ByLaetitia Dubreucq, writer at
Laetitia Dubreucq

Vampire Academy is already playing in the US and Canada and comes out on April 23 in England!

Do you know Vampire Academy, the popular series by Richelle Mead? No? Don’t worry, here is what you need to know. With over 8 million copies of the series sold around the world and countless translations (French, Russian, Korean…to name a few), Vampire Academy is a force to be reckoned with.

The story centers on Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir (half human, half vampire) and her best friend, the Moroi vampire princess, Lissa Dragomir. Both have been on the run for 2 years and are brought back to St Vladimir Academy where some dark trouble is awaiting them. I hear you already! Vampires? Academy? Nothing new, right? Wrong! The story presents a new and fresh side to the vampiric mythology.

In this world, we meet 3 races of vampires: Moroi, Dhampirs and Strigoi.

The Moroi are mortal and peaceful vampires who drink blood from willing donors, they study at St Vladimir Academy and master in one of the elements (Earth, Water, Fire and Air…), they can also use compulsion on others, even though it’s forbidden. They can go in the sun, though experiencing some discomfort. The Moroi are ruled by a King or Queen, who is a member from one of the 12 royal families.

This leads us to our second race, the Dhampirs. The ultimate bodyguards, their role is to protect the Moroi from the 3rd race, the Strigoi (but we will come back to them in a minute). In the ancient times, Moroi mixed with humans, creating the race of Dhampirs. However, as their numbers were dwindling, Moroi turned away from the humans and created their own society. Nowadays, Dhampirs are the offspring of Moroi and Dhampirs. In fact, Dhampirs can only reproduce with Moroi, thus explaining why Moroi must always come first. Some dhampir women can decide to trade their guardian duties for their children and live in communities, even though this is frowned upon among the society.

Finally, we have the 3rd ones, the Strigoi, who are your worst nightmare vampires: bloodthirsty, immortal and soulless, they prey on the Moroi whose blood gives them strength. How do you get a Strigoi?

There are 2 ways:

- A Moroi kills the person he/she is feeding on.

- A strigoi bits a person and forces him/her to drink his/her blood.

Rose’s ultimate goal is to become the guardian of her best friend, Lissa. Both have a bond (you will have to watch the movie /read the book to find out more about it), thus creating a truly innovative story. Not only have we a kickass, tenacious, fierce and in your face heroine (told you she was different), we have another one, Lissa (nicer, gentler, but with her own problems to deal with). Did you know Vampire Academy passes the Bechdel test? That’s right, we have two women talking to each other about other things than boys! To be honest with you, their love lifes are on the side, instead the story focuses on more important and daily problems you could be faced with: depression, self-harm, coping with death, betrayal…but also, friendship, loyalty, love…all together, creating a new and interesting story to follow.

Let’s talk about the movie, shall we?

Back in 2010, we learnt that Preger Entertainment had bought the rights to adapt the book on the big screen, have you heard us scream in joy? That’s right, the VAFamily has always been feeling protective of its favourite series, not hesitating to be opinionated on every decision made. An official Facebook page was soon launched, inviting fans to give their opinion, share their cast choices... Have you ever seen such an involvement from an official team, letting fans interact with them? To be honest, I have never seen it, so I take my hat off to them (I haven’t one, but let’s imagine it here) Putting a movie together is a daunting task, or so I guess, it takes time and patience.

Everything truly changed in December 2012 when we learnt we had a screenwriter and director on board. And not anyone, might I add! We had Daniel Waters, known for Heathers, and Mark Waters who directed Mean Girls and Freaky Friday! Who know better about teenage stories than them? Pretty great, right?

From that moment on, everything went by quickly! In February 2013, we got the main members of the cast: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry and Danila Kozlovsky. I would like to point out that from the moment they have been cast till the end, they have been truly dedicated to their role. I have been there since the beginning and followed everything and I can tell you I have never seen such dedication. Zoey Deutch trained A LOT for the part (even though some fans were not always nice, as I told you…pretty opinionated). This applies to every member of the cast, as well as the filming team and training team whom I would like to thank. They took us with them on their journey, not hesitating to interact with us on Twitter as well as posting photos, take a look:

Not only were we able to follow the making of this movie step by step , we, fans from every corner of the world had a place to gather, to know each other, leading to the VA Family. We are close, and we are proving it (check out this article).

Vampire Academy deserves a fighting chance, not only for the movie in itself, which is really true to the book (according to the author Richelle Mead AND fans) but also for the hard work everyone put into this project. From my personal experience, I will tell you something. I had the opportunity of meeting some members of the cast when they were shooting the movie, and I can assure you how truly they love this story and how dedicated they are.

To conclude, I will just tell you, give this movie a chance, don’t let the word “vampire” or any other comparison refrain you from watching it; this story is really different and refreshing from any others, with strong and different characters.

Take a look at some positive responses from authors:

And from reviewers:

Overall the Vampire Academy delivers in a way that many people won’t expect from the trailers that have been shown. It captures the spirit of Mean Girls with the bonus of action scenes and fangs. Vampire Academy is a rare adaptation that both sticks to the source material and tells a story everyone can enjoy. (from Hypable)

What the film does have going for it is a writer who knows how to write strong, flawed-yet-likable female characters and an ear for the way teenage girls communicate with one another (also a masterful hand at inserting subtle pop culture references, which will make for an excellent addition to your drinking game). The cast (which features veterans Gabriel Byrne, Joely Richardson and Olga Kurylenko) is also equally as strong, clearly having fun with their campy roles and going for broke vamping it up. Vampire Academy isn't meant to be taken seriously and that's a-ok, in fact, that makes it all the more fangtastically fun to watch. (from Digital Journal)

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