Richelle Mead’s six-book series set at the Vampire Academy taps into many of the same interests as the Twilight saga or The Vampire Diaries: vampires who are enough like everyday teenagers, with their desires, lusts, needs and petty squabbling, to be recognisable, yet different enough that following their stories will always present certain twists in the telling.
Rose, the narrator, is a half-human, half-vampire (a dhampir) who is best friends with, as well as bodyguard to Lissa Dragomir, a Moroi princess (vampire to you and me, taken from one of the Romanian myths). Both have unusual powers: Lissa can heal, while Rose is able to share Lissa’s experiences. As the last of her line, Lissa is a target for the strigoi, evil vampires, and Rose’s job is to protect her, if necessary with her life. As the book begins, the two of them have been on the run from the Academy, but are dragged back there and forced to learn the skills necessary for their lives.
Leigh Dragoon has stripped Mead’s book back to its essentials, and while this means that some of the minor characters get a little short shrift, it keeps the pace flowing well. Emma Vieceli’s illustrations pick up the descriptions from the book, and keep it well within a PG-13 band (although there’s one F-bomb dropped within that feels totally gratuitous).
Verdict: Until the inevitable movie or TV version comes along, this should satisfy Mead fans wanting to see their heroines brought to life. 7/10
By RIchelle Mead
Adapted by Leigh Dragoon
Illustrated by Emma Vieceli
Penguin Razorbill, out now