Page 45 Review by Stephen
Listen to them, the children of the night: bickering, back-stabbing and muck-raking; spreading the sordid sort of schoolyard rumours that are impossible to quash. Blood will out - even more so in a cooped-up college of young vampires and dhampirs - as will some secrets but not before the temptations of the flesh and social manoeuvring have seen the damage done.
Drawn by the creator of DRAGON HEIR (so here you go, you voracious Vieceli fans), this full-colour adaptation by Leigh Dragoon of the prose phenomenon shot straight to number four in the NYT bestseller list. I'm a Vampire Academy virgin so the mythology was all new to me; the boarding school rat race, horribly familiar.
Rose Hathaway and Lissa Dragomir share a rare bond born of a long, involved history but socially they couldn't stand further apart. Not only is Rose but a dhampir - half-human, half-vampire - of unknown paternal descent, but Lissa is both a fully-fledged Moroi and of royal line to boot. The Moroi are mortal vampires who need human blood to survive. They're under constant threat from the ravenous Strigoi vampires who crave Moroi blood not to survive but to increase their immortal power. That makes Lissa a prime target and the Academy's role educating dhampirs to protect her vital. You'd have thought then that Rose's empathic gift of being able to feel what Lisa feels would make her indispensable, but her position at the Academy is purely probationary: she's seen as far too impetuous and ill-disciplined. They're not wrong. She's also struggling with the strength of her bond and a secret she shares with Lissa, while Lissa is struggling with more than one secret she's keeping from everyone! With so many lies, so many overt physical and psychological threats where there should be sanctuary, the more covert enemies find it easy to nudge their traps into place; but when they finally strike it's with a ruthlessness that will break all codes of conduct and with an ambition far larger than one vulnerable girl.
Vieceli's strengths lie in her eyes, the lingering looks, and the hair she so evidently loves drawing, while the manifold tensions - the jealousies, temptations and whom-do-you-trusts - are almost painful. Again, there's so much more going on behind Vieceli's faces than they ever let on, so much left unspoken. Don't expect either protagonist to be a paragon of virtue - few of us are at that age - but I suspect that if we could win friends and influence people Miss Dragomir's way, most of us probably would.
Best hair goes to Christian, by the way. Not that I'm obsessed with Vieceli's hair.