bought this book and read it in paperback)