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Friday, May 25, 2012

'Vampire Academy' graphic novel by Richelle Mead

From the BLURB:

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana.  But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guards down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .

Vampire Academy’ is the graphic novel adaptation of Richelle Mead’s immensely successful paranormal young adult series of the same name. Illustrated by Emma Vieceli and adapted by Leigh Dragoon, this is the adaptation of the first novel, and tells the story of how Rose Hathaway and her best friend, Moroi (vampire) princess Lissa Dragomir, are dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy after being on the run.

Let me just start by saying that this graphic novel adaptation is one of the most thorough retellings I have come across. Nothing is left out; and the four primary characters are well established. We get to see Lissa and Christian Ozera’s initial flirtations, which turn into a full-blown love story. I actually thought that the Christian/Lissa love story works better in graphic adaptation than it did in the original book – mostly because in the book we’re always reminded that what we know of Lissa and Christian is coming through Rose’s special Spirit connection. That’s put-aside in the graphic novel, and instead of getting clouded with Rose’s hesitations about Lissa and Christian, we’re left with just their unusual connection and chemistry.

Something that didn’t work so well in Leigh Dragoon’s back-story details was the explanation about the various species in this vampiric world – the Moroi, Strigoi and Dhampir. The graphic novel explains them with this weird mannequin chart, which just reminded me of the Greendale Human Being mascot from ‘Community’.

What really, well and truly worked for me in this novel was the graphic representation of everybody’s favourite hero and heroine; Rose Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov. Emma Vieceli did a fantastic job of bringing these two to drawn life – Rose is that perfect mix of fiery beauty and disarming strength. She has fly-away hair and is quick with a scowl – and I feel like Vieceli did a great job of communicating her vivacious nature just in these tell-tale facial quirks and physical appearance.

But, all that really matters is whether or not Dimitri’s comic adaptation lives up to fan-girl’s hopes and dreams. . .  Let me assure you, drawn Dimitri meets, and exceeds expectations and is extremely deserving of fan-girl squeals.

 With the hair of Ben Barnes and physique of Taylor Kinney – the true triumph of this graphic adaptation lies in the pitch-perfect drawing of Mr Belikov. Ahem:

I was also happily surprised that this graphic adaptation brings the heat to the page. Everyone knows the scene I’m talking about – when a spelled necklace puts Rose and Dimitri into a compromising situation that is the catalyst they needed to reveal their true, forbidden feelings. This scene requires a bit of PG13 representation, and I was happy to discover that Vieceli doesn’t shy away – I'd even say that this scene in a movie would be a lot more watered down than it is in this graphic novel.

I’m really glad that I finally got around to reading the graphic novel adaptation of ‘Vampire Academy’. I will definitely be hunting down a copy of second novel, ‘Frostbite’ now that I know Richelle Mead, Leigh Dragoon and Emma Vieceli have gone above and beyond in representing this beloved series in graphic format... and, yes, because I want to drool over a drawn Adrian Ivashkov!


1 comment:

  1. Who doesn't want to drool over Adrian :P Haha. I think he looks amazing.
    Great review :D I bought this recently too.


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