Vampire Academy

image

Does anyone want to pretend to be shocked that I have found another amazing series? I don’t know if I have that kind of acting in me! I know this series has been around for a little while, but there are definitely perks to starting a series once all the books are already out! Harry Potter was the worst for me because I devoured the first four, then had the agonizing wait for five, six and seven! The Mortal Instruments wasn’t too bad, I only had a short wait for the last one. It was the same with The Heroes of Olympus.

But onto the story:
The Vampire Academy series introduces us to a different view on vampire life. From what I understand, Richelle Mead, the author of this amazing series, read about three types of ‘vampires’ in Russian mythology and crafted a world around them.
First we have the Moroi, born vampires that need blood to survive, but they don’t kill when drinking and they have the ability to use one of five types of magic. The traditional earth, air, fire, water and the very rare, spirit. They age as humans do, but have super sensitive senses. (That sentence was a little weird for me, but I don’t know how else to express it.) They are uncomfortable in sunlight, but it won’t kill them. Second we have the Strigoi. These are also vampires, but are created either by forcibly turning a human, Moroi or Damphir (more on them in a minute) or when a Moroi chooses to kill while drinking, giving up sunlight and their magic in exchange for immortality. They kill while drinking blood. Lastly we have the Damphirs. More commonly referred to as Guardians throughout the series, Damphirs originated as the mortal offspring of humans and Moroi. Over time it was discovered that Moroi and Damphir would have Damphir offspring. They have no magic, no need of blood and no aversion to sunlight, but they do have better senses than humans and are very strong. They are traditionally responsible for protecting Moroi from Strigoi.
The series focuses on one young Damphir, Rosemarie Hathaway, Rose, who is the shadow-kissed guardian of Vasilissa Dragomir, Lissa. While not officially her guardian, as Rose is only 17, the two have been inseperable since childhood and share a strange, psychic bond that allows Rose to sense Lissa’s emotions and sometimes see inside her head. A frightening series of events caused Rose and Lissa to run away from the St. Vladimir’s Academy, the school they attend. After two years on the run, the girls are brought back.
Rose is tutored by the Russian guardian Dimitri Belikov (side note: he is amazing!) to catch her up after missing two years of guardian training. A special bond forms between these two after they rescue Lissa from the threat that originally made them flee.
The series continues, pushing these two together, tearing them apart, letting you think everything will be ok, then dashing your hopes again.

Love for the Damphirs is never easy due to the first rule they are taught: They (meaning the Moroi) come first.

I loved the series enough to devour all six books in eight days, impressing even myself. The chapters leave you hanging, so you have to keep reading. The individual books leave you hanging, meaning you have to immediately start the next. The end of book three especially breaks your heart, and you have to keep reading to see if what was lost can be restored. At the end of book four you think it’ll be ok, then the very end breaks you all over again. I didn’t cry very much, but more than I thought I would after reading books like The Fault in Our Stars.
If you enjoy non-traditional, otherworldly love stories with a twist, this is a definite must read series. The movie was ok, but, like always, the books are better!

Divergent

image

So I don’t know if it’s come across yet through my blogs, but I’m a total fangirl! I’ve been one since before the term existed! I tend to jump in with both feet and fall completely in love with a world while reading the books. I psych myself out for the movies and I die a little when it’s over. *sigh* It’s a beautiful life I lead! Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games and OMG, here comes Divergent!
I usually see the first movie, then I go out, read every book and cry when there are no more! Or at least sigh over the loss if it was a happy ending. This time around, I wanted to read the books first. I had seen previews for the movie and wanted to see it. When I caught on that it was based off of a trilogy, I decided to read the books before seeing the movie. The books were so amazing, I devoured all three in four days!
For those that aren’t aware, it’s a story about a dystopian society, where everyone is split into five factions: Erudite (the smart ones), Candor (the honest ones), Amity (the kind ones), Abnegation (the selfless ones) and Dauntless (the brave ones). The factions were formed after ‘the war’ based on what lead to the war. Ignorance, lies, mean – spirited – ness, selfishness or cowardice.
All teenagers are tested to see where their aptitude lies. Then they choose what faction to belong to. The heroine of of the book Beatrice Prior is the rare person who has aptitude for multiple factions, in other word Divergent.
She is warned to hide this fact, because Divergent are considered dangerous.
She makes the choice to join Dauntless. The initiation is brutal and she rises to the challenge. She is helped through by her instructor, who senses what she is. Four, the instructor with a past of his own, becomes a strong ally and helps her hide what she is.
Once initiation is complete, Tris, as Beatrice becomes known, and Four must stop something horrible from happening to their city. I hate giving away to much, and I feel this is a fair synopsis. My blog, so there you go!

image

There are several amazing scenes in this movie! The ziplining scene, an unofficial part of initiation, was so beautifully done! The adrenaline rush I feel every time I watch this scene is probably the biggest one I’ve had during a movie.
*PARTIAL SPOILER* If you’ve read the books, you will understand what I mean: This scene also makes me a little teary eyed as I think about what Tobias (Four) does for Tris at the end of Allegiant….. Too many feels to linger long on that subject!! *END SPOILER*
I know with book – to – movie deals, there are always complaints over casting, or cut scenes, etc.. I’ve learned to roll with it. I actually was joking with my cousin earlier about this fact. My final decision is that they need to make a regular two hour version for people that didn’t read the books and an all inclusive six hour version for the super fans! Who’s with me?!

image

Something else amazingly inspiring about this book / movie is the individual character strength. I enjoyed this in The Hunger Games as well, but this was even more extreme. This scene in particular summed it up for me. She’s running along the train, he reaches for her. She says, “I’ve got it” as she goes to jump in. He responds, “I know you do” then wraps his arm around her to pull her up. Both of these characters are individually strong, but with weaknesses. Instead of covering the weaknesses for each other, which there is nothing wrong with that, they teach each other to shore up the weaknesses. Four knows Tris is not strong. Instead of jumping into fights for her, he teaches her to use her speed to compensate. Tris knows Four was abused as a child, but doesn’t treat him like ‘a kicked puppy’, instead realizing that he may be damaged by it, but he’s still strong. It’s just amazing to me that Veronica Roth could write such amazing characters! Rivaling my very favorite Nora Roberts!
If you’re a reader, read the books! They’re listed as young adult, but I’m 28 and enjoyed them. My Nana also loved them! If you don’t read (I seriously think you just haven’t found the right book) at least see the movie! It has it all, so be prepared to enjoy!