Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With subtle anime and manga influence on the art style, Vampire Academy is an intriguing beginning to the graphic novel version of the popular book series of the same name. Rose and Lissa, fiercely loyal best friends with a psychic bond, have run away from the Academy, and are taken back in the book's opening. Princess Lissa is a kind of vampire called Moroi. Moroi are living beings, born vampires, who can practice magic. Rose, on the other hand, is a dhampir-- half Moroi, half human. Dhampir are guardians of the Moroi, who are the prey of choice of the vicious and feared Strigoi, immortal and undead creatures who gain much power from drinking Moroi blood. Once the two are back in the Academy to resume their training, they are dropped into the scheming and back-stabbing rumor-mill that is the student body, and quickly the virginal Rose is (falsely) accused of both sleeping with several classmates and also letting them drink her blood-- being a "blood-whore." While they were away from the Academy, Rose did let Lissa feed on her blood, an act that they both wish to remain secret, but that of course is leaked soon after their return. There are definite Sapphic overtones to the close friendship and the sharing of blood, but both characters have male love interests. There are flashbacks and incomplete information in this book that might make the reader feel as though he or she is missing something, but the graphic novel does stand alone from the text-only version, and instills a hope that much will be explained in the sequels. The characters are drawn and colored in a way that makes it easy to distinguish them from one another, and their facial expressions, from angry to playful to frightened, are also easily read without being over-exaggerated. Recommended for grades 8 and up.

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