Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Number of Books: 6
The series is narrated by Rose Hathaway, a half vampire/half human hybrid known as a dhampir. It follows Rose and her best friend Vasilisa “Lissa” Dragomir, a Moroi princess. In the series, there are two types of vampire; Moroi and Strigoi. Moroi are mortal, living vampires that can harness the power of the elements and take only small amounts of blood from human feeders; Strigoi are undead, immortal , cannot go out in the sun, and kill their victims. Dhampirs are trained as guardians for the Moroi, as they have great strength due to their mix of species. The first few of books are set at St. Vladimir’s Academy, a boarding school for Moroi and dhampirs.
I first read this series the year the last two books came out, when I was 12-13. This was during the big vampire-era, and a young me greatly preferred this series over Twilight (not bashing on Twilight, but ya know). I re-read the series last year, and still really enjoyed it. The main character, Rose, is a feisty teenager and a really strong character, akin to Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, if you will. Her friend, Lissa, is a quite type, but she has huge strength that is manifested in a completely different way. I really loved the intense friendship between these two characters, and they feel very natural when they’re together.
There are some great book boyfriends in this series. The biggest two are Dimitri, a Guardian dhampir who is charged with catching Rose up on her guardian training; and Adrian, the great-nephew of the Moroi Queen who is a bit of a party boy. Both of them are complex characters and are, of course, extremely lovable. I loved how both of these characters were explored quite deeply throughout the series, and we got to see many sides of them. In particular, I enjoyed how they weren’t just relegated to the role of love interest, they actually had a lot of substance on their own.
I’m not usually a fan of vampire fiction, and this is probably the only series about them that I love, but this is a pretty unique take of them. What with the different types of vampires, as well as the half-breeds, it’s a very original setting. The storyline of each book is really developed, as is all the over-arching stuff.
I would like to note that the movie version is terrible (in my humble opinion). It came out earlier in the year, and I though it was absolutely butchered. While not quite as bad as The Mortal Instruments movie (though not much better), I just want them to leave the rest of the series alone. So, if you saw the movie and have formed an opinion about it (whether positive or negative), I really encourage you to gives the books a shot. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, I still recommend this series if you’re a fan of urban fantasy.
There is also a spin-off series, Bloodlines. It follows the aforementioned Adrian, and Sydney, a character who is introduced in the fourth VA book.
The first novel in the VA series can be found here: