Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Paranormal Series: The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Paranormal Series: A series of literature reviews of Young Adult Paranormal Romances. 

Don't let the cover fool you- she looks nothing like this in the book.

There is a world within our own. Within this world reside a race of royal and non-royal vampires called Moroi, and their guardian race of half Mori, the dhampirs. Rose Hathaway is a guardian-in-training at a secret school for Moroi and Guaridans in rural Montana along with her best friend, Lissa Dragomir, a Moroi princess and last of her line. After being on the run from the school officials for two years, the girls are forced back to campus and the Moroi world to finish off their schooling together. However, the girls have a secret. Using a Moroi ability that has not been seen in hundreds of years, Lissa was able to bring Rose back from the dead, bonding Rose to her mind and emotions. This powerful ability comes with a price and Lissa's sanity remains in the balance. Meanwhile, our protagonist, Rose, must finish out her training to guard the Moroi against the violent and unsound Strigoi which want to see an end to the Moroi way of life. In order to catch up on lost time, she must take extra fighting classes with a new guardian trainer, Dimitri. Romantic tensions rise between the two until Lissa is suddenly kidnapped and Rose must go after her best friend before it is too late.

Talk about starting off with a bang; where has this series been all my life? This book seems to have a double layer of antagonism within its pages. On one side, there are the Strigoi and evil Moroi that wish harm on Rose and Lissa. While these antagonists are the more obvious foe, they seem to have simple methods to face the issue: violence. On the other side, however, is the underscored, teen-relevant issue that plagues Lissa leading to cutting and other self-destructive behavior. Richelle Mead delicately weaves notions of self-harm and the importance of getting help in the situations. More importantly Mead makes sure to state that it is not the fault of the one who suffers in how they deal with their suffering.

Rose Hathaway, being half Turkish and half Scottish, is the first main character in my quest to have some diversity. She is noted with dark skin, black-ish hair, dark eyes, and womanly curves. It is a breath of fresh air in my mind's eye to envision a main character that does not look exactly like the character in the last book I read.

St. Vladimir- patron saint of blood suckers apparently
Rose, while an impressive bad-ass in her fighting ability, does make some pretty poor choices in the book and in how she deals with Lissa. Many of the issues faced could have been solved if she was just honest with an adult about them. But, I think that is what makes a good teen point of view. Rose does learn about her mistakes and does eventually elicit Dimitri's help in the matter.

As for the Dimitri love interest, he is the perfect Russian cliche for her to be crushing on. He seems to have little personalty (in this book at least), and is much older than Rose. Older enough, in fact, for their love (sex included in book 3) to be considered statutory rape between a student and teacher. Honestly, this bothers me a whole lot. I don't know if Mead was trying to make a point or something, but this could have been easily fixed if Rose had her birthday earlier than the sexual act. That way if would be awkward, but not so highly illegal. I can understand a 17 year old girl being blinded by love for her teacher (I was a teenager at one point), but a 24 year old man should honestly know better. At least he should understand that if he truly loves her and wants to be with her, then they can wait a while. The only reason I can think of for this is maybe the pressing feel of the short life of a guardian? They do tend to die early because of the constant fighting.

That being said, there obviously some sexual moments (nothing pornographic) and some language so I would note that for younger-young adult readers.

By the way, I also found out this was made into a graphic novel. I will try and do a separate, quick review of it later but it looks awesome!

My score:


book cover of the novel Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead and published in 2007. Jacket design was done by Emilian Gregory, the cover artist. The publishing company is a branch of Penguin Group called Razorbill.  for further information on the series

Monday, December 15, 2014

Paranormal Series: The Hallow by Jessica Verday

Paranormal Series: A series of literature reviews of Young Adult Paranormal Romances. 

Poor Abbey has just lost her best friend, Kristen. Prepare to hear about it for 513 pages. Abbey lives in Sleepy Hollow; yes, THAT Sleepy Hollow from the Washington Irving book. She enjoys making perfume, drinking a tad too much hot chocolate for a normal girl, and visiting graves to talk to dead people, such as her friend Kristen. It was at one of these daily trips to the cemetery (you know, like normal teenage girls do) that Abbey meets Caspian. Caspian has intensely green eyes and a dark streak among his strikingly blonde hair. She instantly falls for him. But what could he be hiding...?

This book is pretty terrible among the YA PR world. Jessica Verday has a great setting for a spooky ghost romance and instead spends 480 pages telling us that Abbey goes to school and back home.

There is just way too much build-up, it is utterly boring. In fact, you do not even find out what Caspian is until the epilogue. There is no antagonist at all. The book ends with her going to live with her aunt because she feels crazy, leaving Caspian behind. Is she the only one that can see him? Why is he here? Why do we even care?

Another issue is the guy. I like my PR's like I like my HBO shows: full of drama. The guy needs to defy the norm for teenage boys because they are immortal badasses that are obsessed with this one, plain, girl and teeters on that line from protective to abusive in their love. That is what I like in my PR men.

But Caspian seems childish and boring. He doesn't want to protect her and doesn't do the whole "I can't stay away from you" thing.

To leave on a good note: it was unique to see a more realistic reaction to the events. "This guy that I have been secretly been seeing kinda treated me like trash then told me he died last year" --moves to live with aunt because obviously snapped from the pressure.

My score: