Wednesday, 12 August 2009

This is what my boredom brings you...

...a 1,400+ word post on the merits of Vampire Academy vs. Twilight. Apologies. I'll get back to reviews now ;)

Vampire Academy vs. Twilight

Vampire Academy: Rose is a 17 year old dhampir training to be a guardian to her best friend Lissa, a mortal vampire, a Moroi princess. The biggest threat they face are the immortal vampires, the Strigoi who hunt the Moroi and would love to turn or kill as many of the Moroi as they can. Rose's mentor is Dimitri Belikov and he's training her to be the very best she can be. And they're falling in love. In a world where a dhampirs soul job is to defend the Moroi they shouldn't be together, even if he wasn't her teacher and 7 years older.

Twilight: Bella is a human 17 year old who moves back to small town Forks to live with her dad after her mom remarries. There she meets the Cullen's and becomes obsessed with Edward. But the Cullen family are different, they're almost too beautiful to look at and keep completely to themselves. They're vampires. But that doesn't stop Bella going after Edward. Her best friend, Jacob Black, does his best to stop the relationship though. He's a werewolf and natural enemy to the vampires. He'd like nothing more than to take Edward apart and the feeling is mutual.

The Story
Vampire Academy is a full and well rounded story. It looks at friendship, and how it changes between two people who've known each other forever as they grow up and become adults. Love, both the 'I'd die for you' kind and the relationships that are more suited to friendship. Questioning the things you've always believed in as it's what you've always been told, and figuring out for yourself that life is not all that you thought. And it asks too big questions of Rose constantly: How far would she go to protect the ones she loves. And, how to choose between the two people she loves most when they both need her.

Twilight is almost solely a love story, with a little extra danger thrown in. Bella will do anything to be with Edward including turning her back on her friends, lying and running from her parents, basically ignoring all the people who want to keep her grounded in reality. She'll even give up her humanity to spend forever with him. Bella is wanted by vampires in Europe as well though, who are the law in the vampire world, creating the potential for serious conflict.

Rose Hathaway: Tough and independent she struggles to trust anyone. Aside from Dimitri and Lissa, she rarely lets people in. She's fiercely protective of Lissa and clearly cares deeply for her despite growing distance between them. She's fallen for her mentor, who's 7 years older than her. She knows they shouldn't be together however and does try to stay away from him. She can be bratty and impulsive and she tends to speak (or yell) before she thinks. But she has a much greater understanding of the world around her than most give her credit for. More so than some of the adults around her.

Bella Swan: She spends almost all of her time pining after Edward. If he's with her, she's upset she can't be closer to him, that he won't let her because she's 'too fragile', and if he's not with her, she wants to be with him. She cares about her best friend, Jacob, as well, but he's not enough for her to stop thinking about Edward. She can be impulsive, but where Rose knows there will be consequences when she acts suddenly, Bella doesn't and isn't prepared to deal with them. Her world revolves around Edward, she'll do anything to be with him and to protect him.

Dimitri Belikov: Strong, tall (really tall, like, 6' 7") and preferring to stay in his room and read when off duty, he's a very respected guardian, despite only being 24. He's completely dedicated to his duty, going against his training is like him going against nature. He may have feelings for Rose but he doesn't go soft on her. He's training her to be the very best she can be, to be one of the best guardians there are. And as much as he pushes her physically, he doesn't come close to pushing her romantically, in fact, he does what he can to avoid the relationship knowing it would be bad for both. But above all, he treats her with respect. Intense and deadly his temper can snap like Roses', but it's much better hidden and he can strike with the precision of a viper.

Edward Cullan: Equally obsessed with Bella. He takes to stalking her, breaking in to her room to watch her sleep at night (not cool - disturbing). He doesn't do much to encourage her to have a life besides him and his family. He may have a point wanting to marry her rather than turning her into a vampire, but with the stalking and other things, it falls flat. He may put up with Jacob for Bella, but he'd rather have her totally to himself.

Romantic Relationships
Vampire Academy: Rose and Dimitri may be forbidden, but it's not a reason for it. They fell for each other as they got to know each other. Learning that they had a lot in common, understood the other almost, if not better at times, then themselves, and on having a mutual respect for each other. It's a strong relationship, but it's not all consuming, they're still capable of being individuals.

Twilight: The majority of the story is about Bella and Edward. A love so consuming all other life fails to exist. Okay, there is a love triangle between Jacob, Bella and Edward as well, but it is very clear very early on that it's only ever going to be Edward, so it's a moot point. And the relationship between Bella and Edward isn't a healthy one, I'm not sure how people can say it is, because she turns her back on everyone and everything, including her own humanity for him, and he doesn't stop her. Not healthy.

The writing style in each book is very different. Ms. Mead gives her readers a clear and vivid image of the world and characters she's created. You can get to know characters quickly and easily and you're given good physical descriptions of them, with space to interpret for yourself. There is a great balance of darkness and grit, with a touch of humor to give some lighter moments. Ms. Meyer's work on the other hand is much more about Bella's feelings, rather than the physical nature of her experiences. There is little detailed description of the world around her or the people (with the exception of Edward) so you get a rough impression, but most of if you can make up yourself. Her tone isn't as strong and the words don't have the punch of Ms. Mead's as a result.

Vampire Lore
Twilight has little traditional vampire lore. They are supernaturally fast and strong, almost indestructible, but they're not affected by sunlight (apart from to sparkle of all things), a simple stake to the heart won't kill them and it takes a massive amount to destroy them. They do need blood to survive though and human food is a big no.

Vampire Academy however, has plenty of commonly found vampire lore, particularly with the Strigoi. They're immortal, supernaturally fast, strong, enhanced hearing and sight. They're evil and killers, hunting their prey alone or in groups. They're unable to enter holy buildings and daylight is a big no no. They can be killed with a silver stake to the heart or by decapitation. They, along with the Moroi and dhampir's, all have a basis in mythology and legend with Ms. Mead's own twists. But it's all much closer to that commonly found and recognized as vampire lore.

Overall opinion: Twilight is an okay series, but nothing more. The characters are pretty unbelievable at times and can get very annoying. Jacob was my sole reason for finishing the series and he seemed the best of the characters. Vampire Academy on the other hand has strong, but flawed characters, who are easy to relate to. The plot is strong and holds together very well making a great read. Twilight tends to drag on a bit, with Bella thinking of little but Edward. Would I buy another YA vampire series by Ms. Meyer? Unlikely. By Ms Mead? What's the quickest way to get it? Is yesterday too soon?


Jessica said...

I liked this post! I have read the Twilight series as well, and while I did enjoy it on some part, I will admit that it was pretty predictable at times. Such as who Bells chooses in the love triangle. And vampires that sparkle? Yeah me and my friend got a kick out of that. We like vampires, but sparkly ones?? Not so much!

I do agree that Vampire Academy is more entertaining and I liked the way Mead writes. You can relate well to her characters, they have flaws and they aren't overly annoying. Not that they are in Twilight, I may just be confusing myself with Bella and Kirsten. No offense to Kirsten. Although I do say if there was another Twilight book, like the one that got canceled due to the leak, I would probably read it, but I might wait for the paperback.

Now Mead on the other hand, all I'll say is when does the next book come out? And then that day you will find me at Borders!

Cem said...

Lol pretty much agree with all of that. I found Bella incredably annoying though, she annoyed the heck out of me. Rose doesn't annoy me at all, I find myself easily able to relate to her.

And yes, sparkly vampires?? Just too much!! lol