Adaptation of Six-Part Series VAMPIRE ACADEMY Sounds Vaguely Feminist

     July 6, 2010

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After the release of Eclipse, we’re more than halfway through the Twilight Saga, but gothic teens need not fear the end of the vampire craze anytime soon.  Producers Don Murphy (Transformers) and Michael Preger (Village of the Damned) are teaming to adapt Vampire Academy, the six-part series from Richelle Mead.  The novels are centered around Rose Hathaway, a 17-year-old half human/half vampire who… well, the logline should really be printed in full, so we’ll save it for after the jump.

Here’s Variety’s take:

“[Vampire] Academy, set at St. Vladimir’s Academy in the Montana forests, centers on Rose Hathaway, a 17-year-old female “dhampir” — a half human/half vampire and a guardian of the Moroi race of peaceful mortal vampires.  She must deal with the intricacies of the Moroi social order and the Strigoi, a race of bloodthirsty immortal vampires and predators of the Moroi.”

vampire_academy_richelle_mead_book_coverThe mythology is murky enough that I still don’t really know what the series is about, but it sounds like Academy has point that could sell it to cynics.

Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer famously inspired  university courses in gender studies with its 1997-2003 run, but recent vampirical works (Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood) have all suffered criticism of anti-feminism.  In particular, Twilight has been derided for the depiction of lead character Bella Swan as:

Yikes.

But unlike Bella, Sookie, and Elena, the center of Vampire Academy is half vampire from the get-go.  Surely that trait helps make her an active agent in her own life (and the plot), rather than a Bellaesque damsel in distress.

And yet it sounds like Rose is involved in a “forbidden romance,” so for all I know, the character is a perfectly blank slate upon which impressionable young girls can project themselves.  Hope it’s the former; please chime in if you’ve read the books.

The sixth and final novel in the series, Last Sacrifice, hits bookshelves on December 7th.  Here’s a synopsis of the first novel via Amazon:

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 nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

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