Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead 4.5 stars

After seeing this series in the bookstore taunting me and hearing high praise from Allison (The Allure of Books) I decided to try it out. Now I can’t keep from pushing it at people. I’m sorry Twilight lovers, although I like Twilight too, this series kicks its ass. There are no weak heroines here depending on her sparkling emo-vampire to rescue her or any sparkling vampires for that matter. The world Meade creates in this series is original, multi-dimensional and just plain kickass.
In Meade’s world Strigoi are the ones considered vampires. They are dead beings consumed by blood lust. Moroi, feed on blood but they are very much alive and possess magical powers stemming from the elements of Earth. They specialize in either water, earth, air or fire. Soon it is discovered that there maybe a fifth element of magic. Dhampirs, are the body guards of Morois, since Moroi are too weak to protect themselves and dhampirs need moroi to survive. As the series continues the relationship is subjected to scrutiny and more politics come into play.
For this book though we are introduced to Lissa, a Moroi princess, and Rose, her Dhamphir guardian. The two have been away from St. Vladimir’s for reasons described in the book. Both girls share a psychic connection which lends to their unique relationship. At first I was not quite feeling Rose and her brassy tough girl attitude or Lissa’s seemingly meek personality. I sometimes felt that Rose sacrificed too much for Lissa and it didn’t seem like Lissa reciprocated, but this gets explained and changes through the continuation of the series. It took me reading the second book to really love both of these girls, although Rose has toned down her attitude she still can get on my nerves by constantly reminding readers how much of a badass she is.
What I loved most of all was the fast pace of the book. There is action, mystery, romance, and political intrigue that makes the whole story engrossing, fun and yes even hot at times. I don’t recommend this for younger YA readers. Yes, this one is pretty tame with no sex but our heroines are in their late teens and as the storyline continues there is sex and some alcoholic enjoyment.