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If you haven’t read the Vampire Academy series, you really don’t know what you’re missing. The quality of this book is leagues beyond the Twilight series and other contemporary vampire series out there, or really any series out there. And no, I’m not 12 years old.

Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy: Spirit Bound

My little sister introduced me to the series. She left the books in my apartment and a good three months passed before I forced myself to pick the first book up. The vampire market is way past saturated, it’s oozing. And with the Twilight movie hype I think we’re all sick of the V word. The problem is this: The Vampire Academy series is amazing. Every book so far has left me wanting more. And I’m not gonna lie, the love story hooked me from the start until the political story lines began to unfold.

If you haven’t read these books, the world has three vampire races that most humans are oblivious to. The pure race, born from two vampires, are the Moroi. They possess magical powers that their society has repressed over time. Dhampirs are part vampire and part human. Dhampirs are stronger than Moroi so they live their lives as guardians for the Moroi because without Moroi, Dhampirs could no longer exist. The third type of vampires are Strigoi. Only Strigoi kill people, but they also hunt and kill Moroi. This sounds complicated, but it’s a lot simpler than other popular fantasy series, ahem Game of Thrones.

Told in first person, our main character Rose Hathaway is strong, smart and fearless. She’s also evaded the plague of self-doubt that afflicts so many young female YA characters, and that’s refreshing. Actually, all of the characters seem like real people. Unlike many paranormals, their personalities make them compelling, not their supernatural abilities.

There are six books total that span the length of one year in the lives of our hero Rose, her best friend Lissa, and their gang of strapping young men. No spoiling will go on here, but by book 5 the loves, friendship, fighting and politics are woven seamlessly. It’s a tough book to put down. Spirit Bound has less action than the previous four. Things happen, but the plot is much less heavy on the fighting. This keeps the books from feeling formulaic. The story delves deeper into the characters’ internal worlds, which is fitting considering …wouldn’t you like to know?

I do have beef with the covers. They don’t do the meatiness of the books justice. I also don’t like being shown a face because it distracts from the images in my head.

Book 6 is on my nightstand haunting me. I will resist for as long as I can because anticipation is part of the fun. Richelle Mead does have a spin-off series, but don’t you dare peak and who’s it in.