Bloodlines-Should You Read It?

Bloodlines_Novel.jpg (320×483)

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/New Adult Fiction/Paranormal

Rating: 4/5

While this is a spin-off series from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, it can still be read as its own series. I would highly recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first anyway, because this book has a lot of references and characters that first appear in Vampire Academy. One of the characters in the later part of the series, a supporting character, takes on a leading role in this series, and the main character, Sydney, reflects upon events that happened with her and the vampires during the Vampire  Academy series. Also, I had trouble deciding whether this should be young adult or new adult, because the main characters are 18 and 21, but the other characters are high school age and the predecessoing novels are young adult, so I put under both, because I think college-age would like this novel too.

After Lissa Dragomir becomes the Queen in their society, her cousin, Jill, is in grave danger. With the Vampire rule that a ruling monarch must have a living relative to hold the position, Jill’s life is attempted at to remove Lissa from the throne. Told from the first person perspective of Sydney, the Alchemist must keep the peace while aiding to hide Jill in Palm Springs.

Alchemists find Vampires to be against nature, their very existence a foreboding thing against God. Sydney is frightened of their use of magic, abnormal beauty, and blood diet, but even more foreboding are the Strigoi. Strigoi are the evil, corrupt version of the Vampire community who live forever and enjoy killing, while Moroi are the mortal elites, and Dhampirs are half human half Moroi.

With Sydney finding her latest assignment acting as Jill’s sister at a boarding school in Palm Springs and keeping Jill hidden and safe, she also notices a number of things. One is that everyone loves her tattoo and thinks it makes her super intelligent so she doesn’t have to try academically. When other students begin getting tattoos that make them high or enhance them physically, Sydney suspects the misuse of compounds made by her own association: the Alchemists. The other thing that she notices is that a strange sting of murders has happened in the area over the last few years. Could there be any connections here?

The only local Vampire in Palm Springs believes that his daughter, among those murdered, was killed by some vampire hunters. The odd thing is, vampire hunters seem like a thing of myth, since it is part of the Alchemists jobs to keep the Vampire world hidden. When the attacks appear to be from a Strigoi, Sydney and Adrian investigate, only to find that something even more shocking than a Strigoi OR vampire hunter has been behind the murders.

To keep the human world safe from the Vampire world, Sydney must learn to face her fear of Vampire magic and mystery, and fight to keep her job in Palm Springs. Jill and Adrian have some interesting secrets of their own, but Sydney finds that even though they are Vampires, she can possibly call them friends.

I was a bit wary of this book at first, thinking it may not be as good as the Vampire Academy series, but it was an excellent read. Like I said, you can read it on its own, but I would highly recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first because of the number of events and character appearances. This book is amazing, and shows what happens to Adrian after his heartbreak with Rose. That being said, Adrian was definitely one of my favorite characters from the original series, and I am glad he was able to get his own story, because he is an interesting character, and the development of both him and Sydney is superb. I can’t wait to read the next one!

Death Troopers-Should You Read It?

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 4.5/5

So I said I was going to do Outbound Flight next, but Death Troopers kept taunting me from my bookshelf, so here it is! Now, some people are wary of Death Troopers because they aren’t sure zombies really fit in the world of Star Wars, but Joe Schreiber masterfully presents this dark story, which takes place in year 1BBY, about one year before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.

Two teenage boys-Kale and Trig Longo-are among many inmates on a prison barge called the Purge. On its way to a detention moon, the ship breaks down. Luckily, it is near a seemingly abandoned Star Destroyer called the Vector, where the crew can go collect parts for the Purge. Jereth Sartoris takes a team onto the eerily quiet Vector with only half the men returning to the Purge, bringing with them a deadly virus called the Blackwing virus (the origins of which can be read in the prequel to Death Troopers, Red Harvest).

Investigating the virus is the prison barge’s doctor, Zahara Cody. Finding out she is immune, she searches the barge for any survivors to initiate the antivirus. Both Kale and Trig seem to be unaffected, but the virus spreads fast, and they seek an escape pod as their only plan, where they run into Sartoris, another who seems to be immune.

In her search for survivors, Doctor Cody checks the isolation bay, the only place the virus may not have struck yet. In the bay, she finds none other than Chewbacca and Han Solo, initiating the antivirus to the only survivors she has found so far. Making their way to escape, Doctor Cody warns to watch out for all the bodies, only to find that they had vanished!

Of course, Sartoris takes the pod for himself, leaving the boys, who end up with Han. Returning to the Vector to find their means of escape, the group must find some way to get away from these dead things, things that have been kept alive by the mere presence of a more concentrated form of the virus. This is when Doctor Zahara comes to the conclusion that someone wanted this virus to be spread over the entire Empire.

The scare factor was interesting, but the zombie action was reserved for the later part of the novel. This aside, I would highly recommend this book, and YES, you should read it, even if you are one of those Star Wars fans that is unsure about adding zombies into the universe.

I do not know why there is a Jedi in this image, but subtract that and you get a pretty solid rendition of the novel’s imagery. We know they survive, obviously, because they play a major role in the main story arc to come. But first, Han must get his ship out of Imperial impoundment…

Vampire Knight–Should You Read It?

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Manga

Rating: 4/5

Vampire Knight is a well-known, 19 volume Shojo Beat manga (aimed toward a female audience) by Matsuri Hino. This manga is rated T+ for older teens because it does have some sexual connotations as well as some (light?) gore.

The story revolves around Yuki Cross, a girl found at the age of ten covered in blood. Who was it to find her but a vampire, Kaname Kuran. She is then adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy (hence her last name) and becomes a member of the disciplinary committee at an academy that favors peace between humans and vampires. The day class is made up of humans, while the night class, unknown to the day class, is made up of vampires.

Soon, a boy named Zero joins Yuki and the headmaster in their happy little adoptive family. His whole family was slaughtered by vampires, so Zero has a hard time keeping his cool at Cross Academy. What Yuki doesn’t know (until maybe volume 3 or 4) is that Zero was bitten by a pure-blood vampire, meaning his body is slowly changing into a creature of the night, and he must survive on blood tablets, which is the main source of food for the night class (who do not feed off of humans).

One of the big elements of this series is the love triangle between Yuki and Zero, and Yuki and Kaname. So of course we have the savior, Kaname, who Yuki absolutely adores, but Zero has been in her life just as long, and she has always been there for him. When Zero’s feelings become known, Yuki isn’t too sure what to do. Kaname assures Zero that Yuki will never be with him, for she already belongs to the Kuran family. It becomes even more of an entangled mess when Zero is deemed a vampire hunter, which seems to go against the wishes of Cross Academy.

One of the things that really keeps the reader going is that question, “Is Kaname going to turn her into a vampire?” Okay, so I can’t say SPOILER ALERT here, because what happens next is in volume 9, only halfway through the series. So read this paragraph at your own risk. It turns out that Yuki Cross was actually Yuki Kuran all along, Kaname’s pure-blood vampire sister to whom he is betrothed. Kaname reawakens Yuki’s vampire blood which was set to dormancy to keep her safe from the evil vampire senate.

The second half of the series was not quite as interesting because that question that keeps us going for the first half has already presented the answer. So the second half is all about Kaname and his need to destroy all the pure-bloods and have himself become the special metal that vampire hunters use for their weapons. The original vampire to do this was long dead, but there is a hunter origin story that takes place within the series as well. With this, Yuki sets out to stop him. This is where a lot of the gore takes place in the series, a lot of bloodshed going on.

After being reinstated to her pure-blood state, Yuki and Zero can no longer be friends, according to Zero. But when Kaname is going out to finish his goal, Zero and Yuki team up once more to find him. When they do find him, the climactic ending takes place. I will not say the ending, but I will say that the ending felt like a bit of a cop-out on the author’s side, somewhat similar to the endings of How I Met Your Mother and the Infernal Devices (Cassandra Clare)–MAJOR COP-OUTS FOR THE FEMALE PROTAGONIST! I’m not saying it was a bad ending, I’m just pointing out that getting both lovers in the end, no matter how it is done, doesn’t seem like a realistic ending.

On that note, if you are a girl and you love yourself a nice vampire romance, read this series! It’s pretty fast-paced, even after that midway slowdown where some questions are answered, but new questions arise in place of the old. Most female readers enjoy the cop-out ending anyway, so you might just want to see how she ends up with both of them in this scenario.

If vampires are not your thing, then NO, you should not read this book. If cop-out endings are not your thing, don’t even look at this book! If you are looking for something with a lot of blood, this is not the book to turn to–the gore is very minimal here.

SIDE NOTE: Matsuri Hino has some other great stuff too. For any fan of her writing (although translated) or her art, I would recommend Meru Puri (4 Volumes) and Wanted (1 Volume).