Throwback Thursday

Favorite books. We all have them. We all love them. They’re that special read that sticks with us no matter how many years go by. Well, starting today, I want to celebrate those amazing books with Throwback Thursday. Every Thursday I’ll choose a book I’ve read that I think deserves special attention. I’ll go over all the aspects of what I think made the book so great from character development, to plot, to description and dialogue. If you want to join in on the fun, head on over to Instagram and tag your post with #ThrowbackThursdayBooks. Heads up to those who have not read the book. There will be occasional spoilers.

On the menu today is a book I hold dear to my heart. It’s the book that introduced me to the amazing world of novels—and vampires. The author has an amazing way with dialogue, and a magical ability at weaving an intricate story. Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy.

I kid you all not when I say that this entire series was my life for years after I first discovered it. During elementary school, I was always that kid who loved comics—more accurately, manga and anime. No one could get me to read any novel. Then I found VA, and the world changed. Rosemarie Hathaway taught me so much in elementary school. Witty remarks, kick-ass attitude, and how to always go after your goals, even if it means bringing down an entire royal family.

Where to start with Vampire Academy; there’s so much to the series it’s almost hard to decide. My favorite aspect of the story has to be the dialogue. Every book has such perfect, witty remarks. I love it to the moon and back. It allows the reader to get behind every character because they all have their own unique voices. You have Rose coming up with a comeback to nearly everything, and then you have Dimitri on the other end of the spectrum. When he finally makes a joke, we’re all just like, “Well damn, is that really you comrade?” Dialogue is such a huge aspect of every novel, no matter the plot line behind it, it’s always there. You have vocal dialogue, and then you have physical/visual dialogue, otherwise known as body language. What makes things difficult is that you need to use both to have a story that engages the reader. One of the best parts of the dialogue when reading VA was being able to visual the way the characters’ moved as they spoke their lines. There are certain things that we, as readers, can readily connect with. Take discomfort, for example. We read that the tone of a character shifts and maybe they cross their arms over their chest as they lean away from the other person; maybe they even hunch their shoulders. Richelle Mead portrays things like this throughout the entire series. She blends it into her descriptions, making it something we don’t even realize as the story plays out in our mind.

Speaking on descriptions, let’s move on, shall we? So, who else had this magnificent image of St. Vladimir’s Academy while they were reading? I know I did, and I remember wanting to visit it at some point in my life. Too bad it only exists in fiction, but that’s besides the point. If I’m being honest, the descriptions of places weren’t as high on my list of amazing aspects of VA. The description that I love has to be the character emotion. Mead could always perfectly pull out her character’s feelings. Even while sticking entirely in Rose’s POV we could still imagine Mason’s feelings while her flirted with her, or Adrian’s anger when she left him behind (Unpopular opinion: I was always team Rose and Adrian, until Sydney showed up. Then I was Sydrian all the way). We see the uncanny ability pulled into the spin-off series featuring Sydney Sage, too. This emotional aspect of storytelling allows us to become more invested in the characters’ we follow with every turn of the page. We cheer for them, cry for them, get angry enough to want to smack them with their own book—which, let’s be honest, we all wanted to smack Christian’s aunt, Natasha, a few times over when she showed up with her grubby claws pointed towards Dimitri.

Side Note: I think my favorite emotional scene in the first book was the promise made between Rose and Dimitri. This is an amazing example of utilizing your plot in a story, too, which I’ll talk more on later. How many of you also flipped when said scene didn’t really get the prevalence it should have in the movie?

While I have plot up here, I’ll delve into that because VA does an amazing job of using it. So, we have the first book all based on the return of Rose and Lisa to St. Vlad’s Academy, a.k.a Vampire Academy name courtesy of one Rosemarie Hathaway. All throughout we have these weird things happening to Lisa, Rose is getting her ass kicked and also falling for the ass of one amazing comrade, Dimirti Belikov, and we have the mysterious character Christian Ozera. In between all of this we have minor, fun, teenage girl stuff like parties, making out with guys, and witty dialogues between characters. If we look even closer, we have the hints of future plot lines.

“They come first.”

This singular line is the entire battle Rose has throughout every book in the series. For her, it’s a constant struggle of juggling her commitment to Lisa and the Dragomir bloodline, and the commitment to her heart and love for Dimitri Belikov. We see this line and struggle come to fruition at the very end of the third book, and again at the end of the grand final. For those who haven’t read, I’ll leave out what happens, but for those who have, you all know what I’m talking about. It was an emotional scene that had my heart aching.

There’s also the promise made between Rose and Dimitri in the van during the drive to the mall in the first book. That promise is the entire plot line to the fourth book. If that’s not amazing foreshadowing and usage of plot development throughout the three books leading up to it, then I don’t know what is. On the side, we’re also given minor things like future prominent characters and people who will play large parts in things to come. Sydney Sage—a character who appears in the fourth book, and returns later on down the line eventually becomes the main character in the spin-off—is a great example of this.

Whenever I’m trying to find a new book or series, these are the things I look for. First, does the dialogue—vocal and visual—capture me? Does it flow well and engage the character? If yes, then we’re onto something. Next up, emotional description and some visual description. Am I able to invest in the characters by the end of the first chapter? Do they intrigue me? Is enough description given to me I can imagine them and the world they live in? Finally, how’s the plot? Can I picture how it might continue you? If it’s a series, can I find things that might return in future books? I have another great example of this courtesy of an amazing read, but I’ll save it for next week’s Throwback Thursday.

Bottom line, Vampire Academy was an amazing first book, and an even better introduction to the entire series behind it, including the spin-off. Guys, I’ve gotta say, though, a part of me almost loves Bloodlines better than VA for the sole reason of Jet Steel. Let’s all be honest here. He’s amazing, and he’ll always hold a special place in our hearts. If you’ve read the series, you’ll understand. If not, go read the series and come back. Those are all the major highlights I wanted to discuss on Vampire Academy, so leave some comments below with your favorite aspects and parts of the story. Also, if you have suggestions or a book you want to see featured in Throwback Thursday, let me know. If I read it, I’ll look into writing about it. If I haven’t, I’ll add it to my To-Read pile. Until next time!

All the best.

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