Literature: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy is a series of Young Adult Vampire Fiction novels written by Richelle Mead. The story follows Rose Hathaway, a 17 year old Dhampir who is training to be the guardian to her best friend, Lissa Dragomir, a Moroi princess, with whom she shares a Psychic Link. They train at the Academy of Adventure called Saint Vladimir's Academy for young vampire children and their bodyguards. After spending two years on the run, Lissa and Rose are brought back to the school and are forced to re-acquaint themselves with the student body. They are soon joined by a new bodyguard named Dimitri, who is assigned to Lissa in place of Rose.

Despite being Young Adult novels, the books are rather accurate in their portrayal of teenagers. They cuss, drink, make out, have sex or try to. There is very little whitewashing done of the teenaged experience and the book becomes a much more satisfying read due to the realism of the portrayal. While still kept within a PG-13 definition of edgy, the works have gained a substantial adult following in addition to their intended audience.

Has a spinoff series, Bloodlines.

The books, in order of publication:

  • Vampire Academy (August 2007)
  • Frostbite (April 2008)
  • Shadow Kiss (November 2008)
  • Blood Promise (August 2009)
  • Spirit Bound (May 2010)
  • Last Sacrifice (December 2010)

A film adaptation was released in 2014. View the teaser trailer here and the official trailer here.

The book series provides examples of:

  • Academy of Adventure: Saint Vladimir's Academy. A school for Moroi vampires and dhampirs, taught by older Moroi vampires and dhampirs. Plenty of magic going on, political scheming and plots, and battleground for a Strigoi invasion in Shadow Kiss.
  • Action Girl:
    • Rose Hathaway. Pretty much a prerequisite as a guardian, but still. Trained to fight against Strigoi and other threats. Skilled at killing.
    • Tasha Ozera. And a pretty badass one too. She was not granted guardians by court. So trained herself in self-defense and offensive magic. She was tutoring others as a defense instructor.
    • Any dhampir girl, really. They all tend to be more healthy and athletic than their human counterparts. Even those not fully trained can handle themselves well in fights.
    • Any female guardian. They are trained since their school years in combat techniques, aimed at making them fighters against super-strong, super-fast Strigoi vampires. They can fall in battle but usually manage to hold their own.
    • Any of the female Keepers. Living in a society where Moroi, humans, and dhampirs co-exist, and fighting skills are praised above all.
  • Actual Pacifist: The Moroi are trained in a pacifistic philosophy, learning to not use their magic in either offensive or defensive ways. Which is why they depend on dhampir guardians to protect them from the Strigoi threat. Individuals like Tasha and Christian Ozera rebel against this way of thinking, learning how to fight and training others to do so as well.
  • The Alcatraz: Tarasov prison for Moroi and dhampir criminals and mental patients. Prisoners are held in an exhausted state to prevent escape. The prison moves from Alaska in the summer to other places with abundant sunlight in the winter, so that potential vampire escapees would be exposed to sunlight. Nobody ever escaped until Rose, Lissa, and Eddie Castile broke Victor Dashkov out.
  • The Alibi: In Last Sacrifice, when Rose is framed for regicide, Adrian provides her with an alibi as they spend the night of the murder together. His mother Daniella Ivashkov then goes to provide him with his own alibi. Bribing a janitor to testify that Adrian arrived in Rose's apartment later than he actually did. So they could not have done the deed together. Problem was that the second alibi was not needed, only complicating things more.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: In-Universe, the Alchemists consider Strigoi, Moroi, and Dhampirs to be all "evil creatures of the night". But they are willing to concede that the latter two are a lighter shade of black. Allowing them to covertly co-operate.
  • All Genes Are Codominant: The vampiric Moroi are physically frail (which is compensated for by their elemental magic and healing factors), so they interbreed with humans in order to create dhampirs- which have the strength of full humans and a slight healing factor- to protect themselves from the Strigoi. Dhampirs cannot procreate with humans or among themselves, and do not have to drink blood like either vampiric races.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Inna is the willing servant and love interest of Nathan, a handsome Strigoi. Her love interest happens to be evil.
  • All There in the Manual: Aaron is Lissa's and Mia's boyfriend and a royal Moroi. His particular clan is not mentioned in the series. "Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide" reveals him to a member of the Drozdov clan. Kind of makes sense since Mia's parents were established as servants to this clan.
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Rose Hathaway. Hoo boy. Though a good person at heart, she definitely fulfils this role at the Academy. Or at least tries to. Popular girl, center of the social scene, and has an attitude.
    • Lissa Dragomir. Even more so than Rose, though she has a more agreeable personality. She charms her way into the center of social life at the Academy, using the prestige of her wealth and princess status. She ingratiates herself to all the power players of the social scene, seduces Aaron (her former boyfriend), and all to isolate Mia Rinaldi.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Strigoi. They lose all sense of morality when awakened into their new existence. They are all indiscriminate killers, have no loyalty to fellow Strigoi even when allied, and have no appreciation for beauty.
  • Amicable Exes: Janine Hathaway and Ibrahim "Abe" Mazur had a relationship eighteen years before the main events of the series. They interact closely late in the series and seem to her a very friendly relationship. Rose suspects that they are getting back together.
  • Animals Hate Him: Animals dislike dhampirs, while having no problem with the Moroi. The mere presence of a dhampir sets them on edge.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: There are notable exceptions, but the royals tend to be selfish and spoiled. Non-royal Moroi and dhampirs tend to suffer at their hands.
  • Artifact Title: The second, fourth, and sixth books take place primarily outside of the eponymous St. Vladimir's Academy.
  • Aura Vision: Nearly all spirit users in the series demonstrate the ability to see auras.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • One becomes shadow kissed when a spirit user revives them. Essentially what happened to Rose, who died along with Lissa's parents and brother.
    • Another variation of this is spirit can bring Strigoi back from the dead. This happens with two characters. Dimitri and Mrs. Karp.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Rose often with Dimitri. They co-operate in battle scenes. For example in Spirit Bound they immediately go back-to-back to face the royal guard, and do a good job at taking them out.
  • Badass:
    • Rose Hathaway is tough and physically strong. She is highly capable of kicking major ass when she has to.
    • Dimitri Belikov is a strong, capable fighter and he can kick ass whenever he has to in order to protect the people he cares about, especially Rose.
    • Eddie Castile. Obviously. Trained from childhood to fight and able to face superior numbers of enemies.
    • Janine Hathaway. She is Rose's mother after all. She is one of the most famous Strigoi-killers of the guardian world.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: This conversation between Rose and Dimitri in Shadow Kiss:
    Rose: Are you afraid of my possibly insane dark side coming out?
    Dimitri: No, I’m afraid of your normal Rose Hathaway side coming out, the one that isn’t afraid to jump in without thinking when she believes something is right.
    Rose: Is there a difference?
    Dimitri: Yes. The second one scares me.
  • Battle Couple: Rose and Dimitri. They often fight alongside each other, facing the enemy jointly.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The Moroi, who all share the characteristic of looking like supermodels. Ironically, because being tall and slender is normal to them, they consider curvy girls and buff guys to be the ideal, which most dhampirs are.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Rose between Mason (Betty) and Dimitri (Veronica). Mason is a close childhood friend, who adores her, and offers her a safe relationship. Dimitri is her older mentor and their relationship is forbidden. Later it's Rose between Dimitri and Adrian, though which one is the Betty or Veronica depends on the situation (usually Dimitri is the Betty but when he's a Strigoi he is definitely a Veronica). Dimitri is more down-to-earth while Adrian is wealthy, glamorous, and likes to show-off. During Dimitri's Strigoi face, Adrian offers a safer relationship to Rose and proves devoted. While Dimitri is dangerous and is willing to completely dominate his lover.
    • Lissa between Aaron (Betty) and Christian (Veronica) in the first book. Aaron is her former boyfriend, first love, and is still crazy about her. But he is boring, while Christian is a fascinating bad boy with an edge.
  • Bit Character: Several of the teachers and students of St. Vladimir's Academy are no more than this. Appearing for one or two scenes and then vanishing into obscurity. A few are more recurring than others. Dr. Olendzki turns up whenever a protagonist is injured or shows signs of mental instability, Deirdre is the therapist appointed to Rose and Lissa, Camille Conta acts as one of the Academy's most popular girls and a power-player in the social scene, Xander Badica is a student who wants to taste what Rose's blood tastes like and figures in social gathering scenes, etc.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Victor Dashkov acts as surrogate family for Lissa and reportedly "had gone out of his way to help her after her parents died. He turns to be the Big Bad.
    • Natalie Dashkov acts like a cute and friendly dorky girl on the outside, which hides her true devious nature. She is not a true friend to Lissa, but an enemy. Killing animals, which Lissa cares for, in an effort to manipulate her. Leaving mental scars.
  • Bittersweet Ending: This is in effect the ending to the series. On the sweet side: 1) Lissa rises to the throne with the intention to push necessary reforms to both Moroi and dhampir lives. 2) The relationship of Rose and Dimitri is safely accepted and their careers as guardians are secure. On the bitter side: 1) Jill is now a Princess and is exposed to the dangers of life at Court. 2) Adrian is broken-hearted after Rose ends their relationship. His vices return. 3) Eddie Castile is in trouble after killing a Moroi in self-defense. His once promising career as a guardian is in jeopardy. 4) Sydney Sage is in trouble with the Alchemists after helping the fugitive Rose. The spinoff series Bloodlines follows the fates of all four characters with bitter endings.
  • Blessed with Suck: The shadow-kissed. They share a Psychic Link with their spirit users, which is very useful if the Shadow-kissed is a guardian, but because the nature of Spirit often drives the user crazy, the Shadow-kissed end up absorbing all of that negative energy. Oh, and being able to see ghosts isn't as wonderful as some people make it out to be.
  • Blow You Away: Kenneth, a torturer, uses air to pressure Lissa's skull, smother her, and leaving her gasping for air.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity : In Frostbite, Isaiah had Christian Ozera, Mia Rinaldi, Rose Hathaway, Mason Ashford, and Eddie Castile captured and chose to keep them alive for days. This allowed them to escape and fight back against him. Leading to his death.
  • Broken Aesop: In Blood Promise, Dimitri is turned into an Always Chaotic Evil Strigoi, a Fate Worse Than Death. Rose is deeply hurt by this and abandons her education to trek through Russia so she can stake him, and thereby find closure. It's a long and dangerous journey that ends with Rose learning that she has to let go of Dimitri's memory and return to her friends and family, because mourning him in such a obsessive way sabotages her own life. It's a good lesson that is shot to hell by the book's closing chapter, which reveals that Spirit wielders have a completely unforeshadowed ability that allows them to resurrect Strigoi as the people they were, despite nothing else in the books even hinting that was possible. And after she learns this, Rose turns right back around and vows to get Dimitri resurrected this way, even planning to break a criminal out of prison so it can happen!
  • Career Versus Man: A subject brought up by Daniella Ivashkov in Spirit Bound. She figures that Rose will have to eventually choose between her career as a guardian and settling down to become a housewife. And correctly realizes out that Rose will always put her career first.
  • The Casanova:
    • Andre Dragomir was not above seducing younger girls and eventually dumping them. Mia Rinaldi being the most notable example.
    • Rolan Kislyak seduced and impregnated Sonya Belikova, moved on to her younger sister Viktoria Belikova, and tried to hit on Rose while still dating the latter.
    • Adrian Ivashkov is seen to be a player, party boy and a womanizer who loves a lot of women.
  • The Casino:
    • Rose, Lissa, Eddie Castile, Victor Dashkov, Adrian Ivashkov, and Robert Doru spend time in various Las Vegas' casinos in Spirit Bound. They do not have much time to enjoy the sights are they are hunted down by Dimitri the Strigoi and his subordinates.
    • The same book establishes that there is a Moroi-owned casino in Las Vegas, called the Witching Hour. It figures out again in the plot of Last Sacrifice. Eric Dragomir met his mistress Emily (Mastrano) there, fifteen years before the events of the book.
  • Cat Fight: Averted in Last Sacrifice. When Rose and Angeline (Dawes) of the Keepers get into a fight, it is depicted as prolonged and serious. Not used to turn on the male characters watching them.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Averted. The dominant religion of the Moroi world is Orthodox Christianity.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome:
    • Rose Hathaway. Her protective instincts tend to overwhelm her reason. For example in Blood Promise she goes to check up on a random homeless woman and in the process separates herself from her group. Going against her own rules not to break ranks for safety reasons. That is how Dimitri the Strigoi ambushes her.
    • Dimitri Belikov. His protective instincts tend to overwhelm his reason. In Spirit Bound, the royal guard attempts to arrest Rose as a suspect of regicide. Dimitri does not know what is going on but faces twenty elite guardians to protect her. At the time his own life is in the balance, as the Council is trying to decide whether to execute him or not. This act of defiance does not help his case.
  • The Clan: The books feature 12 royal clans: Houses Badica, Conta, Dashkov, Dragomir, Drozdov, Ivashkov, Lazar, Ozera, Szelsky, Tarus, Voda, and Zeklos.
  • Clear Their Name: In Last Sacrifice, Rose is accused of regicide and goes on a quest to clear her name. Meanwhile, Lissa and her friends back at Court also gather evidence to clear Rose's name.
  • Comic-Book Time: The entire series doesn't even cover a year. Including Bloodlines, the 10 books published so far cover a year and a half.
  • The Confidant:
    • Sonya Karp realized Lissa was a fellow spirit before the majority of the cast. She kept the secret. She was also aware that her cousin Emily Mastrano was mother to Jill, an illegitimate daughter of royalty. She was Emily's sole confidant in that respect.
    • Daniella Ivashkov was the confidant of Eric Dragomir. She knew he had an illegitimate daughter.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Alice the supposedly crazy feeder is the first to note the sighting of ghosts as a sign that the protective wards around the Academy are failing. She is right. At least 50 Strigoi break through the weakened wards.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: In Shadow Kiss, Brandon Lazar and Brett Ozera explained their torture wounds by claiming they fell.
  • Damsel in Distress: Abby Badica when captured by Strigoi. She is a cute, helpless, royal Moroi who breaks down in the face of danger. Every one of her rescuers is tempted to leave the battle and comfort it.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Moroi vampires can go about in the sunlight, although it does weaken them. The Strigoi vampires, on the other hand, die in sunlight.
  • Deader Than Dead:
    • All Strigoi. They are effectively reanimated corpses, not living organisms. And the fact that even though they are dead, they can still be killed. Again. They have to be killed in a special way (putting a silver stake through their heart, set on fire, or decapitated). Unclear even if they have an afterlife, as they don't turn up as ghosts.
    • Also, Dimitri, in Blood Promise. He is already undead, gets staked, and is thrown into running water. He still manages to return.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Rose is known to have a very dry wit and sense of humor. Her mouth has a habit of getting her in trouble sometimes.
    • Christian. Of the Tall, Dark and Snarky variation. Some of his first sarcastic words to Lissa: "I love pity parties. I wish I'd brought the hats. What do you want to mope about first? How it's going to take you a whole day to be popular and loved again?"
  • Death by Origin Story: The accident that Lissa’s family and Rose died in happens before the book starts, and causes just about everything else in every book to happen.
  • Death by Sex: In Shadow Kiss, Rose and Dimitri finally give in to their passion for each other... And right after the school is attacked by Strigoi and Dimitri is "taken." Right when they whipped it out, you knew something bad was going to happen to one of them, at least, since a huge plot point of their relationship is that it's forbidden.
  • Decapitation Required: There are three ways to kill the Strigoi: staking, beheading, and burning. Due to this, guardians usually carry stakes only, and no guns.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen:
    • Mia Rinaldi, the cold enemy of Lissa and Rose is won over by The Power of Friendship in Frostbite. Becoming a genuine caring friend for the rest of the series.
    • Queen Tatiana has a cold demeanor and acts with an air of superiority towards Lissa and Rose. Treating the latter as dirt, as a lowly dhampir. But is revealed to a caring great-aunt for Adrian Ivashkov, acts as a mentor for Lissa, and even tries to afford Rose some respect when she becomes the girlfriend of Adrian.
  • Designated Girl Fight: In Last Sacrifice, during her prison escape, Rose faces three guardians. Dimitri takes on the two male ones, while Rose faces Meredith. Meredith being one of her few female classmates.
  • Dhampir: Moroi vampires are able to reproduce, and this produces a dhampir if the other parent is either a human or a dhampir. Two dhampirs cannot reproduce, however. Moroi vampires have Elemental Powers but are physically weak, while the dhampir offspring are fairly close to human, albeit with increased strength and speed. In Moroi society, the dhampirs frequently serve as bodyguards for the Moroi against the Strigoi (another kind of vampire that is far more close to the "Hollywood" vampire in that they are Always Chaotic Evil and can only "reproduce" by turning other beings into them). The main character, Rose Hathaway, is a dhampir, her mother is a dhampir and her father is a Moroi.
  • Disappeared Dad: This seems to be the most common result of male Moroi and female Dhampir relations. The dad takes off and the mother raises the children on her own.
  • Dishing Out Dirt:
    • Victor Dashkov's earth magic. He can use compulsion almost as good a spirit user and can cause minor earthquakes.
    • Natalie Dashkov uses earth magic until she turns strigoi. She uses her power to disintegrate the hard, solid wood of a bench. Rose was standing on the bench and the action fractured her ankle.
    • Abe Mazur's magic. In his case he mostly uses the compulsion powers of earth users.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ignore the context of this conversation and all the background knowledge you have of the characters for a moment and read this. Sounds as lovers confronting each other.:
    “Why didn’t you tell me?” She cried
    “I couldn’t tell anyone,” I said.
    “You should have told me,” She repeated, “I feel like you don’t trust me.”
    “Of course I trust you.”
    “Is that why you’re sneaking off?”
    “That has nothing to do with trust,” I admitted, “It’s me...well, I didn’t want to tell you. I couldn’t bear to tell you I was leaving or explain why.”
  • Do Not Call Me Paul: A minor example. Rose does not like being called "Rosemarie" and Lissa does not like to be called "Vasilisa". Rose does not object however when teacher Sonya Karp calls her by her first name. Nor does Lissa when Queen Tatiana Ivashkov insists on calling her by her first name.
  • Dream Weaver: Adrian Ivashkov, Robert Doru, and Sonya Karp all demonstrate the ability to enter the dreams of other people and shape them.
  • Driven to Suicide: Shadow-kissed Anna, the guardian and companion to Saint Vladimir, grew unstable following his death and committed suicide.
  • Easily Forgiven: Lissa Dragomir and Mia Rinaldi used to be bitter enemies. They hurt each other deeply at every opportunity. After Mia's mother is killed, Lissa has a change of heart and befriends her.
  • Elaborate University High: St. Vladimir's. Justified in that academies like St. Vladimir's are designed to house and protect its students their whole adolescent lives. Rose, for example, was pretty much raised by the Academy.
  • Elective Monarchy: The Moroi have such a monarchy. Candidates must be Royals, have their candidacy supported by at least three other Royals, and must pass three trials before the matter goes to a vote. Then it’s a matter of votes gathered.
  • Elemental Powers: All of the Moroi specialize in one of the four elements. Well, all except for those who specialize in Spirit, which people used to think was not specializing at all.
  • Enemy Mine: In Last Sacrifice, Rose teams up with Victor Dashkov against the mysterious assassin of Tatiana Ivashkov.
  • Everybody is Single: Seems to be the case with the guardians. There are guardians in sexual relationships, but the series never introduces an active guardian who is married. Instead there are two cases of guardians who resigned to marry. Probably an indication of how dedicated the guardians are to their jobs.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier If French:
    • Most of the Moroi are of Eastern European origin. Their names are Russian and Romanian in origin. They look like supermodels.
    • Dimitri. A very attractive Russian guy with a matching accent. Rose falls hard for him.
  • Evil All Along:
    • In Vampire Academy, it turns out Natalie was doing Victor Dashkov's dirty work the whole time.
    • In Blood Promise, Avery Lazar acted as a friend to Lissa and Adrian. Was revealed to be manipulating them for her own ends. She had no problem on driving Lissa to suicide.
  • Evil Counterpart Race: Subverted. The Moroi are presented as a good race of vampires and the Strigoi as their evil counterparts. Goes along with the Moroi having nature-friendly powers and a pacifistic philosophy, while the Strigoi are predators and are abhorred by nature itself. But the Moroi themselves turn out to be a not Always Lawful Good race. They have their share of cruel individuals and outright villains.
  • Exotic Extended Marriage: Raymond of the Keepers is married to Sarah and has Paulette as a concubine. Establishing the Keepers as more exotic that the average Moroi.
  • Face Monster Turn:
    • In Vampire Academy, Natalie turned Strigoi in an attempt to get her father out of jail.
    • Dimitri is turned Strigoi against his will at the end of Shadow Kissed.
  • Face Your Fears: In Last Sacrifice, one of the trials Lissa faces as a candidate for the throne, forces her to face her worst fears in realistic visions.
  • Faction Motto: For the guardians: "They come first". "They" means the Moroi, the motto translates to putting Moroi lives and needs before their own.
  • Famed In-Story: Arthur Schoenberg, "one of the greatest Strigoi killers in living guardian history". He appears only briefly as a corpse, but he is the most famous guardian to appear in-universe. His exploits are covered in schoolbooks at the Academy.
  • Family Versus Career: Mentioned to be the reason so few dhampir women choose to train for a career as guardians. They opt instead to have children.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Evident in the Moroi society. The royal Moroi have all the wealth and privileges, such as having a guardian assigned to them and being represented when there is voting for a new monarch. Non-royal Moroi tend to be working class, have to care of their own safety, and do not have a say in the electoral process. Dhampir guardians are trained their entire lives to serve the Moroi, do not inherit wealth, and receive modest payment. Non-guardian dhampirs are at the bottom of the social ladder. Either forced to leave Moroi society and work with humans or occupying marginal positions in Moroi society (mistresses and sex workers).
  • Fantastic Racism: Royal Moroi vampires are treated as inherently superior to non-royals. Getting all the privileges and able to treat their social inferiors as dirt. Moroi in general are treated as superior to Dhampires, who are supposed to devote their lives to them and are usually treated as servants. Alchemists are humans who hate them all as "evil creatures of the night", this includes Sydney Sage - she gets better though, befriending Rose.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Rose Hathaway and Mia Rinaldi were enemies until their captivity in Spokane in Frostbite. After saving each other's lives they became good friends.
  • First-Person Perspective: The books are told entirely through Rose's perspective.
  • Flashback: Rose occasionally interrupts the present narrative to Flashback to past events. Rose herself, Lissa, Dimitri, and Sonya Karp all receive additional characterization through these Flashbacks.
  • Foil: The dhampirs Janine Hathaway and Olena Belikova stand as Foils, representing the different life choices presented to dhampir women. Janine chose her career as a guardian over romance and family life. She travels the world. Olena chose to settle down early and devoted herself to raising a family. She has not set foot out her hometown of Baia.
  • Follow the Leader: The series is part of the boom in the Young Adult vampire genre caused by Twilight. According to a blog post by Richelle, in early 2006 her then-agent suggested that she should write in this genre. Ironically, she did not hear about the existence of Twilight until she started searching for a publisher. "... one editor rejected it because "It wasn't enough like Twilight." Another editor rejected it because "It was too much like Twilight." And I was—seriously—like, "What's Twilight? Is that a book?" "
  • Fortune Teller: Rhonda, a Tarot Cards reader at Court. Predicts the future in somewhat vague terms.
  • Frameup: In Last Sacrifice, Rose is framed for the murder of Queen Tatiana Ivashkov.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Lissa Dragomir and Ariana Szelsky acted friendly while competing for the throne.
  • Glory Seeker: Nathan the Strigoi has the ambition to kill Lissa and extinguish the Drogomir clan. It seems the Strigoi keep track of such things and the act would win him glory points.
  • G-Rated Drug: Moroi and Strigoi release endorphins when they feed. This is treated as seriously as any other drug, however. There are three notable references to the drug-like qualities.
    • Those that are 'feeders' are perfect examples. They allow the Moroi to drink from them in return for the high. Those who have been a feeder for a long time are portrayed to be very out of it, almost constantly high.
    • Blood Whores are Dhampires that let Moroi feed on them. While feeders are treated with respect, Blood Whores, surprisingly, are not. Rose has to deal with something similar in the first book, as when she ran away with Lissa, she would allow Lissa to feed on her.
    • When Strigoi Dimitri captures Rose, he keeps her incapacitated by feeding off of her.
  • Green Eyes: The Dashkov and Dragomir families share the genetic trait of jade green eyes. They are also both known for stronger connection to magic than any other royals.
    • Lissa Dragomir has strikingly green eyes. Goes well with her nature magic, ability to heal people and animals, and make plants grow.
  • Green Thumb: Posthumous Character Saint Vladimir, Sonya Karp, Oksana, Lissa Dragomir, and Adrian Ivashkov are all spirit users who can make plants grow.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold:
    • Lissa Dragomir is kind and blonde. She has angelic-looking blonde hair and typically goes out of her way to care for people and animals.
    • Eddie Castile. Described as blonde and one of the nicest guys Rose knows. He is very kind-hearted and protective of his friends, even willing to sacrifice his own career opportunities to help them.
  • Happiness in Slavery: The dhampirs sacrifice their lives and livelihood for the sake of protecting moroi, and few give any of it a second thought. Non-angsty dhampirs are refreshing, but this one's a bit on the other extreme.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl:
    • Rose Hathaway. Formerly, though she's not completely over this phase. As she describes herself: "I wanted to go to all the royal parties and wild drunken festivities like we'd done before."
    • Lissa Dragomir. Formerly. She used to go to "all the royal parties and wild drunken festivities". In Blood Promise, she returns to this type of behavior to a self-destructive degree. All part of Avery Lazar's influence on her.
    • Avery Lazar appeared to be this way, always ready to have a drink and seek out a party. Until it's revealed she was just trying to get Lissa drunk so she could kill her and bound with her.
  • Healing Factor: Strigoi heal from serious injuries, minutes after receiving them. Rose estimated that it would take five minutes for Dimitri to recover from a wooden stake piercing his heart.
  • Healing Hands: One of the basic powers of spirit users is to heal others by placing their hands on them.
    • Lissa Dragomir can lay her hand on people and animals to heal their injuries. In Rose's case, she resurrected her by healing lethal injuries. She did also heal Christian Ozera when he was moments away from dying. She temporarily cured Victor Dashkov from a fatal disease.
  • Hemo Erotic: Drinking someone's blood is seen as the ultimate domination. Doing it during sex is just plain kinky and weird. One of the series' Fantastic Slurs, "bloodwhore" revolves around that fact.
  • Hero Antagonist: Hans Croft, head of the guardians at Croft, punishes Rose and Eddie Castile for their Las Vegas "vacation", is in charge of hunting down an escaped Rose and interrogating her friends. He is an antagonist, but one that ultimately tries to keep everyone at Court safe.
  • Heroic Bastard:
    • Rose. The illegitimate daughter of Janine Hathaway and Ibrahim "Abe" Mazur. Her parents never married, making her an actual bastard. She is genuinely heroic.
    • Dimitri is the illegitimate son of Olena Belikova and a royal Moroi. His parents never married, making him a technical bastard. He is genuinely heroic.
  • Hero of Another Story: Mikhail Tanner and his quest to locate and mercy kill his beloved Sonya Karp after she turned Strigoi. The quest is briefly mentioned but never fully described.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Lissa and Rose. The two are psychically bonded to each other for life. In the fourth book, Rose goes off to kill Dimitri, leaving Lissa behind. The separation leaves a toll on both, and at the end, when Rose comes back, Lissa tells her to not leave her behind again.
    Lissa: I just wanted to say, after everything that's happened...well, I don't want us to ever have this kind of separation again. I mean, I know we can't be together every single second - and that's kind of creepy anyway - but we're bonded for a reason. We're meant to look out for each other and be there for each other.
  • Hidden Backup Prince: Jill Mastrano is an illegitimate heiress to the dying royal Dragomir family, who gets acknowledged in the finale of the series. Saving the family from near-extinction and losing its political rights. She herself had no idea of her status as she was raised in secrecy. A backup plan from Eric Dragomir.
  • High School Dance: The Halloween dance of the Academy is featured in the opening novel. The seniors are more interested in their drunken after-parties, while younger students dance in a way allowing them to grind against each other. Mia Rinaldi embarrasses Lissa, who runs away. Rose punches Mia and has to be escorted out.
  • Hopeless Suitor:
    • Mason Ashford acts as the boyfriend of Rose briefly in Frostbite but she is still obsessed with Dimitri throughout.
    • Adrian Ivashkov is a persistent suitor for Rose and even becomes her boyfriend briefly. But she is obsessed with Dimitri the whole time. Hopeless and heartbroken, at least until he found Sydney.
    • Tasha Ozera has an unrequited crush on Dimitri. She proposed to him and was turned down. He preferred Rose to her.
  • Human Mom, Non-Human Dad: The dhampirs Joshua and Angeline Dawes from Last Sacrifice have a Moroi vampire father and a human mother. They are members of the Keepers, where such mixed marriages are not uncommon.
  • Human Shield: In Last Sacrifice, when Tasha Ozera is exposed as the new main suspect for regicide, the guardians present are ordered to arrest her. She manages to take possession of a handgun and chooses a hostage (Mia Rinaldi) to use as her Human Shield. This works well enough to make the guardians stop moving. But Mia knows self-defense and manages to get out of Tasha's grasp.
  • Icy Blue Eyes:
    • Christian Ozera's most striking physical feature. Goes well with his coolness as a bad boy, and contrasts his actual fiery personality and powers.
    • Tasha Ozera. The trait runs in the family. Serves to mark her coolness. Turned out to go well with her inner ruthlessness.
  • If I Can't Have You: In Blood Promise, Strigoi Dimitri seems to settle upon this conclusion. He initially intended to turn Rose into a fellow Strigoi and rule a criminal empire with her. Once she conclusively rejected him, he hunts around the world to locate and kill her.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Abe Mazur, Rose's father, had one such discussion with Adrian Ivashkov when the latter dates his daughter. He truly intimidates the younger man.
  • Immortality Seeker:
    • Lucas and Moira Ozera were Moroi royals who willingly turned into Strigoi. They wanted to become immortal. Ironically they were killed by guardians not long after "awakening".
    • This is the established motive for most Moroi who willingly turn into Strigoi. Human Vampire Vannabes have the same motive.
  • Implied Love Interest: Janine Hathaway and Ibrahim "Abe" Mazur have close interactions by the end of the series. Rose suspects that they are having Sex with the Ex and that she might get a "surprise sibling" of her own. Her suspicions remain unconfirmed.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • "Zmey", the Serpent, for Abe Mazur.
    • Jill Mastrano is nicknamed "Jail Bait."
  • Interspecies Friendship: Rose Hathaway is a dhampir, Sydney Sage is a human. They are reluctant friends, though their species rarely interact. The Alchemists, Sydney's organization, think all vampires and dhampirs are evil. So the friendship between them is rare.
  • In the Blood: Christian and Tasha Ozera are thought to be tainted due to Lucas and Moira Ozera being Strigoi. They were respectively Christian's parents and Tasha's brother and sister-in-law. Tasha turns out to be a villain after all.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: In Frostbite, Christian seemingly surrendered to Isaiah's sadistic choice and drunk the blood of Rose to turn Strigoi. He actually used the proximity to burn her restraints and release her, initiating an escape attempt.
  • I Uh You Too: In Blood Promise, Dimitri’s inability to say I love you made Rose realize that he just thought of her as a conquest now that he was a Strigoi. It was the main reason she finally decided to get off her drug-addled butt and try to kill him.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique:
    • Used by Rose to interrogate Strigoi. She repeatedly wounds them with enchanted silver stakes, the only thing that really causes them lasting pain. The pain only stops when they spill the beans. Those with interesting information get to live, the rest are staked.
    • Used by Dimitri and Rose to interrogate Sonya Karp during her Strigoi face. The method fails to produce any answers, as Sonya figures out that they are not going to kill her. She is their only lead in the mystery they are investigating.
  • Kissing Under the Influence:
    • In Vampire Academy, Victor Dashkov gave Rose a necklace enchanted with earth, causing Rose and Dimitri to become overwhelmed by passion, which distracts them while he kidnaps Lissa.
    • Blood Promise:
      • Lissa was drunk when she made out with Aaron, her ex-boyfriend.
      • When Strigoi-Dimitri has Rose, he keeps her drugged up with his bites
  • Kiss of the Vampire: A vampire bite from the non-immortal Moroi vampires cause euphoria and can be addictive. So addictive that there are people who are volunteer feeders for them and are addicted to it the same way drug addicts are. A Dhampir letting a Moroi suck his/her blood during sex is the kinkiest thing imaginable in their world, and such Dhampirs are stigmatized and called "blood whores". In fact, any instance of a Dhampir giving blood to a Moroi is labeled like dirty by the public regardless of how non-sexual the context is.
  • Lady and Knight: With Lissa as the Bright Lady (Princess, angelic-looking, kind, graceful, intelligent but physically weak and in need of protection) and Rose as her White Knight protector (devoted to her since their childhood, acts as The Champion to her), from all threats. Nothing romantic about it though.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: In Blood Promise, Viktoria Belikova falls for a casanova and is ready to be impregnated at age 17. When Rose rescues her, she accuses her of leading the casanova on and not understanding love.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father:
    • In Blood Promise, it is revealed that Rose's father is Abe Mazur. Funny thing is, she doesn't find out till after she's back on the other side of the world. And then her reaction is just priceless:
    “Oh God,” I said, “I’m Zmey’s daughter. Zmey Junior. Zmeyette, even.
    • More or less happens to Jill in Last Sacrifice when she finds out that Eric Dragomir is her father and she's royal. Subverted in that Eric knew about her and she never meets him due to finding out after his death.
  • Make Up or Break Up: Lissa and Christian Ozera have a break up after he finds out that Lissa shared a drunken kiss with her former boyfriend Aaron. They act hostile to each other for a while, then get back together.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Lissa Dragomir weasels her way out of any situation using only words. For example, she manipulates the usually strong-willed Camille Conta, a royal girl, to act as a defender to Rose's reputation. She manipulates Aaron (her former boyfriend) to get back together with her, while she truly finds him boring. But this ensures the further isolation of Mia Rinaldi.
    • Victor Dashkov had his daughter commit evil acts behind everyone's back and even convinced her to turn Strigoi. Manipulated Lissa intro trusting him as an adoptive uncle while planning to use her for his own purposes. Manipulated Rose into sleeping with Dimitri, to get them both out of the way of his plans.
    • In Blood Promise, Avery Lazar manipulated emotions and perspectives towards her own ruthless goals. Led Lissa towards a self-destructive path and slowly seduced Adrian.
  • Masquerade: Vampires, both Moroi and Strigoi, hide their existence and that of their society from humans. The Alchemists are a human organization entirely devoted to hiding the existence of vampires from humanity at large.
  • Master of Illusion:
    • Lissa exhibits such powers in certain moments. Her first notable feat is making Jesse Zeklos have the illusion of spiders crawling all over him.
    • Lissa along with other spirit users; Adrian and Sonya Karp use illusions to mask the appearances of themselves and their allies. Used in the prison escapes of Victor Dashkov and Rose (on separate occasions), and to infiltrate guardian-protected locations. All for good causes though, they are not villains.
  • Meddling Parents: In Last Sacrifice, Daniella Ivashkov tries to meddle in her son's Adrian life to resolve one potential problem. When Queen Tatiana Ivashkov, her aunt-by-marriage, is killed at night, Rose Hathaway stands as the most likely suspect. But Rose spend that night with her boyfriend Adrian, providing her with an alibi. Daniella decides that the alibi is not solid enough and Adrian could be accused as an accomplice to murder. So she bribes a janitor to testify that Adrian arrived in Rose's apartment later than he actually did. Providing him with an alibi and incriminating Rose. Daniella does not care that Rose could end up executed for regicide. Her help is not appreciated by her son. Her plan eventually backfires as she is imprisoned for interfering with a murder investigation.
  • Mentor Ship: Rose and Dimitri are this trope. He returns Rose's feelings, but doesn't act on them because she's a minor. (And they're both Lissa's bodyguards- he and Rose becoming a couple would interfere with their duty to protect Lissa.) The first book's Big Bad actually taunts him about this. They Do, and eventually earn their happy ending years after that. An unusually realistic example in that both characters act their age, and have arguments based on this.
  • Mercy Kill: When discussing what one would want if turned into a Strigoi, killing them could be interpreted as this, because if there was a shred of that person left, they would most likely want to be killed. Becomes a foreshadowing when Rose has to do this to Dimitri.
  • Mind over Matter: Robert Doru is the only spirit user to demonstrate this ability in the series. He is a powerful telekinetic vampire.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: In Last Sacrifice, Rose is convicted of regicide and sentenced to death, based only on circumstantial evidence. She is innocent.
  • Missing Mom: A minor case. Natalie Dashkov has a father who she loves dearly. But her mother is never mentioned.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Christian Ozera forms friendships with both Mia Rinaldi and Jill Mastrano. He helps train them in self-defense and offensive use of their magical powers. Lissa suspects that the relationships are romantic. They are is nothing romantic actually going on.
  • Mooks: In Frostbite, Isaiah the Strigoi employed human Mooks to capture his Moroi and dhampir enemies, and keep watch over them. They mostly used guns and regular equipment to keep control of their captives.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: In-universe, Mason Ashford protects Rose's reputation by forcing Jesse Zeklos and Ralf Sarcozy to admit they never slept with her.
  • Never Split the Party: In Blood Promise, when Rose leads her own group of Strigoi hunters in Novosibirsk, this is the tactic she employs. When Denis, one of the group, protests that they usually split up, she answers: "which is why you get killed...".
  • Neck Snap: One of the tactics used by the superstrong Strigoi to kill. Used by Isaiah to kill Mason Ashford in Frostbite.
  • The New Russia: The main setting for Blood Promise. Rose wanders in post-Soviet Russian cities like Saint Petersburg and Novosibirsk.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work: Rose and Dimitri do eventually get together, but their concerns set out in the first book are never resolved, and are probably more pressing by the last book.
  • Nominal Importance: Subverted in most of the series as several extras receive names. Played straight with the Strigoi of 'Blood Promise''. Those not named tend to play no importance in the overall plot. Those few that receive names are all involved with Dimitri's new existence as a Strigoi.
  • No Name Given: In Blood Promise, Rose has a dramatic fight with two Strigoi working together. None of the two are named.
  • No Social Skills: Reed Lazar did not socialize. In gatherings, he either stayed silent or said very rude things.
  • No Sparks: Lissa and her relationship with her first boyfriend Aaron. She might have lost her virginity to him, but she never was that much into him.
  • Not Me This Time: In Last Sacrifice, Rose asks Victor Dashkov if he had anything to do with the murder of Queen Tatiana Ivashkov. He replies negatively and adds "I have much more sophisticated methods to accomplish my goals".
  • Not Quite Dead: Rose receives a letter from Dimitri at the end of Blood Promise. After she had staked him and considered him truly dead. The letter lets her know that he survived.
  • Official Couple: Lissa and Christian, Rose and Dimitri.
  • Old Flame: Aaron was Lissa's boyfriend before she run away from St. Vladimir's Academy. She still had feelings for her. He pursued her romantically following her return. They briefly got back together, but his love was unrequited.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted.
    • There are two Nathans in the story. One is Nathan Ivashkov, Adrian's father. The second one is the Strigoi who awakened Dimitri.
    • There are also two Sonyas. One is Sonya Karp, a spirit user and teacher at the academy. The other is Sonya Belikova, Dimitri's younger sister.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Subverted. Daniella Ivashkov seems to accept the relationship of her son Adrian with dhampir Rose, though the Moroi in general and her husband Nathan look down on such relationships. She later has a private talk with Rose, revealing that she simply figures their relationship won't last. She is content to let it run its course.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: They are drawn to the shadow-kissed, hate the Strigoi, and typically cannot speak. Mason Ashford is the only exception, managing to warn Rose about Strigoi coming to the Academy.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: There are three species of them. The Moroi are living vampires (meaning they are born, not made) who can subsist on human food, drink blood about once or twice a day, are susceptible to sunlight, and have Elemental Powers. The Dhampir are half-Moroi, half-Dhampir (or half-Moroi, half-human), can go out in the sunlight, do not need to drink blood at all, can't have children with their own kind, and the majority of them are BadAsses. The Strigoi are pretty much your traditional vampires, with pale skin, red eyes, no reflections, and are Always Chaotic Evil. Both Moroi and Strigoi have chemicals in their saliva that release endorphins in their victim's brain.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • It's common for Dhampir's to have a Disappeared Dad, but Rose's mother dumped her at St. Vladimir's when she was 2 in order to continue her Guardian duties. Eventually averted, both Rose's mother and father begin to take a decent part in her life by Last Sacrifice. Her father more than her mother.
    • Christian Ozera's parents, Lucas and Moira Ozera, were royal Moroi who voluntarily turned into Strigoi. They were killed before his eyes when he was very young.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Victor Dashkov to Lissa and a bit to Rose, originally. He acts as a parent figure to both, offers advise and kind words, organizes shopping trips, and buys Rose gifts unavailable to her.
    • Tasha Ozera is the mother figure to Christian. She raised him herself once his parents were killed. He treats her like his mother and is uncomfortable when her love life is discussed.
  • Passing Notes in Class: A variation. Rose and Lissa pass notes in class and Mia Rinaldi tells on them. Mr. Nagy takes it and reads it aloud in front of the whole class, revealing the "hook up" Rose had with Jesse Zeklos.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse:
    • Rose Hathaway is a medium-sized girl who is highly skilled in killing Strigoi. She is 5 feet, 7 inches tall. (1,70 meters).
    • Janine Hathaway is shorter than her daughter. She is a famous Strigoi-killer and packs a mean punch.
    • Angeline (Dawes) of the Keepers is described by Rose as "short, even for a dhampir, but her whole body was packed with strength." She is also an experienced brawler.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Christian Ozera's main power. He is a fire user. His first impressive feat is setting the clothes of Ralf Sarcozy on fire, scaring but not hurting him. He later uses his fire powers to kill Strigoi.
    • Tasha Ozera's brand of magic. She uses her fire powers in an offensive way.
  • Plot Hole: There is one introduced with the existence of the character Robert Doru. Victor Dashkov was slowly dying in the first book and desperately needed Lissa to heal him. Then we find out that he already had access to Robert, a spirit user who loved him and could heal him. So what was the purpose of Victor forcing Lissa to do the deed?
  • Posthumous Character:
    • We only hear of Andre Dragomir, the brother of Lissa, following his death in a car accident. He was a loving brother, a popular guy, and a jerk in his treatment of Mia Rinaldi. His actions in life influence Lissa and Mia throughout the first book.
    • Eric Dragomir, the dead father of Lissa and Andre, is fleshed out a bit. He grew depressed at realizing his family was dying out and had an affair with Las Vegas dancer Emily (Mastrano). They had an illegitimate daughter, Jill. He set her to be raised away from Court, financially supported Emily and her daughter, and ensured that his daughter would inherit a fortune upon reaching adulthood.
    • Frederick Dragomir, the father of Eric, is also introduced to the reader posthumously. He run for king of the Moroi, passed all the required challenges, and quit at the last moment. He had learned that he had become a grandfather and decided to devote himself to his family.
    • Saint Vladimir and his dhampir guardian Shadow-kissed Anna are introduced through written accounts, dating to The Middle Ages. They are the second pair of spirit user and shadow-kissed companion introduced in the series. Rose studies their life to learn more about the nature of Lissa's and her own powers.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: In Shadow Kiss, Dimitri and Rose get it on before the final battle with the Strigoi.
  • Product Placement: Parodied in Last Sacrifice. When Rose and Dimitri escape Court, their escape vehicles are in order a Honda Civic, a Honda Accord, and a Honda CR-V. Rose asks whether their escape is sponsored by Honda.
  • Psychic Link:
    • Best friends Rose and Lissa have a one-sided mental bond through which Rose can see through Lissa's eyes at will. This comes from the fact that Lissa used her rare ability to control the element Spirit to unknowingly bring Rose back to life after a car accident. Lissa's power is also Power at a Price and can make her very depressed or downright insane with overuse, and Rose can take the effects away from Lissa and suffer them herself.
    • As revealed this is not unique. Spirit users who bring people Back from the Dead always have such Psychic Links. Known "bondmates" are Saint Vladimir and Shadow-kissed Anna, Oksana and her husband Mark, Avery Lazar with both her brother Reed Lazar and guardian Simon, and Robert Doru and Alden. Averted when the spirit users bring back a Strigoi from the dead. No such Link is formed.
  • Pun-Based Title: Frostbite is about a bunch of vampires going to a ski resort.
  • Quickly Demoted Woman: Following the battle at her Academy, Ellen Kirova is demoted from headmistress to mere teacher. Replaced by Eugene Lazar, a royal.
  • The Quiet One: Robert Doru can speak and even offers some exposition. But he tends to be eerily quiet when using his spirit powers.
  • Quitting To Get Married:
    • The guardian of Moroi royals Abby and Xander Badica wants to resign to marry another guardian. Both are quitting their careers and leaving the Moroi world, planning to get jobs with humans. All other guardians seen or mentioned in the series are single, though it is unclear if this is mandatory.
    • Mark, a shadow-kissed dhampir used to be a guardian. He run away to marry his sprit-user charge Oksana. They live in hiding as their marriage is taboo for Moroi society.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Jill Mastrano is introduced as a non-royal Moroi in Shadow Kiss. She spends the next two books in this role. In Last Sacrifice, she is revealed to be royalty, the paternal half-sister of Princess Lissa Dragomir. Rose announces Jill's true parentage in a public session of Court. Jill's existence is used to give Lissa status as head of a living royal house, voting rights in the royal council, and a valid claim as a candidate for the throne. Jill herself is made a Princess.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Alberta Petrov, Captain of the St. Vladimir's Academy's Guardians. She works well with Rose and convinces to resume her studies and graduate.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Strigoi have red rings around their pupils. Seeing red eyes glowing in the dark alerts dhampir guardians to expect an attack.
  • Red Herring: Adrian's mother was believed to be the Queen's murderer, turns out it was Tasha.
  • The Reliable One: Princess Priscilla Voda was this for Queen Tatiana Ivashkov. She was her best friend, and advisor until getting killed by Strigoi. And the one she trusted with training Lissa in life in Court. She is mostly a background character.
  • Riddle Me This: In Last Sacrifice, Lissa's final trial as a candidate for the throne is to answer the following riddle: "What must a queen possess in order to truly rule her people?"
  • Royal Blood:
    • The series has a unique take on the idea of Royal Blood. The Vampire race, the Moroi, have an elected Monarch. The Moroi elect their leader from a pool of 12 royal families. The King or Queen then presides over a council made up of one member from each of the 12 families. Lissa, one of the main characters from the series, is the last in her family line, the Dragomirs, which causes tension as she cannot serve on the council or be elected Queen if she doesn't have at least one living family member, causing tension as her voice is not allowed to be heard.
    • In the last books it is revealed that Lissa's father had an illegitimate child, meaning there is another Dragomir. The plot is a race to find the child in order to give Lissa the support she needs. Similarly, once the child is found, they are put in extreme danger as people opposed to Lissa just need to kill them in order to invalidate her. The spin-off series, Bloodlines is all about preventing that from happening and keeping them safe.
    • The way the family lines work in this series is also based on blood rather than name. Lissa's future partner has to be able to provide her with enough Dragomir blood in order to add them to her family line, rather than simply take their father's name.
  • Sadistic Choice: In Frostbite, Isaiah the Strigoi gave his captive Moroi, Christian Ozera and Mia Rinaldi, a sadistic choice. They could starve to death or drain the blood of their dhampir friends and turn into a strigoi. In addition the one who chose this path condemned the other Moroi to death.
  • Sadist Teacher: Mr. Nagy, "legendary for his ability to humiliate students by reading notes aloud". He seems to take pleasure in revealing their embarrassing secrets in public.
  • Safety In Muggles: Rose and Dimitri use this in Last Sacrifice, after breaking Rose out of the Court prison. They go into a large mall and meet up outside to lose their pursuers. They correctly assume that if they were seen, the guardians would hesitate before shooting or capturing them in front of so many witnesses, especially considering that they would both be able to put up a fight that could endanger civilians.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: In Shadow Kiss, Mână (the Hand) was a secret society of royals who attempted to use forbidden compulsion techniques to get their way. Their initiation ritual was torturing potential members with magic until compelled to stop.
  • Seers: Yeva Belikova from Blood Promise, has precognitive dreams.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Early in the series it is established that Moroi monarchs have the right to choose their own successor. The only acknowledged limitation to this right is that they cannot choose an heir from their own royal clan. That is why Evil Prince Victor Dashkov considered himself the most likely heir to Queen Tatiana Ivashkov. Because she was likely to choose him, at least until his fatal disease discounted him as a choice. In the Succession Crisis of Last Sacrifice it is instead established that the Moroi political system is an Elective Monarchy. So monarchs have no right to choose their successors after all.
    • There is also a minor one, involving the powers of Jill. When introduced in Shadow Kiss, Jill tells Rose that she is an air user. She is later established as a water user instead. Even given some training by older water user Mia Rinaldi.
  • Sexy Mentor: Dimitri is this to Rose. Dimitri is seven years older than Rose, and most of the series plays off their troubles in getting together. By the end, they do. The main reason that they're able to get together publicly in the finale is because Rose has finished her education (both mundane and combat-wise) and he's no longer her teacher. Before this occurs, their illicit attraction is only consummated once, and the subject of blackmail from the Big Bad.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Rose notes that Victor Dashkov and his teenaged daughter Natalie share the tendency of rambling when they speak.
  • Shipper on Deck: Tatiana and other Royals ship Lissa and Adrian as they're considered more suitable matches for each other than their actual partners Christian (who, despite being a Royal Moroi, is from a disreputable family) and Rose (who is a dhampir).
  • The Smart Girl:
    • Lissa Dragomir has excellent and consistently high grades. She later uses her intellect to investigate a regicide and simultaneously work on the mental challenges presented to potential Queens. She does well on both fronts.
    • Sydney Sage is multilingual, a car geek, interested in classical architecture, skilled in using computers. All as a teenager.
  • So Happy Together: Rose and Dimitri before the climax of Shadow Kiss. They finally consummate their relationship, bask in the afterglow, and make plans for the future. Strigoi promptly launch a massive attack on the school and Dimitri is turned into one of them.
  • Soul Power: Lissa and Adrian's brand of magic. They use spiritual energy for a variety of effects.
  • Space Amish: The Keepers live in secluded, old-fashioned areas and consider the rest of Moroi and dhampirs to be "Tainted" for accepting the modern world. Somewhat subverted in that they have no problem with technology, as they drive cars. They have a problem with the modern political system in effect in the Moroi world.
  • Staking the Loved One: Rose has to do this to Dimitri in Blood Promise.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Rose's relationship with Dimitri, due to their age difference and student-teacher relationship. Eventually subverted, as at the end of the series their relationship is accepted.
  • Stern Teacher: Stan Alto, instructor in Bodyguard Theory, is stern but ultimately fair. He presses students, especially Rose, hard and does not let misbehavior slide. He also acts as if constantly pissed off, but praises achievement when it occurs.
  • Stronger with Age: Strigoi are immortal and become stronger as time passes. Isaiah was probably the most powerful Strigoi seen in the series and was centuries old.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Paul Belikov from Blood Promise, is the nephew of Dimitri and looks like a ten-year-old version of his uncle.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: In Last Sacrifice, Rose's escape includes giant statues and stone walls blowing up.
  • Succession Crisis: A major plot point in Last Sacrifice. Following the regicide of Queen Tatiana Ivashkov, the throne is empty, and multiple candidates compete for the throne.
  • Suicidal Pacifism: The pacifistic philosophy of the Moroi turns out to be a suicidal stance for them. When attacked by Strigoi, they usually do not even think to fight back. This makes them surprisingly easy victims. Particularly bad because fire users have the ideal power to kill their attackers.
  • Super Reflexes: Dhampirs have better reflexes than humans, making them superhuman. Moroi are briefly said to have even better reflexes than dhampirs, though it is more an Informed Ability. Strigoi have even better reflexes than Moroi, to the point of reacting with Super Speed.
  • Super Senses: Strigoi, Moroi, and dhampirs all have enhanced senses of vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Their limitations are unknown.
  • Super Strength: Strigoi have super strength which increases with age and the consumption of Moroi and dhampir blood. Isaiah, an ancient Moroi, was observed giving a light push which packed the force of a small car.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In-universe example. When Dimitri turned into a Strigoi and Rose quit her training, Lissa needed new guardians. Grant was a seasoned guardian and trainer, similar to Dimitri. Serena was a girl close to Lissa's age, similar to Rose.
  • Take Me Instead: In Frostbite, Rose volunteered to let Isaiah drink her blood, rather than let him drink from Mason Ashford and Eddie Castile. She argued that she had experience having her blood offered to Moroi.
  • Taking the Bullet: Tasha Ozera fires bullets at Lissa. Both Rose and Dimitri throw themselves before her. Rose takes the bullet.
  • Taking the Heat: Lissa made Wade Voda use a baseball bat to trash his own room. When he came to his senses he blamed Rose and she willingly took the heat to protect Lissa.
  • Talkative Loon: Alice, the oldest human feeder in the Academy, tends to ramble on and is thought to be crazy.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Certain spirit users with Dreamwalker powers use it to communicate with others. This is primarily used by Adrian to speak to Rose, even when they are in different continents.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Rose and Dimitri. He takes the high road and insists they can't pursue the attraction, but that obviously doesn't work. He thinks her mom finding out is scarier than facing strigoi.
  • Telepathy: Avery Lazar and Oksana can read minds.
  • Their First Time: Rose got a dose of Squick when she happened to wander into Lissa's mind as she and Christian were about to have theirs. Then in Shadow Kiss, Rose and Dimitri do it in a cabin. The afterglow is promptly overshadowed by a Strigoi attack on the school in which they lose Dimitri.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. At first, Rose, Eddie, Christian and Mia just resume normal life after watching Mason die, but then Rose is sent to therapy after she starts seeing Mason's ghost. She discovers that it's not PTSD, as she was told, but a side effect of being shadow-kissed.
  • These Hands Have Killed:
    • Dimitri angsts quite a bit about all the innocents he had killed while a Strigoi.
    • Rose has one of these in Last Sacrifice, for killing Victor.
  • Things Get Real: This happens a lot, but most notably in Frostbite. Instead of merely training against Strigoi, they face the real thing and there are casualties.
  • Triang Relations: Dimitri and Rose are in love, but worry that their relationship will get in the way of their mutual duty to protect Lissa.
  • Troubled, but Cute:
    • Dimitri is very attractive but boy, does he have a lot of issues. He had a troubled home life, was forced to abandon his family to become a guardian, his first Moroi charge (Ivan Zeklos) was killed by Strigoi, he has a troubled conscience over the Strigoi and later humans that he has killed, struggles to accept his love for Rose while feeling that he took advantage of his student, and is mentally scared by his turn as a Strigoi.
    • Christian's main appeal for Lissa. He comes from a broken home, his parents turned Strigoi and were killed before his eyes, his aunt who raised him is a social outcast and so is he, he is treated as a freak by classmates and has a bitter attitude towards the world.
  • Undeathly Pallor: Strigoi have chalky white skin. They are white as corpses, marking them as The Undead.
  • Uniqueness Decay: Lissa and Rose are introduced as a rare spirit user and shadow-kissed pair. They have to figure out what they are and the nature of their powers through studying the lives of Medieval predecessors Saint Vladimir and Anna. As well as knowing an elder spirit user in teacher Sonya Karp. They are hinted to be the first spirit users in centuries. Later books introduce spirit users Adrian Ivashkov, Oksana, Avery Lazar, and Robert Doru. There are even some unnamed, insane spirit users incarcerated in Tarasov prison. Suddenly Lissa does not seem so unique anymore. And as for shadow-kissed characters there are Mark (Oksana's bondmate), Alden (Robert Doru's deceased bondmate) and Reed Lazar and Simon (Avery Lazar's bondmate). Making Rose less unique as well.
  • Unnamed Parent: Lissa's deceased mother is never given a name in the series. She was named "Rhea Daniels" in the short story "Sunshine".
  • Unproblematic Prostitution: Ambrose, the male blood whore, tends to sleep with women old enough to be his mother or grandmother. He still believes he has a great job.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: In Last Sacrifice, Rose gets into a fight with Angeline (Dawes), a younger dhampir and member of the Keepers. During the fight, Rose realizes that her opponent is very strong and has experience in brawling. But without any formal training. With her training complete, Rose has the edge in the fight.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In Last Sacrifice no one tells Rose about their plans on the prison break. So that Rose wouldn't have tipped the guards off by acting suspicious.
  • Vampire Hunter:
    • The dhampyr guardians are trained to protect the Moroi (good, mortal vampires) from the Strigoi, your classic evil undead types.
    • Unpromised dhampyr in Russia also go after Strigoi. Rose led such a team.
  • Vampires Are Rich:
    • Played straight by Moroi vampire royalty. This is never thoroughly explained, though it is hinted that some of them hold jobs in the human world. Earning their wealthy living. Averted in the case of working-class Moroi, who differ little from their human counterparts.
    • Played straight with Galina, a Strigoi vampire who led a criminal empire in Russia. She lived in luxury until Rose staked her.
    • Abe Mazur, a non-royal Moroi, is also comfortably wealthy. Earning his wealth through illegal activities.
  • Vampire Vannabe: The series has humans who willingly help the Strigoi in hopes of being turned.
  • Viral Transformation:
    • This is the only way that Strigoi vampires can reproduce, by biting Moroi, dhampirs, or humans. First they drink the subject's blood, then share their own blood with the drained subject. The subject then turns into a new Strigoi, a transformation which the Strigoi call "awakening". The process can be involuntary for the subject.
    • There are exceptions in the cases of Moroi vampires who turn into Strigoi by themselves. They only have to kill a victim by draining it of blood.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Keepers in Last Sacrifice. They are a separatist group of Moroi who still intermingle and mate with humans, producing new generations of dhampirs. They have their own political system, where everything is decided by combat skills. Rose, Dimitri, and Sydney Sage briefly find refuge with the Keepers of West Virginia. Allows for some chapters of culture shock, while the tribe does not figure in the main plotlines. They mostly add some flavor of exoticism.
  • We Can Rule Together: Dimitri is turned into a strigoi and comes face to face with his ex-girlfriend Rose. He wishes to turn her into a strigoi too and uses this as one of methods to coerce her. It nearly works too, but she eventually manages to decline.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The school is mentioned to have Psi-Hounds. They are never brought up again after the first book.
    • Rose's Strigoi hunters in Novosibirsk never appear again after she is abducted by Strigoi-Dimitri.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: All Moroi spirit users are effected mentally by spirit use, as it is drawn from themselves (as opposed to an element, such as air). And the more they use it, the worse it gets. It manifests itself differently in each individual: Lissa becomes extremely depressed at one point, which causes her cutting, Adrian has bipolar disorder, and Sonya Karp dealt with her insanity by turning Strigoi — although now that she's turned back, she seems to be okay, despite using spirit in most of her free time to find a Strigoi vaccine.
  • Workaholic: It seems to be the case for most professionals in the series. Both the staff of St. Vladimir's Academy and any guardian introduced seem to have their entire lives revolve around their profession.
  • World of No Grandparents:
    • Played mostly straight. Though the Moroi are said to be long-lived by human standards, we generally do not see grandparents and grandchildren interacting. Trenton Dashkov lived to be 120-years-old but we never hear of him interacting with his granddaughter Natalie Dashkov. Frederick Dragomir is established to have died when his legitimate grandchildren Andre and Lissa were very young, and before the birth of his illegitimate granddaughter Jill Mastrano.
    • Subverted in the case of dhampir Yeva Belikova. She helped raise her grandchildren Karolina, Dimitri, Sonja and Viktoria. She is still alive and helping her daughter raise Olena raise her own grandchildren.
    • Subverted also in the case of Olena Belikova who helps raise her grandchildren.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Strigoi apparently believe in beating people up equally. They don't mind attacking females physically. Goes with their lack of morality.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Strigoi who invaded the Badica household slaughtered the children found there.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: In Last Sacrifice, whilst trying to clear her name of murder, Rose breaks out of prison, resists arrest, assaults fellow guardians, and steals cars. She faces no consequences.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Averted. Among Moroi royals, the eldest person usually acts as head of the House.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Rose has done this multiple times, but only properly gets called out on it in Last Sacrifice.
    • Mia Rinaldi slept with both Jesse Zeklos and Ralf Sarcozy while still dating Aaron.
    • Daniella Ivashkov is married to Nathan Ivashkov but sleeps with Ambrose.
    • Eric Dragomir had an affair with a Las Vegas dancer while seemingly happily married.
    • Prince Rufus Ivashkov is married. According to Adrian, the Prince maintains two secret mistresses.
  • Youthful Freckles: In Blood Promise, Tamara, a Strigoi hunter in Novosibirsk had them. She was only slightly older than Rose, probably 19-years old. Acted as One of the Boys with her fellow umpromised dhampirs.

The film adaptation provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • In the book, Natalie Dashkov has black hair, in the film, her hair is brown.
    • Sonya Carp is a redhead in the books. In the film her hair is dark brown.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Lissa is tortured by a blind user to prevent her from using compulsion on him. However, this review points out that why couldn't she heal his blindness just so she could compel him? This is because her hands are tied down, and her healing power only works through psychical contact such as by touch, which is out right explained in the Book but only hinted at in the Movie.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The character Ralf Sarcozy is renamed to "Ray" in the film. His role is essentially the same.
    • The teacher Mr. Nagy is renamed to "Mr. Meisner". His role is mostly the same, trying to humiliate students by reading their secret notes aloud. Only instead of a note by Rose and Lissa (as in the book), he reads a note from Mia.
    • A minor name change. The character Camille Conta is renamed to "Camilla Conta" in the film.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Headmistress Ellen Kirova is given an unflattering depiction in the novels. Rose thinks of her as an "old hag", and describes her as sharp-nosed, gray-haired, tall, slim, and reminiscent of a vulture. In the film, Kirova is played by the famously attractive Olga Kurylenko. Kurylenko has had a notable modelling career, including photo shoots for Vogue, Elle, Madame Figaro, Marie Claire, and Victoria's Secret catalogues. Far from looking like a hag.
  • Adapted Out: This is the fate of several minor characters of the first novel:
    • Jeremy, a human housemate of Rose and Lissa, is adapted out. So is the scene where Lissa uses compulsion to convince him to hand over his car keys.
    • Teacher Stan Alto is also missing, along with the scene where he publically grills Rose for details on her guardian methods.
    • Xander Badica is missing, along with the scene where he asks to taste the blood of Rose.
    • The dhampirs Anthony and Mile are missing, along with the scene where they try to force Rose to sleep with them.
    • The most important character missing is probably Eddie Castile, Mason Ashford's best friend. He only appears as a party boy in the original novel. He would receive more meaningful roles from Frostbite onwards, becoming one of the most important supporting characters.
  • Age Lift:
    • Victor Dashkov is in his forties in the novels. In the film, he is played by 64-year-old Gabriel Byrne. Possibly justified, since Victor is supposed to be Younger Than He Looks.
    • Queen Tatiana Ivashkov is said to be in her early 60s in the books. In the film, she is played by 49-year-old Joely Richardson.
    • Headmistress Ellen Kirova is described as a grey-haired woman in the books. Making her at least middle-aged. In the film, Kirova is played by 35-year-old Olga Kurylenko.
    • A minor case in the role of teacher Sonya Karp. According to her appearance in the Bloodlines series, Sonya is still in her late 20s. She is played by 30-year-old Claire Foy.
  • Bowdlerization: Lissa's cutting had been changed to the effects of using Spirit rather than her using it to cope with her depression as in the book. This might have been a late change after the censors complained, because several characters say things like "Wait, so she's cutting herself?"
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Oscar the cat. He appears briefly in the first novel, as the pet of a human housemate of Lissa and Rose. In the film, Oscar is Lissa's pet. The discovery of his corpse traumatizes her.
    • The character Ray (the film's rename of Ralf Sarcozy) is killed by Natalie Dashkov. The kill she needed to transform to a Strigoi. In the book nothing happens to him. He goes on to become one of the founding members of the Mână in Shadow Kiss.
  • Film of the Book: The film adaptation of the first novel.
  • Follow the Leader: The film was green-lit as an attempt to fill the void of "teen paranormal romance" films left behind once the last Twilight film was released.
  • Race Lift: Rose Hathaway is half-Turkish in the books, but played by the decidedly white Zoey Deutch in the movie.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Near-Identical Adaptation. The film is mostly loyal to the first novel. The differences are generally minor. Three characters receive name changes, one character is younger and more attractive than her book counterpart, three characters are of different age than their book counterparts, two characters who survive the original novel are killed in the film, Natalie Dashkov kills a different person than the one she killed in the novel (Ray instead of Mr. Nagy), Lissa does not practice Self-Harm, and some minor book characters do not appear at all in the films. The most obvious change comes from the style of clothes the characters wear. In the books, the students of the Academy wear regular street clothes. It is a sore spot for Rose that she can't afford decent clothing, at one point wearing clothes she received from the Salvation Army. In the films, both Moroi and dhampir students wear school uniforms. Rose wears a relatively stylish uniform.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The character Mr. Nagy/"Mr. Meisner" is killed by Natalie Dashkov in the book. Nothing happens to him in the film.