A Pleasant Surprise: Review of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 11.27.26 AM

vampireacademy

Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy #1

Richelle Mead

2007

3.5stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever.


 

I’m not exactly sure why I had Vampire Academy on my “Nope” shelf. Maybe it had something to do with reviews, or the fact that people say the series goes downhill, but I had resolved not to read it. That is, until now. I meant to read one “Nope” selection each month, but as soon as I finished Beautiful Creatures, I knew I had to give another one a chance. I wasn’t a fan of BC, but I’m happy to say that this challenge hasn’t been a complete failure yet. I really did enjoy Vampire Academy.

For the most part, I really did love Rose. Besides her hang up on being labeled a slut and how she treated Mia, she was a pretty awesome character. I guess when it comes down to it I like really sassy characters, but also some pretty rude ones. Maybe it’s just after a sea of Mary Sue’s who are super sweet, it’s refreshing to find female who isn’t afraid to be a bitch some times. And I say that with complete and total respect. Bitches really do get shit done.

Lissa, on the other hand, wasn’t my favorite. For the majority of the book she was pretty boring and way too safe. Towards the end I started to enjoy her more, but then again it just goes to show that I enjoy characters that have a bit of darkness inside of them. Hell, while watching the Vampire Diaries I completely hated Stefan until he went ripper on everyone. Team Damon all the way (also, case where the TV show is about 5000x better than the books). Anyway, back to Vampire Academy.

For the first time in awhile I actually liked both the love interests (for Rose and Lissa; no love triangle in sight…yet). Well, if you could really call Dmitri a love interest. I mean, I was a bit weirded out by the age difference between Dmitri and Rose, but probably more so with myself because I was totally behind it.

This was definitely one of the better vampire books I’ve read. I loved the world Mead created, even if I think the Moroi are a bit lame with their “only use magic for good” and “no compulsion” rules. I definitely think that the rest of the series will be testing that so I’m excited to move on the second book eventually. But I loved the different classes of vampires and the vampire royalty aspect. It reminded me a lot of The Southern Vampire Mysteries (True Blood) that I really enjoyed for the first few books (and seasons).

I totally guessed the ending, but it doesn’t bother me that much. Overall, I was extremely pleased with how this book turned out.

nopechallenge

Why I didn’t want to read it:      I don’t remember. Probably reviews.

Why I changed my mind:    General interest in the series

Do I regret reading it?:    Not at all!

Will I continue the series?:    Definitely

My first “Nope” Review: Beautiful Creatures

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 11.27.26 AM

Before I even started my blog, I knew I wanted to set a few challenges for myself in 2016.  There were a bunch of series I wanted to start and a bunch to finish.  I also wanted to actually take a second look at books that I had previously labeled “Nope” for some reason or another.  Usually due to others reviews I decided not to read certain books, and I decided that simply wasn’t fair and I wanted to give the books a try, because maybe I would find a book that I actually really enjoyed.  You can check out the original post here.

My first book in this “Nope Challenge” was Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

beautifulcreatures

 

Beautiful Creatures

Caster Chronicles #1

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

2009

2stars

Goodreads


Is falling in love the beginning . . . or the end?

In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets . . .

There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head . . . Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes.

There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised. And no one can stop it.

In the end, there is a grave.

Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming.


 

Obviously since this was on my “Nope” shelf, reviews had warned me against it.  But I really just had to see it for myself.  So where should I start?

The writing is really bad. Honestly, I recognized this on the second page. I can sometimes look past bad writing if I’m invested in the plot.  Hell, I’m not winning any awards for my writing.  But, it was really, really bad in this. And, on top of bad writing, the pacing of the plot is too slow, yet oddly jumbled and confusing at many points.  I mean, I enjoyed the overall plot.  I thought the world Garcia and Stohl created was interesting and deep, if only a bit confusing, but this book did not have to be 500 pages.  There are some books that do.  There are some books that NEED to be 800 pages long and every single word is important.  This is not one of them.  Again, take 200 pages off, speed up the plot and it probably would have gotten a better rating, bad writing and all.

I liked the setting.  I haven’t read too many “Southern Gothics” and this book really made me interested in them, mainly because it didn’t do that great of a job creating the South for me. I mean, I know the South can still be pretty backwards (well America can just be pretty backwards sometimes, so it’s wrong to just point to the South), but I have a real hard time believing that this book is supposed to take place in the present day with how they treat Lena.  Totally not believable.  But I am totally interested in reading more Southern Gothic stories.

I did like that it was a male POV, except for the fact that it was so hard to remember that Ethan was a dude.  He didn’t sound like any 16 year old boy I ever met.  I’m not trying to say that he wasn’t manly enough, I just think that the authors don’t know how to write from the male perspective.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Ethan, but he wasn’t half as bad as Lena.

Lena, hmm I don’t even know what I can really say about her except I hated her. Like if there is nothing you can do about possibly going dark, then get the fuck over it.  She was so god damn melodramatic I wanted to rip my hair out.  Honestly, Ridley was the best character and it made me realize that I am sick of reading about the “good” side.  The dark side might be a nice place to set a story.

Both Ethan and Lena are extremely stupid. I mean they have this whole conversation over what the clue “Claim Yourself” means.  That’s when I lost it.  I would have thrown the book across the room if I hadn’t been reading on the computer or if I hadn’t been at work. Their romance was so disgustingly gag-worthy.  It’s insta-love of epic proportions, even if they don’t admit it right away.  The way Ethan thinks about Lena makes me want to throw up.  Not even my high school boyfriend was that cheesy.

The ending was entirely too convenient and it made me pretty angry.

This would have been a great book. If not for the characters.  Or the pacing.  Or the writing.  Obviously I finished it. I read 567 pages, so it gets 2 stars because I just need to prove to myself that I didn’t waste my time.

nopechallenge

Why I didn’t want to read it:      Reviews

Why I changed my mind:    Popularity

Do I regret reading it?:    Not exactly

Will I continue the series?:    Probably not

2016 “Nope” Reading Challenge

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 3.05.56 PM.png

Happy Halloween!  This is my first official post as I try to start a book blog!   I thought I would start with planning the books I intend to read in the upcoming year.  I always try to set goals for my reading, although I haven’t been very good at achieving them.  I’m hoping that this blog will help hold me accountable.

Due to reviews that I have read in the past I have labelled quite a few books “nope” or “dnr”.  These are mostly young adult titles that the majority of my friends have disliked so i have avoided.  My “Nope” list is almost 130 books long and I feel quite bad that I haven’t given them a fair chance. I’m sure they suck as much as my friends say they do but who knows? Maybe I’ll be surprised.  So for 2016 I have decided to take 12 of titles off of my “nope” list and read (or at least attempt to read) them.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.27.22 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.27.15 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.27.39 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.28.04 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.26.53 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.27.09 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.27.29 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.27.00 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.29.46 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.26.46 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.27.48 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-17 at 3.20.42 PM

Most of them are beginnings of series and towards the end I was even running out of books I was even slightly interested in reading.  Obviously it’s not 2016 yet but it’s never too early to start planning my next year of reading.