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February 7th, 2014

Movie Review - Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Byrne, Dominic Sherwood, Olga Kurylenko, Sarah Hyland, Cameron Monaghan, Sami Gayle, Ashley Charles, Claire Foy, Joely Richardson, Dominique Tipper, and more.

Directed by: Mark Waters Screenplay by: Daniel Waters Based on the Novel by: Richelle Mead Cinematography by: Tony Pierce-Roberts Music by: Rolfe Kent

Premise: After a year living among normal people, Lissa Dragomir and her protector, Rose Hathaway, are found again by the Guardians of the Vampire Academy. Lissa and Rose are the only survivors of a terrible car accident two years prior. One which has made Lissa the sole remaining Dragomir, and one who is in line for the throne. Not that the way she's treated by everyone at the academy makes her feel like she's actually anyone important. But her special bond with Rose, which goes beyond their survival of the crash, might be the one thing which will keep her out of evil's clutches. (PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Zoey Deutch was so much fun as Rose Hathaway. As the main character, her delivery of Rose's 'snark' and general 'speak her mind' attitude gave the film a lot of zing. Lucy Fry played a very convincing Lissa, demure and reserved yet slowly flowering into the queen she might yet be. Dominic Sherwood did great as the first smitten, later spurned, then boyfriend and Rose's 'frienemie'. Sarah Hyland and Sami Gayle were very convincing as their roles slowly changed through the film.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Since the Moroi are magic wielders, this gave ample opportunities for the special effects department to show us some neat little special effects. The change in Rose's eyes whenever she tuned in to Lissa looked great. And so did the Strigoi - the truly undead vampires in this universe. Their wolves were all right, though most special effect groups do seem to have a hard time with them. But definite praise should be given for the transformation which occurs late in the film - it was so seamless you almost didn't even realize it happened. A very impressive piece of work.

3) Story - Total Thumbs Up: Viewers are rushed about a little as a lot of information is fed to us very fast. Rose's continued commentary, however, helps with the transition. For the short 104 minutes of the film and the amount of history needed to be imparted to viewers to give them a sense of the world they were viewing, the screenplay did a pretty good job. I've not read the series the film is based on, but overall I felt I was given enough information to have a decent 'clue' on what was going on and why.

This is film based on a young adult series, so it brings up a lot of the usual issues in high school, except these are between living, magic using vampires and the half breeds who protect them. But there's also deeper machinations going on, like the fact Rose was compelled to get her and Lissa to run away the year before in the first place.

It does take some getting used to to think of the vampires at the academy as being alive and of another, very dangerous group who are actually the true undead. But as with any good story, the obvious bad guys aren't always the ones you really need to worry about. Not at first.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Some neat training scenes and some definitely cooler combat scenes kept the stunt team quite busy. Add a few bits of magic later on, and the fights got even more of a kick.

Conclusion: "Vampire Academy" is a fast, fun ride. Some twists and turns and not all of them obvious. A cool introduction to a convoluted world.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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