I'd first heard of Richelle Mead through another book I'd read earlier this year, Kisses from Hell. The story she wrote for that anthology was a prequel and, from that alone, I thought I'd want to check out her Vampire Academy series.
Lissa and Rose have been on the run for 2 years from their academy - a school for the living vampires (like Lissa) and their guardian dhampires (which is what Rose is training to be). At the beginning of the book, Lissa and Rose get caught and are brought back to the academy. The place may be the same as when they left, with the usual high school gossips and cliques. But Rose and Lissa aren't. Trying to fit themselves back into school isn't easy, especially with the powers that seem to be forming in Lissa and the new combat trainer of Rose's that Rose can't shake her attraction for. And when things start showing up around Lissa that are far outside the norm, it's up to Rose to do what she can to protect her friend.
I had a hard time getting into this, and I don't know why. I started reading it, got to about chapter 3 and then put it down for a few months. But when I picked it back up, I finished it quickly. I'm blaming the hard time getting into it on the fact that I was just entering my Graphic Novel phase. Because it really is a well written book, and one I enjoyed.
In particular, I loved the way that the author included the flashbacks. They were appropriately timed and helped draw out what happened to make them leave as well as what was happening in the present. I never saw the villain of the piece coming, but once I knew who it was, I realized I probably should have. For me, that's one of the hallmarks of a good mystery. And, in part, that's what this book is. It's definitely paranormal teen romance, and book about friendship, but there's also the mystery of who is trying to get at Lissa and why.
I've got the next book on request from our library. I'm hoping that it doesn't take too long to get here.