Sunday, March 28, 2010

Boarding school Books: Vampire Edition

This is the second last edition of my themed posts on books that take place in boarding schools.  The next post will focus on books that are not part of a series, books that I may have forgotten, and books that were recommended to me by my readers.  This is going to be a long post so I am going to shorten it up a bit by only providing a synopsis of the first book in the series but links will be included for each series so you can quickly find more information if you need to!

First up is a relatively new series that was released just over a year ago by Claudia Gray.  It is a hugely popular series and I can't wait to read the newest installment of the series, Hourglass, which came out in the beginning of March 9th.  What appealed to me most about this series (other then the fact that it takes place in a boarding school) is the mystery that unfolds throughout the first two novels in the series.  The main characters are well written and I was really able to make a connection with Bianca, the female protagonist.  Claudia's descriptions are written in such as way as to enable the reader to visualize each scene with clarity and the tone and pace of the dialogue is easy to read.  Despite all the wonderful things I could say about Claudia Gray as a writer the most important thing is she is an excellent story teller which is after all the most important thing (to me) about a writer. 

Title: Evernight
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Published: February 9, 2009

Claudia Gray Website

From the Publisher: 

Bianca wants to escape.
At the eerily Gothic Evernight Academy, the other students are sleek, smart, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.
When she meets handsome, brooding Lucas, he warns her to be careful-even when it comes to caring about him. But the connection between them can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

-- Prologue

The burning arrow thudded into the wall.

Fire. The old, dry wood of the meetinghouse ignited in an instant. Dark, oily smoke filled the air, scratching my lungs and making me choke. Around me, my new friends cried out in shock before grabbing weapons, preparing to fight for their lives.

This is because of me. 

Arrow after arrow sliced through the air, stoking the flames higher. Through the haze of ash, I desperately sought Lucas’s eyes. I knew he would protect me no matter what, but he was in danger, too. If something happened to Lucas while he was trying to rescue me, I could never forgive myself.
Coughing from the soot-thick air, I grabbed Lucas’s hand and ran with him toward the door. But they were ready for us.

Silhouetted against the flames, a dark, forbidding line of figures stood just beyond the edge of the meetinghouse. None of them brandished weapons; they didn’t have to in order to make their threat clear. They had come for me. They had come to punish Lucas for breaking their rules. They had come to kill.

This is all happening because of me. If Lucas dies, it will be my fault. 

There was nowhere to go, no place to run. We couldn’t remain here, not with the blaze around us roaring, already so hot that it stung my skin. Soon the ceiling would collapse and crush us all.

Outside, the vampires waited.

Claudia Gray's website has a lot of fun things to check out.  From here you can access the prologue from the second and third book in this series, Stargazer and Hourglass, various items to purchase such as t-shirts and mugs, and interesting links to character specific web sites. What I was very excited to learn is that their will be a fifth book in the series titled, Afterlife, coming out in March 2011 as well as a standalone novel about Balthazar which does not yet have a publication date. I have included a few videos I found on youtube including a video of Claudia Gray talking about the first book in the series, Evernight.

Fan made trailer for Evernight

Next up is my personal favorite in the "boarding school" genre and one of my favorite YA series of all time, the Vampire Academy Series, by Richelle Mead.  Of all the books that take place in a boarding school that houses teenage vampires this is the one I can most relate to as an adult.  The main character, Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a half human half vampire who is dedicated to protecting Lissa Dragomir, a mortal vampire known as the Mori.  Both attend St. Vladimir's Academy which is located in the forests on Montana where Rose is training to be a professional bodyguard.  While the plot is filled with mystery, magic, friendship, and fighting what makes me keep reading this series is the intense and exciting forbidden love between Rose and......(I'll stop here in order to not spoil anything!!!).  If you like vampires, romance, and boarding schools THIS IS the series for you!

Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin Young Reader Group
Published:  August 21, 2007

Richelle Mead's Website

From the Publisher

St Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school-it's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St Vladimir's-the very place where they're most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable night-time rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi - the world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires - make Lissa one of them forever.

More cool stuff:
For those of you who have read the series and CAN"T WAIT for Spirit Bound to come out see below for a video filmed by Penguin where Richelle Mead reads an excerpt from the yet to be release book

Last but not least is the famous House of Night Series by P.C and Kristin Cast.  When I began reading this series I was completely enmeshed but the last two books left me feeling kind of bored.  I love the spiritual element and the incorporation of native myth and legend.  I love the relationship between Zoey Redbird and her grandmother as well as the, at times, comical characteristics of Zoey's friends.  What I don't like about the series is Zoey's constant change in love interests and how they portray the male characters in the novel.  There are seven books in this series at this time and it all takes place in such a very, very short period of time (hence my dislike for her constant change in love interests).  I am still very interested in reading the next book in the series and I do recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this type of book but I would be interested in hearing how my readers who have read this series feel about the last two books.  I hate writing anything negative about books but I also hate being dishonest.  In summary I do LOVE the vast majority of this series but I hope the next book in this series makes me forget some of the elements I have disliked in the last two books.

Title: Marked
Author: P.C & Kristin Cast
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: May 1, 2007
Book Order: Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted, Burned (Release date for burned: April 27, 2010) 

From the Publisher:

The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird''s world, vampyres have always existed.  In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire—that is, if she makes it through the Change.  Not all of those who are chosen do.  It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling.  She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx.  But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers.  When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school''s most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny—with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

I suggest checking out the House of Night Website where you can find A LOT of really fun stuff including, upleading your own picture to see what you would look like "marked," a yearbook where you will see pictures and character bio's for all the main characters, and information on the upcoming novel, Burned.
For those of you who don't already know the House of Night Series is being made into a movie.  The only current information I can find is that Empire Pictures purchased the rights to the film and a screenplay for the book Marked is being developed by Kent Dalian.  The projected release date for this film in sometime in 2011.  I can't wait to see who they cast as all the main characters!

There are A LOT of fan made trailers to be found on youtube however this one is I believe one of the official book trailers for the series.  Enjoy!


Time4Mommy said...

Great picks!
I haven't read Evernight yet but you've made me want to read it!

Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading) said...

Great picks! I love VA, I think HON is kinda lame, and haven't read Evernight yet but plan to.

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