It has officially been a while since I finished the book (okay so 2 weeks isn’t that long). It’s always telling when so little of it can be recollected. Thankfully, as I’m writing this it’s coming back to me and honestly it isn’t that great. Vampire Academy just kind of stumbled and fell flat on it’s face for me. I do however want to offer a hand and help it back up to continue on the journey at least for now.
My biggest problem with this book was actually Rose. Considering that she is the main protagonist who we see the world through her eyes, that’s a big problem. Rose was irritating. She didn’t do much thinking. As a result she didn’t do much thinking. Rose was highly reactionary in this book. She didn’t really take the initiative at all in the present. For the most part this could be explained away, by her being essentially on probation and not being able to cross lines. However, it wasn’t a credit to her character that the only way she could figure out how to do things other than breaking rules. She doesn’t know how to work the system. Which might be why she’s a glorified body guard.
I did enjoy the relationship Rose and Lissa had to a degree. In some ways it was fantastic to see a friendship at the forefront. However, more often than not it didn’t completely feel like an actual friendship. I liked that they were both willing to do things for the other and that it wasn’t one sided. Yet something just felt missing in their interactions. I never got the sense of that friendship through dialogue.
Other than Rose and Lissa the characters felt underdeveloped. I didn’t get a good sense of who these people were. They were an amalgamation of traits and that’s about it. As if to assert those traits each of the side characters got a couple moments each to act on those traits. Overall, I just never got any depth from their characters. This includes Dmitri. Now, I certainly felt a draw to him, largely because he is still largely a mystery. Not in terms of his history because we got a fair bit of that, it is his personality that is mysterious. He holds things close to his chest. The end result for me was that he felt alluring and potentially interesting, but just not fully fleshed out.
I did enjoy the depiction of Lissa’s depression. This was delivered through another story mechanic I also enjoyed, their bond. Rose is tied to Lissa as the story goes on you come to learn why, but it doesn’t make a big difference so far. The real goal is to allow us to get into the head of another character and see what’s going on with them without having to have proper pov shifts. I think this was handled very well and was never confusing even if it could have been. As for Lissa’s depression it felt extremely relatable and was possibly one of the best depictions to me. As someone who’s been through it, it hit close to home.
I’ll talk about the plot briefly. The main plot events were few and far between and happened more frequently at the end. What tended to happen was you’d have a plot event then a lot of reaction time, then another. However, due to the nature of this particular plot not all of the events were clear as the events until the end. That meant reading the book felt like a lot of plodding through nothing hoping to get to something good. Add in that the MC kept making foolish decisions and you got a novel that often felt more annoying than entertaining.
The world was built out so slowly that it didn’t work. Showing and not telling is a great thing, but that’s not what happened here. Instead the method of not telling the reader things until they became relevant to the story. Once they were you could expect an info dump. The result was that every so often you’d get more information of the world. Unfortunately, that meant that assumptions you’d slowly come to make were upended. This is usually a method that can be really effective, but it just made the world building feel slow and incomplete here.
Despite not really liking this book, I’m intrigued to continue on. Partially because I want to get a better understanding of this world because it’s largely unclear here. I just was not impressed or hooked here based on either the plot or the characters.