Thursday, May 30, 2013

Does Vampire Academy encourage teen sexuality?

For those of you who have not read the Vampire Academy series, you may be hesitant toward starting it because it seems like “another vampire romance.” It’s not. YES there are vampires, YES there is romance, YES the main character is a woman. Other than that, there are few similarities (not that Twilight was bad, I read the entire series in college and barely left my room when a new one came out).

Vampire Academy has a completely different premise. Vampires are not beautiful and romantic creatures and there are different types of vampire (Moroi – the good, Strigoi – the bad) and vampire slayers (dhampirs, a vampire and human mix). See? Already they are nothing alike.

Why do I recommend this book? Because it’s unique (at least I’ve never read anything like it), and it has a strong woman as the main character.  “But Hunger Games had a strong woman lead…” I KNOW, but this came out first. Richelle Mead went out on a limb and told her story from a perspective that others could respect, if not relate to. (ALSO, I’d like to point out here that the preceding paragraph makes me sound like a feminist. I’m not. I think it’s annoying. I think it’s silly to expect special opportunities and treatment in order to get equal treatment…)

Rose, the main character, is a dhampir. She is training at the academy to one day be an acting guardian of one of the Moroi. Her best friend, Lissa, is a special Moroi and they have a very unique bond. She prides herself in her hard work and her strength. This is incredibly refreshing, too many authors paint main lady characters to be damsels. I don’t know when strong women became undesirable (or if they ever did), but I’m happy to see Rose portrayed as such a BADASS.

And along with being such a badass, she’s also quite…confident. Let me explain the “…” without giving too much away. Rose is sexy. She likes boys and boys like her. She likes wearing clothes that she knows the boys will like to see her in. She’s manipulative. She knows what the men in her life want, and it’s oh so easy for her to get what she wants from them. Is that a bad thing? Maybe not. Men have physical strength and speed, is it so wrong for a woman to bat her eyelashes and smile just a little too meaningfully to get what she wants?

But I wonder if the author intended this. Rose uses her physique to handle men, and handle Strigoi. She has feelings for older men (throughout the series) and grows weak later on in the series due to said men. You want to slap her across the face for not seeing what you are seeing (much like your best friend when she goes back to her boyfriend for the hundredth time he cheated on her –you just want to smack her and say “Snap out of it!”)

*Reigning my thoughts back in* Where was I? Ah, yes.

I think the book is a great read. There’s enough unique fantasy and romance to maintain intrigue through several books. The main character values her morals and friendship while having a wild, boy-crazy side, and she rivals most male characters in physical and mental strength.

AND (as if it could get better than that…) it’s due to be released in theaters in 2014!

I give it a 9 out of 10.

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