Tag Archives: vampires

Richelle Mead

All I ever seem to do on this blog is apologise for the delay in writing a new post but as it is has been the festive period I won’t this time. Christmas and New Year are the busiest time to be working in any form of customer service and working in a nightclub just adds to this. So yes, I have been busy working and studying (*cough* relaxing *cough*).

So as the perceptive of you would have noticed, there is no book title above. Just “Richelle Mead”. No I haven’t forgotten to put one up there, I just don’t see the need to with Mead. So far I have read 20/23 of her books and I cannot give any a lesser mark than the other. If you have read my Vampire Academy review, you can see how much I gushed over that and the following series’ have been the same. You may be wondering why I haven’t just written about an author before but the answer is simple. Richelle Mead is the first author since Enid Blyton that I can honestly say I will read any of their work. I kid you not. I love Rizzoli and Isles but haven’t read any of Gerritsen’s others; Harry Potter is one of the greatest series’ ever written but I am not enthralled by Rowling’s other narratives; I could perhaps say they same thing about Stephanie Mayer later if she writes any more but only due to my love of The HostTwilight never really putting itself into the ‘must read every year’ category on my shelves.  From this we can surmise that I love characters. I will follow them to the ends of the earth and back. Their relationships, quests and challenges enthral and amuse but I often find authors to be disappointing in other areas. Take Garci and Stohl from Beautiful CreaturesTogether they have created these characters and world that mesmerises and amazes, yet separately and on separate stories, I found them uninteresting.

Back to Mead. It started with Vampire Academy which lead onto the spin off series of Bloodlines. From there I decided to give the Georgina Kincaid series a go and then The Age of X and now, finally, The Dark Swan series. I am literally devouring every one of her novels as quickly as she can produce them and have even accepted the £5+ charge for the e-book editions (something I usual avoid doing – you don’t get the physical book so why pay more than £3?) Every single one has had a developed plot line, interesting main AND support characters and twists that are sometimes completely out of the blue (I’m looking at you Dimitri from VA!) The first two mentioned are YA books but this doesn’t take away from a developed Adult writer. All Mead did was tone down the sex scenes (which are quite detailed in some of the books – when you write about a succubus who feeds off of sex that tends to happen) and take out the swear words. The essence of Mead’s work stays the same, excellent dialogue and believable stories.

In conclusion; if you are struggling for a book to read, a friend to buy for or just want to explore a new author give Richelle Mead a go. Every one of her books are easily a 10/10. Trust me, you wont be disappointed!

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy, YA

Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

Sorry (again) for the delay in a post! So much has happened it is untrue! Little bit of personal news. I am now a student again! A masters in publishing is in my near future and I am ecstatic that I am hopefully on my career path. So ye. That’s it for me :).

Back to what this blog is for… Reviewing. As you maybe able to tell, young adult and vampire books are my little book secret. So when I watched Vampire Academy and found it was based on a book I was very happy. The film was so-so. The storyline seemed ok but the acting was very poor. It made me want to check out the books anyway. I downloaded the kindle version and can easily say this series is far superior to the film!

Plot

Vampire Academy is split into 6 books. We start of meeting Lissa and Rose, a vampire and dhampir. Lissa isn’t like the vamps we see in other books. She can stand a little sun, is not evil and has magic. Usually vamps can influence the 4 elements; water, air, earth and fire. They all have aspects of each in their magic but tend to specialise when they get older in just one field. Sometimes a vampire doesn’t specialise but those are rare cases. Lissa is part of the Moroi bread of vampire. Another strand is a Strigoi and they are the vampires humans have in their horror books and films. These have red ringed eyes, intolerance to the sun, drink blood until they have killed the supplier and are wickedly strong. They also find Moroi blood especially delicious and that is where dhampirs come into the picture. Originally, they were a result of Moroi and humans mating. This union later ceased to exist but it was discovered dhampirs cannot reproduce with their own kind. They rely on the Moroi to keep their race alive, meaning it falls to them to protect their only chance of survival so became Guardians to the Moroi. With these skill sets, schools/academies are set up to teach Moroi how to to control their magic and dhampir to protect Moroi. Rose and Lissa are at such a school. Unusual for this world they also share a bond. Rose can hear Lissa’s thoughts and sometimes put herself into Lissa’s head to see, feel and hear everything she can.

We meet Rose and Lissa outside of the academy where they have been on the run for 2 years. Rose was informed by a semi-insane teacher to run and hide Lissa. Rose has spent her life protecting her best friend and follows this strange advice. However, she never expected Dimitri to be sent after them. Regarded as a god in guardian circles, Dimitri is a young dhampir who is given Lissa as his Moroi to protect, depending on if he can find her. Taken back to school, Rose finds she is severly behind in classes and realises that to really be able to protect Lissa she needs to get her training back on track and be vigilant over her friend to avoid the danger she had been forwarned of. Dimitri becomes her tutor to catch her up on the 2 years she missed in hand to hand combat. With Lissa’s mental health deteriorating, Rose and Dimitri’s growing attraction and a danger lurking in the school as well as the usual high school drama, Vampire Academy has it all.

Opinion

I haven’t really given the plot to the other 5 books of this series as I don’t want to spoil it for those who want to read the series but I will be reviewing the whole series.

One word for this series. Wow. Just wow. It is rare to find a world and characters that you miss when you finish the last book but, like Rowling, Mead had me hooked for 2704 pages. The world is totally believable, characters loveable and writing sublime. English grads may argue my last point but at no time did I have to re read paragraphs to understand it nor did the writing bring me out of the story once. Like all great books, you forget you are reading and just see the story.

Rose is a fantastic character and her romance with Dimitri is believable and heartbreaking. Her sarcastic wit is never forced or contrite and the bravery shown makes you swell with pride. Lissa is a complicated character and your feelings for her are too. Their relationships with each other and everyone else are expertly shown.

Downsides are a few and far between but some of my main gripes are; why didn’t Lissa notice her best friend was in love yet her worst enemy knew and used it against Rose? Did anyone ever tell Dimitri’s family what happened? Read could have stopped the constant book repeat. If she wanted to fill people in on the last books then maybe a chapter telling people what happened not mid action sequence! And most annoyingly, what happens after the last book finished? I want back onto this world. I want back into the lives of these characters.

Mead has created a series everyone can enjoy young and old alike. The twists are sometimes obvious, sometimes surprising and I never guessed the culprit in the last book. Characters barely mentioned in book 1 play important roles later and I love this.

All in all a fantastic book. The pros far out-way the cons. For this I give this series a 10/10 Read it and don’t judge Mead’s sublime story by the sub par acting of the film!

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Filed under Book Review, kindle, Richelle Mead, Young Adult

The Twilight Saga – Stephanie Mayer

I have decided to review all four books as one. This is because I find the saga as a whole difficult to analyse. Twilight is a phenomenon but why? Don’t get me wrong, I do have a fascination with them and read the whole series more often than I care to admit. I also read these books before they were the phenomenon they became (the perks of working in a library). The storyline is intoxicating and uses a tried and tested topic. Vampire stories have always been popular since Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. Our fascination of the undead can be chartered throughout literature, whether it be Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” to Elizabeth Kostova “The Historian”, Vampires and Monsters hold our attention. Mayer has drawn on that and I feel that it wouldn’t take much writing ability to make it a story people would happily want to read. It isn’t a subject matter that has to engulf you fully to make you want to carry on to the bitter end. Having said that, Mayer obviously got something right to keep us intrigued and glued to the pages.

Plot

In “Twilight” we meet Bella, our heroine. She is leaving her desert home of Arizona to the rainy, green land of Forks. Here she now lives with her father, the local sheriff and attends the town public school. This is where we first meet the Cullens. An extraordinary family. They are all intelligent, beautiful and have golden eyes. The youngest boy is in Bella’s science class and she seems to cause a very strong and powerful reaction within Edward Cullen. So much so that he tries to change his classes so he is never with her and then does not return to school for numerous days. When he returns, he seems much more amiable to Bella, though he does warn her away. We later find out why as Bella discovers his secret after talking to the local Native Americans and her childhood friend Jacob Black. The answer is simple, he and his family are actually a coven. A coven of Vampires. The rest of the book goes on to describe how Vampires came into existence  how the Cullen family came to be and shows the growing love that Edward and Bella have for each other. It ends on a battle of Edward and a stranger vampire fighting for the right for Bella or rather, the right to keep her alive or drink her blood.

“New Moon” begins barely after “Twilight” finishes and Bella’s birthday causes alarm as she suffers a paper cut in the middle of a Vampire Coven. This causes Edward to re-evaluate his relationship with Bella and makes him leave her for her own good. Bella is heartbroken and takes comfort in the friendship she has in Jacob Black. However, this friendship is also fraught as a Vampire called Victoria vows to kill Bella for Edward killing her mate at the end of “Twilight”, meaning the Quileute children become shape-shifters who take the animal shape of a wolf. Jacob joins in this pack and we have Bella once more involved with dangerous creatures. Edward believes Bella to be dead (due to a prophecy of Alice and pig-headedness of Jacob) and tries to commit suicide by revealing his presence in the home town of the Volturi (Vampire Elite and police). Bella and Alice race off to Italy to rescue him, in the process revealing  Bella to the Volturi.

Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse“Eclipse” again begins a short while after its predecessor and we see Bella forcing Edward and Jacob to accept that they are both important to her and that they are both in her life. Hard as they are sworn enemies. However, Victoria is back and this time making an army of new-born vampires to try to kill Bella. The Quileute wolves and Cullen vampires join forces for the first time in history to destroy this invading army and save Bella. Bella asks Edward to changer her into a Vampire but Edward will only allow her to be changed by him if she agrees to marry him first. He was after all born in a different era where virtue was honoured.

“Breaking Dawn” could easily be two books as the two films based on it show. The first half we have the wedding, honeymoon and Bella’s pregnancy and the second half we have Bella being a newborn vampire, Renesme being seen, building up an army of witnesses and the Volturi descending on the Cullen family.

Opinion

As I mentioned briefly above, I am not fully convinced by Mayer’s writing ability after the Twilight Saga (However, “The Host” proves she can for me). I wasn’t enthralled by the prose of Mayer. Some of her writing is confusing and didn’t always make sense. The problem could be due to her writing from a 16-year-old perceptive. Her dramatic improvement in writing for her book “The Host” suggests that this might be the case. This doesn’t reprieve it though. Many books can be written from a teenager’s point of view or 1st person and still be well written. Writing prowess aside, this book has the ‘X-Factor’. Maybe that Edward is just so darn romantic or that Jacob is your best friend turned hot boyfriend type that we are kept entertained or the fascinating friendships and relationships that take you on a roller-coaster, Twilight has something. You are invested in each of these character’s lives and whether it be the romantic triangle (Team Jacob by the way) or the bonds of loyal friendships, Mayer has stumbled on to something great. All in all one great storyline that keeps you for 4 books and one you can re-read.

My verdict is 8/10. Worth a read though I don’t believe the films do the books any justice and I prefer to keep the characters separate in my head as Pattinson and Stewart just aren’t my idea of Edward and Bella (I know I shall be stabbed by many Twihards for the Pattinson comment!).

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Filed under Book Review, Stephanie Mayer, Twilight, Young Adult