Review: Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead and Emma Vieceli

Review: Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead and Emma VieceliVampire Academy: The Graphic Novel by Emma Vieceli, Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel #1
Published by Razorbill
Pages: 144
Genres: Graphic Novels, Young Adult
Source: Received for review from publishers
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After two years on the run, best friends Rose and Lissa are caught and returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a private high school for vampires and half-bloods. It’s filled with intrigue, danger—and even romance.

Enter their dark, fascinating world through a new series of 144-page full-color graphic novels. The entire first Vampire Academy novel has been adapted for book one by Leigh Dragoon and overseen by Richelle Mead, while the beautiful art of acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli brings the story to life.

Thoughts: This book was my first graphic novel – ever.*  So I can’t tell you how Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel compares to other graphic novels out there, but I sure as hell can tell you that I enjoyed it.

I loved Vampire Academy (review) when I read it way back in 2010, and this graphic novel was the perfect way for me to revisit the book. It reminded me of how much I loved the characters and how completely enthralled I was in their world. The artwork has the right mixture of hard and soft – I never felt like I was reading some sort of anime, but neither did it feel like a child’s book. I hated the artwork in the Twilight graphic novel adaptation and this was (luckily) nothing like.

I was also surprised by how much of the book made it into the graphic novel. I’d thought that, rather like a movie adaptation, quite a lot of plot would have to be sacrificed in order to make this graphic novel. I was wrong! All of my favourite scenes are in it, as well as a few I’d forgotten about.

Since reading the first book in the Vampire Academy series, I struggled to finish the series. Not because the later books are bad, but because I was spoiled and it made the journey to the conclusion non-exquisite torture! But this graphic novel was a perfect way for me to wet my toes in the Vampire Academy world without worrying about what comes next.

Bottom line? A must-have for fans of the series. I am definitely going to be getting the adaptation of Frostbite and hope the publishers make the entire series into graphic novels!

* OK, I read Mercy Thompson: Homecoming a few years ago, but it was so short and I doubt it would count.

Review: Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead

Review: Succubus Dreams by Richelle MeadSuccubus Dreams by Richelle Mead
Series: Georgina Kincaid #3
Published by Bantam Books
Pages: 448
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
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Some days, a girl just can't catch a break ... especially when the girl in question is Georgina Kincaid, a shape-shifting succubus who gets her energy from seducing men. First there's her relationship with gorgeous bestselling writer Seth Mortensen, which is unsatisfying on a number of levels. It's not just that they can't have sex in case Georgina inadvertently kills him (generally a turn-off for most guys). Lately, even spending time together is a challenge. Seth's obsessed with finishing his latest novel, and Georgina's under demonic orders to mentor the new (and surprisingly inept) succubus on the block.

Then there are the dreams. Someone, or something, is preying on Georgina at night, draining her energy, and supplying eerie visions of her future. Georgina seeks answers from Dante, a dream interpreter with ties to the underworld, but his flirtatious charm only leaves her more confused-especially as the situation with Seth reaches crisis point. Now Georgina faces a double challenge-rein in her out-of-control love life, and go toe-to-toe with an enemy capable of wreaking serious havoc among mankind. Otherwise, Georgina, and the entire mortal world, may never sleep easy again.

Thoughts: SPOILER ALERT I tried writing this review without spoilers but I just really, really need to vent. So, if you haven’t read Succubus Dreams, stop now if you don’t want to be spoiled!

Succubus Dreams ruined any faith I’ve ever had in the Y chromosome. I mean, yes, Georgina isn’t perfect and I sure as hell wouldn’t date her… but Seth was supposed to be the love of her life. He and Georgina were supposed to have this epic romance… instead Seth just tossed it aside without really working at it. While, yes, he made some attempts to speak with Georgina, he never really pushed the issue. Hell, Georgie was willing to make compromises but Seth? No, Seth just stabbed her in the heart. That, my friends, is something no one should be capable of doing.

So fine, he wants to end it. Okay then. But do it without cheating on Georgie with one of her best friends! Dammit. I don’t care if you think that that is the only way to let her down, because it really really shouldn’t be something you should be able to sleep with. Honestly Seth, with boyfriends like you, who needs villainous imps? *stabs*

*breathes* So clearly I am not over this. Even though I knew, before reading the book, that Seth would end up dating whats-her-face, I really didn’t expect it to play out like this. Bastard.

END of spoilers!

Anyhow, despite the above, I did enjoy this book. Georgina starts to make some real growth. She tries to think her emotions through and she seems to be gaining greater understanding of the whole Heaven/Hell debacle. Mead also does a fantastic job foreshadowing upcoming plot lines. While I can’t see where she is going yet, I am really looking forward to seeing how she deals with what she’s already set up.

As usual, every appearance of Carter-the-angel was a joy. I love his character, and I love how Mead has gradually built his role in Georgie’s life. I also really enjoyed the book’s core plot – it gave the novel a Big Bad while also dealing with a bunch of personal issues for the characters.

My only complaint would have to be the R-rated scenes. Ok, yes, this is a book about a sex-demon but… ick. I know these scenes are key to understanding Georgina and her role in the whole good-versus-evil fight but they were just too unsavoury for me.

However, Succubus Dreams established one thing for certain: this series is not about sex. Hell, it’s not even about Georgie’s relationship with Seth. It is about so much more than that – it’s about Georgina and her guilt; it’s about the boundaries between heaven and hell; it’s about the nature and torture that is existence. And that? That’s what is making me stick it out despite the spoilery rant. My hope is that the next book will be even better.

Bottom line? A heart-wrenching installment to a brilliant series. Richelle Mead delivers.

Review: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Review: Blood Promise by Richelle MeadBlood Promise by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #4
Published by Razorbill on August 25th 2009
Pages: 503
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Vampire Academy, Frostbite

How far will Rose go to keep her promise?

The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them. . . including Dimitri.

He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?

Thoughts: Richelle Mead is one of those authors that makes you desperate for a conclusion. So, I’ll just come out and admit it… I read spoilers for Blood Promise before I’d even read Shadow Kissed (which, FYI, broke my heart into so many ickle pieces, I couldn’t deal enough to write a review). I knew what was going to happen before I picked up both books – and I have a pretty clear idea about the last two books in the series as well. I just had to know. Emotionally, I just wouldn’t have made it through this series without some warning of what was ahead.

So, despite having a pretty fair idea what would happen in this book, it still blew me away. I wondered how far Mead could take vigilante!Rose. I mean, the book is over 400 pages long and there’s only so much angst a girl can handle. But as Rose makes her way through Russia, Mead takes the opportunity to introduce some fabulous new characters: including Sydney, who will be the star of the spin-off series.

Along with the painful Dimitri/Rose action – which kept a lump in my throat the whole time – there are about a dozen new plot lines that pop up in Blood Promise. For one thing, we got a look at a very different Moroi/Dhamphir society – the one Dimitri was raised in, and boy does that ever explain him. We also got a whole new insight into the twisted world of Strigolis, and introduced to a whole new branch of supernatural none of us had even known about. I adored all the new intrigue. When it really comes down to it, the Vampire Academy is all plot plot plot and it’s fantastic.

On top of that, Rose went through some extraordinarily terrifying things in this book. Seriously, there’s death and torture and blood and prostitutes. It’s not stuff for weaklings, and even knowing how everything could turn out did not comfort me! Rose proved to be stronger than I think humanly possible. I couldn’t help but be proud of this girl for keeping herself together, both physically and mentally.

On the less-positive side… I still don’t see what Rose sees in Lissa. I find her rather bland and continue to only be interested in her because of her friendship with our leading lady. I also don’t get the fuss over Adrian. He seems a perfectly all right guy, but that’s it. I guess he’s a great rebound… but I found his woe-is-me business is extremely unattractive.

Bottom line?  I loved this book for its angsty, plotty goodness.  In case you haven’t heard, the Vampire Academy series is a Must. Read.

Review: Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Review: Frostbite by Richelle MeadFrostbite by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #2
Published by Razorbill
Pages: 336
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Vampire Academy, Blood Promise

It's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians--including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if handto- hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks....This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...

Thoughts: Frostbite is a fantastic follow-up to Vampire Academy. The second book in a series is usually filled with flaws, but not in Mead’s case.  Action-packed, and emotionally gut-wrenching, this series is a definite must for YA and Vampire fans.

Rose does not have the ideal life by a long shot. Her gender and genetics give her limited options in the vampire world. Rose can’t be with the man she loves without sacrificing her best-friend, and even if she makes the “correct” choice she won’t ever have anyone of her own to love. It’s all very depressing, but she does the very best to make the most of bad circumstances.

Rose really matures in Frostbite, but not by choice. After the trauma she is put through in this book leaves her no choice but to make the “grown-up” decisions. In a way, I miss the more naive Rose from the first book, the one who looked forward to being an adult and fighting the Strigoi. Watching Rose lose that optimism was terribly tragic.

Wow, I have made this sound like the most miserable book in history. READ IT ANYWAYS. What I love about Mead is that she never introduces her characters fully formed – they always have plenty of room to develop. And watching that process? Heartbreakingly brilliant.

In retrospect, I am amazed how much Mead fit into such a small book. Compared to the rest of the Vampire Academy series, Frostbite is a sliver of a book. But so damn much happens in it! Mead deals with the epic Dimitri/Rose tragedy, Rose’s addiction to being bitten, Lissa’s ever worsening condition, the introduction of Rose’s mother, and a whole new (vaguely Chuck Bass-like) character. It’s actually quite impressive.

Bottom line? The Vampire Academy series just keeps getting better. Mead actually seems to have a plan for these characters, and I really can’t wait to see how it ends!

Review: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

Review: Succubus Blues by Richelle MeadSuccubus Blues by Richelle Mead
Series: Georgina Kincaid #1
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp. on August 1st 2010
Pages: 368
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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Also in this series: Succubus Dreams

When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical?

But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid's life is far less exotic. Her boss is a middle-management demon with a thing for John Cusack movies. Her immortal best friends haven't stopped teasing her about the time she shape-shifted into the Demon Goddess getup complete with whip and wings. And she can't have a decent date without sucking away part of the guy's life. At least there's her day job at a local bookstore--free books; all the white chocolate mochas she can drink; and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can't.

But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle's demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won't help because Georgina's about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny...

Thoughts: Before I started Succubus Blues I had thought the following had to be true:
  • Books with a sex-demon lead would never turn out to be about love.
  • A succubus could never be funny hysterical.
  • I could never relate to a character that deals with sex casually.

Needless to say, Richelle Mead proved me wrong.  Succubus Blues is nothing like the book I thought it would be.  It’s hysterical and heart-breaking, filled with a thousand shades of ethical grey, and stars one of the most complex heroines I’ve ever read.  Georgina is far from perfect – she can be superficial and self-serving.  But she has so much potential for growth.  Even after 400+ years on the planet, she still has a lot to learn.

Mead has also created one of my favourite love-interests ever in Seth.  He’s your average best-selling novelist: introverted, smart, and extremely wity on paper.  I never expected to fall so quickly for this beta-hero, but everything about him had me clutching my heart.  The secondary characters in this book are stellar – complex characters who stride a blurred line between good and evil.  Every single one of them I wanted to read more about – especially the angel Carter and his demon!BFF Jerome.

Demon BFF? I told you, seriously blurred lines.

Alas, this book didn’t get a higher rating from me because of one very unfortunate character *cough* Roman *cough* who I just couldn’t like – no matter how suave.  And Georgina liking him made me want to shake her (and the book) in despair.

Bottom line?  Succubus Blues is brilliant.  Sitting firmly on the line between PNR and UF – it had me laughing, crying and occasionally disturbed by the paranormal evil.  Everything you could want in a book!

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