I like the character of this ‘little Dhampir’ named Rose Hathaway. She’s rebellious, impulsive, and sexy. She showed promise early on and delivered in the end, earning her stripes, or rather, her first molnija* marks. Her first two molnija marks.
Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy
Richelle Mead’s Frostbite is the second book and a continuation of her Vampire Academy story. It tells a story, in the first person, through the main character, Rose Hathaway. Set in a remote woods of Montana is the vampire academy called St. Vladimir Academy. This is where two races of underworld folks converge to educate themselves and to protect themselves from another underworld not-so-friendly race.
These vampires are divided into Moroi, Dhampir, and Strigoi. The Moroi are vampires who prefer to feed on willing humans called feeders. These vampires are called living vampires. They can tolerate some sunshine. The Dhampir are half human, half vampire. They nourish themselves like regular humans. They are better off than ordinary humans however in terms of strength and sensitivity of the senses. They exist only for a very few reasons. Most of the men, and some of the women, are intensively trained in the art and science of protecting the Moroi royalty. Each Moroi royal is assigned at least one Dhampir guardian. And the Dhampir guard Moroi with their lives. It’s a mutual thing in that Dhampir can’t reproduce among themselves. Dhampirs need the Morois to continue their race. Morois need the efficiency of Dhampir guards, otherwise the Strigois will eat them to extinction.
The Strigoi are the strongest among these types of vampires. Strigois are considered immortal. Some Strigoi are former Moroi who turned themselves, either willingly or not, into Strigoi. A Moroi can turn into a Strigoi by feeding on a human, or another Moroi, until the victim dies. When this happens, the Moroi can totally no longer walk under the sun. While Moroi has magical gifts in the form of mastery over the elements (earth, water, air, fire, spirit), a Moroi who turns Strigoi loses all these gifts.
Rose is a young Dhampir who is a close friend of Lisa Dragomir. Lisa is the last of the royal Dragomir line. A vehicular accident occurred a few years back where only Lisa and Rose survived. Technically, only Lisa was supposed to have survived, but because of Lisa’s gift of the mastery of spirit, Rose came back to life shadow-kissed. Rose got connected to Lisa through a one-way bond where she can sense Lisa’s feelings. This developed further where Rose can get into Lisa’s head and see and feel Lisa’s experiences at the moment.(This bond thing gave Mead great leeway in her first person story telling style for this book, I suppose).
The book follows the adventure of these young vampires with a few twists and turns in terms of their love interests, which, by their standards, are off line.
Hadn’t I read books and seen movies like Underworld, Twilight, and other vampire books**/movies, I would have liked this story fully. Having been conditioned with the sterotype of vampires, the Moroi seemed tame and domesticated. It’s difficult to imagine a vampire (Moroi) who would not fight, would not hunt, and who could walk in sunlight yet not be dangerous. Well, at least there’s the Strigoi, but they’re not the focus of the story.
I suppose this could be told as a regular story, without the vampire element, about regular human royal folks and their people and their royal enemies, and still sell. Okay, I’m no novel writer, nor am I a prolific novel reader, so I honestly wouldn’t know if it will sell.
*molnija marks are small x-like tattoos at the back of a guardian’s neck – one molnija mark for each Strigoi he/she has killed.
**Thanks to Joy Chan.