Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – 332 pages
Rose, a dhampir guardian-in-training, and Lissa, the vampire classmate she protects, have been on the run for two years. They are finally tracked down and taken back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampires and their half-human, half-vampire guardians. Rose has a bond with Lissa, and must try to keep their secrets while they both navigate the hierarchy of the school’s social world; not all foes are on the outside.
This series has an interesting take on the world of vampires, setting up the group of good Moroi against the dark Strigoi. But who knew teenage vampires created the same schoolyard drama as ordinary humans? We see the bad boy and the strong silent type, and among the girls, the wallflower and the social climber. The snappy dialogue isn’t enough to keep the high school games from growing old, and the villains are not so very villainous. Rose, with all her flaws, does serve as a narrator that can spin the story well, though we wish she was better at doling out pieces of key information at better times. The emotions she and the other characters experience ring powerfully and true, and that aspect of the narrative was enough of a hook to carry me through the end of the book, if not enough to want to continue the series.