Rummanah Aasi
  I don't know much about the manga or graphic novel genre, which is why I tend to take more liberties in my selection of what to read. I either solicit recommendations from other librarians, friends, and/or teens that I work with. Vampire Knight is a very popular series in many libraries. It also has two anime series based on the manga called Vampire Knight and Vampire Knight Guilty, both of which I've watched, loved, and thought was a faithful adaptation to the manga. I started the manga series last year and read up to Vol 8. I was thrilled to get the next few volumes and am anxiously waiting for the Vol 12 to come out next month.

Description:  Yuki's earliest memory is of a stormy night in winter, wherein she was attacked by a rogue vampire and then rescued by another. Now 10 years later, Yuki Cross is the adopted daughter of the headmaster of Cross Academy and a guardian of the vampire race who attend the prestigious boarding school. She is in awe of her hero and love interest, Kaname, who saved her on that frightful day. Also at Yuki's side is Zero Kiryu, a childhood friend with a dark and tragic past that fuels his hatred for the vampires and is determined never to trust them. The coexisting arrangement between humans and vampires seems like a good idea, but have the vampires truly renounced their murderous ways, or is there a darker truth behind their actions? Is Kanames infatuation with Yuki the beginning of a forbidden romance, or is it something in her forgotten past that draws him to her? In this world of secrets, nothing is as it seems, and the price of misplaced trust may even be worse than death.

Review: Vampire Knight is mostly a character driven manga. The beginning volumes of the series focuses on building the relationships between the main characters. The first five books in particular, follows and focuses on the back story of Zero, my favorite character of this series. When we first meet Zero, he is distant and moody. He is cloaked in mystery and as we learn about his tragic beginning we began to realize what he is: a tortured hero who is destined to never find happiness. Zero finds his stability and humanity in Yuki, a happy go lucky girl who always wants to see her friends happy and who craves yet is afraid of her desires for the powerful pure blood vampire Kaname. Kaname is a shady character whose motives I can not clearly understand. At times he can be sincere and at other times to be a calculating politician. Moving key pieces as if he's playing a game of chess with people's lives. It is the interaction and romantic tension between these three characters that keep me on the edge of my seat.
   Beginning in the sixth volume of the series, the Yuki story arc begins. She no longer wants to be ignorant of her past. There are strong forces preventing her to know the truth and all roads somehow lead to Kaname. Once Yuki's past comes to light, everything is in jeopardy. The academy, once a safe haven built with the notion that humans and vampires can live symbiotically, is now crumbling as a new strong villain comes to town. Loyalties and relationships are given the ultimate test. Volume 9 starts with a bang and is nonstop action throughout the volume. Kaname finally reveals his hidden plan to Zero, and Zero must choose on which side he will fight.
 Unlike the previous installments of this series, the secondary characters play a bigger role as they fight in a battle that is only to get worse. I was really surprised to see Yuki's adopted father, who is generally portrayed more a child than a serious adult, take charge. There are lots of great character moments as each of them try to make sense around the chaos that surrounds them. New questions are raised as Yuki re-examines her relationships with Kaname and Zero and as the Cross Academy comes under fire. My only small complaint about this series is that some of the secondary characters are drawn a lot alike and it's at times hard for me to distinguish who is who. After watching the anime, while waiting to get the other copies of the series from the library, I was able to jump that hurdle.
 Vampire Knight is an addictive manga series. If you are like me and wondering how you are going to pass the time until the next season of Vampire Diaries, be sure to pick this series up. You will not be disappointed!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and violence. Rated T for Teens.

If you like this book try: Vampire Knight Vol 10 by Matsuri Hino, Vampire Kisses manga series by Ellen Schreiber and Rem, Evernight series by Claudia Gray, Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith
3 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Characters are my thing, I love the character-drive stories more than anything:) I don't read any manga, but the illustrations are always so much fun to look at when I'm in the bookstore-just gorgeous!


  2. Alison Says:

    I definitely have trouble telling the secondary characters apart too. Glad I'm not the only one. I loved seeing Yuki's adoptive father in a more serious role. It reminded me of Fruits Basket when Shigure starts to change. (although totally different plot-wise)


  3. Alison- Aidou and his cousin as well as Ichijo confuse me all the time. I also loved seeing Cross in an adult role.


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