This was a book I wasn't sure whether I'd like or not. On one hand, it features vampires, which are one of my favorite supernatural creatures. On the other hand, there are plenty of books about vampires that I hate. Fortunately for me, this book is not one of them.
That being said, this is definitely not a book for everyone.
Rose is a dhampir whose best friend is Lissa, a vampire princess that she has sworn to protect. In an attempt to protect Lissa from danger, the two ran away from their boarding school, but were eventually caught and forced to return to school, putting them right back into the danger they hoped to avoid.
I loved Rose, but she is not a character that everyone will like.
While she is good, she's not always nice. She's judgmental of others. When faced with someone she doesn't like, Rose's first inclination is often to use violence. She isn't above using devious methods to wreck the reputations of those who challenge either her or Lissa. While these flaws may put many off, they are the very things that make me like her. Even when she was doing something that she felt was for Lissa's sake, it still wasn't necessarily a selfless act. When she worked to take down Mia, the mean girl targeting Lissa, Rose took pleasure in her actions. I liked having a heroine who isn't above pettiness. It made her more real for me.
That being said, Rose does have positive qualities that I really enjoyed in her as well. Her loyalty to and friendship with Lissa are probably my favorite parts of the book. Even at her most selfish points, there really isn't any question that Rose cares about Lissa and would do anything to keep her safe. Some of her attempts to help Lissa are misguided and backfire, but Rose always does want to keep Lissa safe.
Vampire Academy focuses on the mystery of why someone would target Lissa, but the set-up for the political world of the vampires was also intriguing, and I am interested in further exploration of their world in future books.
My biggest complaint with the book has to do with the romance between Rose and Dimitri. While I could see why she would have a crush on him, I couldn't really see why Dimitri would like Rose back. I didn't feel like they had any real chemistry between the two of them. I did like Dimitri's reason why they could not be together at the end of the book, but I felt like Rose should have come to the same conclusion far sooner because of how devoted she was to protecting Lissa.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the rest of the series.