by Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy Introduction
In a Nutshell
Stop us if you've heard this one before: a young, headstrong girl thinks she's got the world figured out and butts heads with anyone who says otherwise. It sounds like the latest teen film to hit theaters, right?
Well, close. It actually describes the story told in Vampire Academy, where seventeen-year-old Rose learns a lot about life (and herself) while at school. Oh, and did we mention that she's a kick-butt dhampir who guards her Moroi princess BFF, Lissa, from super-strong, immortal vampires called Strigoi? Because she is and she does, which is pretty standard fare at Vampire Academy.
Rose certainly has her work cut out for her, but don't think the book is all about teaching her a lesson—she's also got a whirlwind forbidden romance and some pretty deep, dark secrets to keep about her friend's magical talents. It's a pretty exciting mix of teenage drama and adventures, with vampire action to boot.
Vampire Academy was published in 2007 and was an instant success with its young adult audience. The book launched a six-part series, each revolving around the life of the main gal Rose and her life at school. The series has sold eight million copies worldwide, and was so popular that author Richelle Mead created a spin-off series called Bloodlines so the minor characters from Vampire Academy could get a little time in the spotlight.
Enjoy the ride, and watch out for fangs.
Why Should I Care?
Maybe you're not into this whole vampire phase that has swept the nation, with Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and Vampire Academy attracting everyone from teenage girls to moms with minivans. Even if you haven't been bitten by the craze, though, there's no denying that vampires have found their way into the hearts of tons of people. Not convinced? Vampire Academy has sold in thirty-four countries and launched a hit series, which makes it pretty darn popular in Shmoop's book.
But why have so many people fallen for Vampire Academy specifically? We think part of the answer lies in its universal themes. Beneath the specifics of the Morois and dhampirs, the novel contains some recurring motifs that have been popular in storytelling for a seriously long time… especially forbidden love.
You've seen similar stories before, and forbidden love forms the basis of many famous tales, including Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Arthurian legend's Guinevere and Lancelot, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome, and even Disney's The Little Mermaid. It seems like just about everyone enjoys a bit of romance that throws caution to the wind.
Additionally, Vampire Academy combines aspects of our modern day world with the mythological. Rose checks her email, goes to the mall, and hangs out with kids from her school, but she also is in training to protect her Moroi friend against the dangerous and mysterious Strigoi. Part of the novel's appeal comes from the fact that it takes everyday life and spices it up with a bit of mystery, mythology, and danger.
Whether you're in it for the vampires, the forbidden romance, the teen drama, or the fighting, Vampire Academy has something for just about everyone in its pages.