A review by Elizabeth Manthos
- Publisher: Penguin
- Format: Paperback, 312 pages
- ISBN-13: 9781921880155
- ISBN-10: 1921880155
I am going to preface this review by saying I don’t really know how to describe this book, but I will try my best.
Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide is a look into the addictive world Richelle Mead has created. Delve through the history of St Vladimir’s Academy, explore the dark psychology between Lissa and Rose’s friendship and discover more illicit secrets about Rose and Dimitri.
The book features exclusive behind-the-scenes stories from author Richelle Mead along with everything readers need to go even deeper into the characters and lore of Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice.
Vampire Academy and its spin off series Bloodlines are two of my favourite series, they’re up there with Harry Potter for me and I would not consider this book as part of that franchise.
Penguin labels the book “The official ultimate guide is the must have addition to any vampire academy collection” but in all honesty, there is really no point. As a reader and lover of the VA universe, I was looking forward to this and had high expectations for an “Ultimate Guide” but was sorely let down by the contents.
The book is broken up into two parts, ‘Part One: Book Recaps’ and ‘Part Two: The World of Vampire Academy’. These parts a broken into chapters; part one obviously into each book, part two into characters, love and friendship, allies and monsters, the quiz and the glossary.
Part one, the first six chapters are glorified basic versions of the novels, a quick read through if you can’t be bothered (blasphemy) reading the novels. The chapters do not go into any more detail around the novels; they don’t offer any additional insight into the story or historic lore Richelle Mead used into creating the universe. This is a huge let down as I would have liked a further look into what made the final novel and what didn’t, as well as her thought process.
With part one of the book being a letdown, I thought part two would be amazing to be able to see further into the lore behind the types of vampires and how she created the universe and the characters. This did not happen. The first chapter of part two, entitled ‘Characters’ was simple profiles of main characters and literally one paragraph for secondary characters. Reading this I gained no more insight to the characters than when I had first originally read the novels.
The further chapters in part two of the book glossed over ‘Love & Friendship’ and ‘Allies and Monsters’. As a reader we really didn’t find out anything that we didn’t already know on our first read of the series.
Richelle Mead’s comments scattered through the novel were scarce and did not really delve into anything one does not already know through reading the original series and even into Bloodlines. The photos from the movie, although high quality, didn’t really seem like they were needed either.
To say this is a must have for any Vampire Academy fan is a bit of a stretch, it really isn’t a must have and I could do without it. I feel seriously let down with the book and had hoped for better things, especially for a franchise whose fan base is constantly growing.
I cannot consciously recommend this book to anyone who wants to get into the Vampire Academy universe. Read the actual series, you’ll learn more and get swept into the drama, intrigue and romance that is Vampire Academy.