Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Publication Date: August 2007
Format: Paperback, 332 pages
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Vampire Academy (Book 1)
Lissa is Moroi, vampire royalty. Her best friend and Guardian, Rose, is Dhampir, a human and vampire mix. Together they ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy two years ago but now they have been found and taken back. Now they must navigate the treacherous social scene, protect Lissa from danger coming from an unknown source, and try to figure out what is going on with Lissa's growing powers.
Vampire Academy begins with a lot of action. The reader doesn't know why Lissa and Rose are on the run or who is after them but can sense their fear of being caught and taken back. This sets the tone for the entire book. Mead does a great job of giving the reader bits of information about the past as it relates to the current events of the book. The reader is then able to put those bits of information together with the current information to understand the situation in the same way that the characters are beginning to understand it.
For the most part, dialogue, description, and action are all well-written. The only confusion that I had was with the first use of the terms Moroi and Strigoi as I did not find them to be clearly defined. The same was initially true of the term Dhampir, although I did know that term from other vampire stories. Of the three terms Dhampir was the one eventually given the most thorough explanation. My understanding of Moroi was that it was a term for vampire royalty, although it may encompass more than that. Strigoi seemed to mean a vampire who was truly undead. The unfamiliar terms did not hinder my understanding of the main events in the book.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to continuing the series.