The blurb says: Mason would die to be with Rose...
Well that's just silly. If you die to be with someone, you wouldn't be able to be with them, cause you'd be dead! Plus, like everything else in this book, that's such a melodramatic statement.
I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what the big deal over this series is. It’s recommended all over the place, the star average for this is really good, and it’s really popular – maybe I got my hopes up too high? I read the first one, was indifferent to it, and then I heard about this series everywhere. It was a series that got better as it went along. There was character development. The heroine was multi-dimensional. Good, strong romance. Interesting characters. So, after a year, I picked up the second one to see if I had missed something and ... eh.
On one hand, I do see some positives, like the vampire lore. Most paranormal teen books are painfully simplistic, and I’m glad to say this book does have some world building going on here. I know nothing of vampires, so when I was researching fictional creatures and came across the types of vampires that were in these books, I was quite impressed. Using real mythology to work in your story and giving your own twist on it in a modern setting? Not bad, Mead. If I’m being painfully honest, I thought she just made those words (Strigoi/Dhampir etc) up completely. But hey, come on, some authors don’t even know what happens to vampires when they walk into the sun, not naming any names.
And .... that’s pretty much what I liked.
I have to laugh when I hear the characters of Vampire Academy being called complex or “deep” – I mean really. Come on. Read a real book. I get what the attraction to Rose is – big mouthed, outgoing, snarky – the exact opposite of the whiny dish mop YA heroines we’re used to, amirite? No, let’s instead make her ANOTHER stereotype and now she’s oh-so-original! Don’t actually bother to make her a three dimensional character, that would be SO MUCH WORK. Just make her the exact opposite of the dish mop heroine, and teens will totally fall for it because she’s so speshul and different – except they DO fall for it! URGH. Rose is just so exaggerated I don’t even really hate her; there’s not enough of her to feel much of anything for. She’s just too obnoxious, too loud, too self-absorbed to really be taken seriously. And to top it off, she’s kind of an idiot. This girl is some kind of guardian for a PRINCESS and she’s about as slow as a heard of turtles racing through peanut butter. Mead has a hard time planning surprises well, because nothing comes off nearly as shocking as it is intended because any semi-discerning reader is smarter than Rose. The secondary characters are all right I guess – I like the witty remarks and all, although none of them make me laugh out loud. Still, it’s nice to have a group of teenagers speaking like teenagers for a change without quoting Latin and Shakespeare. Except Dmitri, who’s about as fun as watching “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” without a bathroom break.
Speaking of which, this series is soooo predictable. Can someone please tell me why all teen authors do this? I wouldn’t mind a love triangle, I really wouldn’t, if there was actually a point or at the very least a surprise along the way. If we have three interesting, complex characters, and you like all three of them, then a love triangle can make you ache for them. If you have a hard time choosing between the two boys (or girls, I suppose, but you never see a girl-boy-girl love triangle) then that’s a sign you did it RIGHT. If you don’t know who the girl is going to pick because both boys are so awesome and she sincerely loves them both, then you’re doing it right. WHY DOES NO AUTHOR EVEN ATTEMPT TO DO THIS? Answer: because that would actually require some tough decision making.
How do YA authors REALLY write love triangles? You’ve got the main girl, the soul mate, and the poor other guy who you know is going to either end up miserable and alone, dead, or hooking up with some secondary character you barely even remember the name of by the end. I haven’t even read the rest of the series and I don’t have to – I KNOW Rose will end up with Dmitri. I know it the way I knew Bella would end up with Edward, Clary would end up with Jace, Ever would end up with Damen, Luce would end up with Daniel, Tessa with Will (view spoiler), Donna with Xan ... just a few off the top of my head (some of these series aren’t done and I have no intention on reading them, but trust me, I KNOW – I HAVE NEVER BEEN WRONG YET). Even the Hunger Games, which on most days I think is a good series, was painfully obvious with the love triangle – did Gale ever really have a chance? The author can never help but hinting at who her favourite is, and when you know who the favourite is, you’ve got who the girl will end up with. When you know who ends up together, it’s boring. It makes the angst pointless and annoying to read because you know everything is going to end up alright. She’ll end up with the lame, mysterious, brooding guy, because she always does. Screw the guy with a personality and sense of humour.
(Sidenote: Have you noticed the readers always seem to like the underdog guy? I wonder why that is. Maybe the author is so busy trying to make everyone love the brooding guy, and she isn’t trying to make the other guy swoon-worthy, that his personality comes out easier. Because Brooding Guy never seems to have a personality.)
The writing is terrible by the way. I know, I know, it’s written in the narration of a rather dimwitted teenage girl, but it’s still irritating. The prologue, explaining the story so far was so corny I was grimacing the whole way through. It gets a bit better after that but everything is explained – unfortunately – through Rose, so naturally, it’s all telling, no showing, explaining the most obvious things, the vocabulary never extending past that of a sixth grader and ruining sentimental moments with cheesy, misplaced comments only a stupid teenage girl would say.
Look, it’s not the worst book in the world (silly, “Marked” is!) but I can’t slog through what, four more of these? I know what’s going to happen in the end, so I don’t see much of a point in going through hackneyed, predictable trials of these bland characters when I KNOW. Will Rose and her mother reconnect? Will Rose's father be revealed? Will Lissa end up a powerful royal? Which boy will Rose end up with? Will good conquer over darkness?
Gee, I have NO FRIGGIN IDEA