Welcome to Forgotten Fridays. This mission of this feature is, twice a month, to review books that are more than a year old. And we review them TOGETHER! Most reviews have minor spoilers because it is hard to block them out in a back and forth dialogue about a book. So keep that in mind when reading, though we do try to not mention anything that would ruin a book for anyone.
This week we have Pixie joining us! This is one of her favorite series, so even though she had to leave the chat early, we’re still excited to share her point of view, too!
The story that kicked off the international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series is NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE! St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . . Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.
Bekka: Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really excited to talk about this book.
Lyn: I have to admit, it was better than I thought. There were just a few things that bothered me, but overall, it was promising.
Pixie: It’s always been a bit of a funny first book to a series for me. The first time I’d read it, I almost didn’t want to continue the series. A little cheesy.
Kara: I mostly liked it. Ultimately, I had a few issues *coughs* the writing and the infodumping. But as far as the story itself, I liked it. Also liked the vampire mythology and thought it was unique.
Bekka: THE WRITING. So painful at times. It could have used some tightening, especially in the weird way the author phrased things, like “I arrived at the cafeteria.”
Lyn: I had issues with the world building. Why would the stronger vampires not take over the weak, non-breeding vamps? Did I miss something?
Pixie: I always wondered about that with the vamps, too, Lyn. But I’m with Kara on really enjoying the mythology.
Lyn: It was a different take. Kara, you are right about the info dumping. I felt sort of lost most of the time. Confusion was a large part of the story for me.
Bekka: Totally agree. There were times, especially during the explanation of the breeding system that it all went right over my head and I just kinda had to roll with it.
Lyn: I agree, Bekka. My brain was on overload at times. I know it sounds like I am knocking the book. I did really like Rose quite a bit.
Kara: Yes, I LOVED Rose. For the most part. There were a couple of times where I was a little irritated by her recklessness and found it to be a bit much, but I really did like the evolution of her character and her devotion to protecting Lissa.
Lyn: It was really nice to read about a strong-bonded girl-girl relationship.I found that so refreshing, and I miss that in YA fiction at times. I loved the theme of friendship and loyalty.
Pixie: Rose is probably one of my favorite female characters of all-time. And I love the bond her and Lissa share because we don’t get to see many best friend relationships in books.
Bekka: Rose made this book for me, all the way. I don’t really understand what it is, because I feel like if you put all of her characteristics together (physically attractive, funny, confident, sarcastic, etc) you would come out with a “Mary Sue” type character, but it SO WORKED for Rose.
Kara: You know what I didn’t understand? The Dimitry fangirling. Maybe he gets better in later installments, but I thought his character was supremely flat. I don’t understand the big deal and wondered the whole time while I was reading when he would get more of a personality. I just didn’t see anything unique to swoon over.
Lyn: I….fangirled. I love the whole stoic, ice-cold male prototype. I like to try to win over my book crushes. I think it might be a personality thing. I didn’t like how he shamed Rose about her sexuality, but I just really felt attracted to his character.
Bekka: I fangirled over the relationship, but not necessarily the character. I loved Rose’s crush on him and her unabashed flirting that sometimes crossed the line into Totally Hitting on Him territory.
Kara: Okay, maybe it was my issues with the writing because I found all of this flat. I do believe this was the author’s first YA book, right? Maybe that’s it. I just feel like everything was all on the surface and I didn’t connect with a lot of it, including the relationship. Just when I would start to get into it, she would summarize or infodump and yank me out of the story. There was SO MUCH summarizing. It was brutal for me. Especially towards the end. Major telling instead of showing. The amateur quality just stuck out at me.
Bekka: Amateur is exactly the word I would use to describe the writing, which is a shame because I think the story underneath is awesome.
Kara: Yeah, SO awesome. I agree. But the writing quality declined, and now I wonder if her adult book was the same or she wrote on a more amateur level because she doesn’t think teens need it. O_o
Lyn: I really want to read Gameboard of the Gods and see if her writing has grown. It feels like something the author wrote at the start of her career (which, I see, is true). She has a very detailed mythology in her story, and I would love to see if the writing matches the world building.
Kara: I have not heard good things from others about that book. A lot of people I follow either DNFed or didn’t like it because they found it boring. If you read it, I would be interested for sure to know how you felt. As for this one, I am rating it 3 stars. Normally this would mean I am probably not going to continue on, but in this case, I think it might get better a book or two into it, plus the mythology has me intrigued.
Bekka: I’m gonna rate it a 3.5. I just really loved Rose, I don’t know. As for the rest of the series? Hell yes, I am continuing. I kind of want to drop everything and just read read read Vampire Academy.
Lyn: 3 stars. I want to continue because I invested in the UK version of the books. The covers are to DIE for. Dearly Departed Pixie said she rated it 3.5.
Kara: We are reading Jellicoe Road next which is Lyn’s pick and I don’t know about you guys, but I am excited. I have wanted to read this FOREVER but could not find the time.
Lyn: I DNFed the first time around, but Jessie convinces me to push through and read it. I am thrilled to give it another shot.
Bekka: Same. I made it about twenty pages in, but it was soooo confusing. But everyone is NUTS for this book so I am going to give it a real shot this time.
Kara: I hope it doesn’t go the way of Going Bovine for me. LOL. Okay, are we finished?
Lyn: Yes, good, done, in the can.