Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
Honestly? I'd avoided this series for a long time. Back in the day, when the lingering, sparkly afterglow of Twilight could still be felt, I'd tried a few of the read-alikes, and was essentially halted by the unintentional hilarity of Vampire Diaries. While its reputation was jokey, I had no idea that Vampire Academy was actually jokey on purpose. Or, rather, it has a fun, fast pace, and a wicked snarky narrator in the form of Rose Hathaway, who has got to take her place among my favorite YA characters of all time for her sense of humor, sense of responsibility and her happy lack of a sense of shame.
The world building draws from actual Romanian/Hungarian vampire lore, setting it apart immediately from its peers/contemporaries. And the main character relationship is, shock of shocks, the unbreakable bond of a female friendship. It surprisingly handles themes of depression and self-harm with sensitivity and competence, without sounding preachy, or wandering into unhealthy territory. The world is solid, fun, the characters entertaining, funny. Lissa was sweet, though I didn't quite connect to her the way I feel I ought to, I nevertheless felt and understood Rose's devotion to her.
And I have to say, it's really nice to read YA that doesn't slut shame, and deals so frankly and happily with sex and sexuality. A fun read. Will definitely be seeing the series through to the end.