Top Five Paranormal Countdown - #3

 Hey, folks. Here in the northern hemisphere, it's the first day of summer! It's a beautiful day in Charlotte, North Carolina. I hope it's nice where you are. 
 But, enough chit-chat. I’m in the middle of sharing with you my all-time favorite paranormal fantasy book series. Here’s where we stand so far in the top-five countdown…

#5  The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
#4 The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs

And today, coming in at number three, is Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series for Young Adults. The series follows the teenage, half-vampire, Rose Hathaway, as she finishes high school, comes of age as a Guardian, saves the world (at least her corner of it), and gets her sexy soul mate in the end.

I’d been a fan of Mead’s adult books for a while, resisting her YA offerings, until the buzz created by this series finally began to get to me and I took the plunge. There was a reason for all the hype. The series has crossed over from its genre to the general YA audience, and there is a movie in the works.
I’ve yet to be disappointed with any of Ms. Mead’s books. This chick can write!

What I liked…

The whole cast of characters…
Well, most of them anyway. Rose Hathaway is a classic YA heroine, and her BFF relationship with Lissa, which involves a bond way beyond friendship, is enough to drive the series in itself. Mead is a master (mistress?) at drawing you into the world of a character and making you fall in love with them.

The forbidden love…
The sexual chemistry between the underage (in the beginning of the series) Rose and her older instructor, Dimitri, is the best of any series I’ve read. The scenes where they are fighting or working out together, trying not to tear each other’s clothes off, are classic.

The Academy…
A school for vampires and dhampirs… need I say more? This is high school for the supernatural. There’s no need to hide what you are. The cliques, the angst, and all the dysfunctional hierarchy within such an institution that makes a YA story what it is, it’s all here.

The action…
Lots of it. I mean, lots. Rose Hathaway is relentless in getting herself into and out of physical danger without too many pages intervening.

The series ends…
     Richelle Mead knows when to call it quits with a series, while she’s on top. She drew the story out over six novels and left us wanting more, knowing she could easily have sold scads more books on the strength of what she’d already written. And she cleverly kept most of the characters we love in the background of a spinoff series that promises to be every bit as good as the original.

What I didn’t like…

Good vampires / Bad Vampires…
The Moroi are the good vampires. They only feed from volunteers and never kill them. The Strigoi are savage and blood-thirsty and kill to feed. It works for the story, but I can’t help but regard all vampires as a necessary evil. Guess I’d make a good Alchemist, huh? (One of the secret society that protects humans from knowing vampires exist, like Sydney in Mead’s Bloodlines spinoff series.)

Why, oh why, do girls find this kind of guy attractive and sexy, I will never understand. Unfortunately, Mead tries to redeem him by making him Sydney’s love interest in the Bloodlines spinoff. Yuck.

What I stole…

… consciously. The bond that starts to develop between Clifford and Nicole towards the end of The Dragon of Doughton Park has similar elements to Rose and Lissa’s, but I didn’t even think of the parallels until now. So, it wasn’t a conscious theft on my part. Still, I’m a huge Richelle Mead fan, and I’m sure I try to emulate her writing way more than I’m willing to admit.


Next time… number two in my top five.

Nobody guessed any of my top three last week. I even left a hint, that two of the top three were by the same author.
I issue the challenge again! Anyone who can guess either of my top two wins a prize. Leave a comment what you think it might be.

Until then… happy reading!



  1. Hey John, Yep, this is also one of my favourites, but I gotta say, I loved Adrian and actually felt quite sad for him a lot of the time. Now I'm reading the spin off series, I'm stoked he's found Sidney.
    Another good choice my friend, can't wait to see what your number one is.

  2. Yeah, Kristy, I figured you'd like Adrian, too, you being a gurrl and all. Sigh. I'm afraid my girl, Sydney, will end up with him after a few more Bloodlines. Inevitable, I suppose. She could do better. :)


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