Before that though, I have to introduce the book series that I have oh so recently fallen for (if only because two of you may actually want to pick it up. You know who you are.). Alright, so it's by Richelle Mead, an author of four series (this is her first bestselling one). I've heard of the series before, but I'd never been able to pick up the first book. The first one is Vampire Acadamy, the second is Frostbite, and the third is Shadow Kiss. The cover of the book made me frown almost as much as the titles, but an author rarely has first say in covers, and as someone racking her brains for a title (s), I can understand a less than stellar one.
Anyways, the book is told in first person past tense, through the eyes of one Rose Hathaway, 17-year old half vampire. What I liked was the invention of a world within ours (which so many vampire novels are good at) that functions the same, but differently. Rose is what they call a Dhampir, half vampire. Dhampirs protect the Morai (or full vampires) from various threats, almost like bodyguards. The various threats usually end up being Strogoi, evil vampires that have betrayed their race and their humanity (it's a lot more complicated than that, so just read the book if you're curious). Rose was in training though, at one of many vampire academies throughout the world (this one in Montana), to become a fully fledged guardian. But Rose and her best friend Lissa have run away to escape a threat that even their teachers can't comprehend, because Lissa isn't like other Morai...
Ok, that was my best summary of the first book without giving you the entirety of the back cover. Short story: it's good. Like, really good. I love Rose's smart-ass mouth (sorta like my heroine, but more abrasive, if possible) and the nice contrast between her and Lissa. The school actually sounds plausible, the characters are diverse and funny, and did I mention the love interest?
I love her love interest. He's awesome, dark (byronic hero for all you English buffs out there), smart, strong, brave, and smoldering hot (we get to see him with hie shirt off... or... you know, like imagine him, because of the words... and... you get the picture), let alone how much he helps out Rose.
Now, just in case some of you plan on reading this book, don't read the next paragraph. Skip it, because there WILL be spoilers. If you don't intend to read Vampire Academy (and sequels), read on freely.
On to the actual first point of this post, I hate when people get killed off. I hate it that after I put in so much emotional investment and love into them, they suddenly get taken away and killed (or in Dimitri's case, after all the drama between him and Rose gets sorted out, finally, FINALLY they admit that they have to love each other, he gets turned into an evil Strogoi monster against his will and she ends up having to kill him!). I hate it, but I think it makes a book better, too. While it pangs my heart to read of my favorite sexy man's death (or a kickass heroine that falls in a fight), it makes me realize how invested in a figment of someone's imagination I am.
Ok, that came out wrong.
It just impresses me when people care so much about something not real. Case in point: Albus Dumbledore. I was depressed for two weeks after his death in the sixth book. And I'm not the only one who cried during the seventh book. And a book should emulate reality to a degree, and in reality, the good guys don't always hook up and have a bunch of kids while all the bad guys die. Sometimes, the bad guys win. Sometimes the good guy's (or girl's) lover falls to the whims of fate (or fire, or depression, or the creepy homicidal neighbor next door) and the book ends on a heart wrenching, unbearable note.
But that's what makes it great. I'm not entirely sure why yet, but it's reassuring almost, to know that even in fiction where fairytale endings are possible, there is disappointment. Still, I don't know why. Any thoughts? Or do you all completely disagree with me?
Second point of unnecessarily long blog post:
Ok, you know when I mentioned the whole snooty English thing? I'm talking about the stigma of carrying a book like Vampire Academy around say, Northwestern campus, as opposed to brandishing Shakespeare and professing undying love to characters like Mr. Darcy. Don't get me wrong, Shakespeare molded history and Mr. Darcy should get his dues, but I've seen what some of the students at NU are like when faced with books like Twilight and Vampire Academy. It's like how a music major would treat, Justin Timberlake to the opera Madame Butterfly.
Basically it's bullshit.
I knew someone in the past who wrote music. They looked down on my musical tastes, saying that a lot of bands today are simple. Likewise, my dad once had a long discussion with me about how easy it was to write rock and pop music versus classical or jazz music. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate and respect the complexities that those genres embrace, but in my mind, it doesn't make them superior in any way. It makes them... different.
On the first day of my second writing class, I overheard a conversation. Two guys were discussing another class of theirs. For an icebreaker, a girl in their class had said her favorite book was Twilight.
The guy snickered. "I'll never take her book taste into consideration."
Unable to keep quiet, I butt in. "You can't judge her just because she likes Twilight," I said in what I hoped was a friendly tone.
"Uh, yeah I can."
Sigh. Again I must say, bullshit. People like what they like, and the elite can be jerks about it, but that doesn't stop anyone from reading it or listening to it. And I don't think they can be seen negatively for it.