Let me start by admitting that I picked up the first book in Richelle Mead‘s Vampire Academy series with the intention of mocking it mercilessly, as I did to Twilight. Instead, I found myself quite enjoying the book, so much so that I went on to read the rest of the series.

As with Twilight, however, there are two ways to approach this series, to reflect its two genres: YA and Vampire. Where Twilight is both an abomination as a considered addition to the Vampire canon, as well as a corrupting work of perversion directed at impressionable young minds, Vampire Academy is neither.

Despite my audience, I won’t spend too much time on the vampire aspect. It’s no great shakes, but serves the plot well. The orthodox among us may be put off by the Moroi, or good, living vampires who comprise close to half of the characters, but I tend to view them not as vampires in the traditional sense, but as Hogwarts students who sip blood and wear shades. At least they don’t sparkle. And of course, there are the Strigoi, the evil, undead murderous vampires who are the ever-present threat of the series.

On to the YA perspective. This, I feel, is where the series shines. I don’t read all that much YA, though a few series, like Harry Potter, are close to my heart. In general, I find the conceit of children or teens saving the world to be too far-fetched. I recognize this may seem hypocritical or deluded, given that I am fine reading about monsters and magic, but while I like my settings fantastical, I prefer my characters believable. Mead does an excellent job of presenting her two protagonists, Rose and Lissa, as believable and likable.

Next time: Vampire Academy vs. Harry Potter