I realized while writing my previous review, that it would be pointless comparing Vampire Academy and Twilight any further than saying that the former is enjoyable for those who like YA and the latter is the excrement of a diseased yak.

More valuable, I think, is comparing two readable series. Especially because, though I am a die-hard Ravenclaw, Mead’s opus avoids/mitigates/corrects some of the issues I’ve always had with Rowling’s series.

Now, before I go any further, I must confess where my allegiances lie. I own all seven books in the Harry Potter series, the two “school books”, and the Tales of Beedle the Bard. Rowling’s writing is superb, her characters are unforgettable, and the sense of wonder one gets from visiting Hogwarts is hard to top. Now, if only she hadn’t been writing teens…

One of my favorite aspects of Vampire Academy, is that it is essentially narrated by the sidekick. Rose is a butt-kicking half-vampire, but her friend Lissa is the orphaned princess with rare magical powers. And frankly we’ve heard enough from those sorts (other than Harry himself, Rand from Wheel of Time and Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender come to mind as whiny teenage messiahs). It’s far more refreshing to hear from someone who has accepted the role of bodyguard/sidekick.

(The clever use of a psychic bond allows Rose to narrate events happening to Lissa even when they are apart. It gives the whole series an excellent continuing dual storyline.)

As I mentioned in my last post, I tend to roll my eyes at teenagers saving the world time and again. And, while Rose Hathaway is certainly Buffy-esque in her ability to kick vampire butt, she is also cognizant of reality and often (though not always) seeks and gains the help of adults when going into battle (I’m looking at you, Dumbledore’s Army). It helps that her world is constantly at war with the Strigoi (evil vampires), something that could have made Hogwarts a heckuva lot more interesting.

What’s my point will this comparison? Every genre has its giants, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. New authors can learn from these and improve on them.

I’m sure I’ll tie this in to Dracula someday.

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