After being on the run for two years, Rose (a dhampir) and Lissa (Moroi) are finall brought back to St. Vladimire's -- a school for Moroi (good vampires with elemental magic) and dhampirs (half human, half vampire).
Though Rose and Lissa are best friends, they are as different as night and day. Lissa is kind, gentle and sweet. The last of the Dragomir line, she worries about living up to her family name (and the reputation of her older brother). Lissa also worries that she hasn't "specialized" yet -- she has a low control over all the elements, but hasn't mastered one of them like the rest of her peers. Lissa also struggles with high school dynamics.
In contrast, Lissa's best friend Rose, is reckless, loud and sassy. Rose and Lissa share a bond that allows Rose to know where Lissa is and how she is feeling -- making Rose the perfect candidate to become Lissa's guardian. Rose's reckless behavior, however, may prevent that from happening.
Retruning to St. Vlad's after two years away proves to be more difficult than either of them imagined. Social politics have changed, and the girls find themselves the center of several rumors; and when the truth of one particular rumor comes out, it does more harm than good for Rose Hathaway's reputation.
In addition to social pressure, Lissa begins developing a special ability that's been long forgotten in Moroi history. It's this ability that makes her a target to Strigoi and Moroi alike.
There is a lot going on in this first book. Mead slowly pieces together why Rose and Lissa left St. Vlad's in the first place while introducing the world, the characters and the central storyline. Though this feels like a lot of information to cram into a 332 page book, Mead does it flawlessly. Not once does the reader feel like there is an information overload.
"Vampire Academy" is a thrilling read that draws the reader in until the last page. In a market saturated with young adult vampire books, Mead's "Vampire Academy" stands apart with innovative vampire lore and amazing writing.
Mead will take you on an emotional roller coaster, and the twists, turns and loop-de-loops only get more intense as the series continues.