Please note: I have not read the Vampire Academy series. I own them, but just haven't had the time to read them yet. I don't know anything about the characters in that series except what the blurbs say. This is supposed to be the adult spin off for the series, but after reading it, I think that since it mostly takes place in a private high school setting with a character just out of high school, it should probably qualify as young adult. The whole thing reminded me a bit of 21 Jump Street, where adults infiltrate a high school to solve crime, except they are there to protect a vampire princess from being murdered.It took me about 150 pages to really get into it. I thought it was mostly a set up for the series to come but since I really like Richelle Mead's humor and writing style, I stuck with it and was glad I did. Sydney is an Alchemist and is selected to protect Jill against a plot to murder her step sister, the new vampire queen. Sydney has done something terrible in her past and is now trying to overcome that issue (she helped a vampire -- which I guess is akin to helping dirt), and with better living through chemistry she learns to blend into the high school without being too much of a nerd. Overall, there is a lot of action towards the end of the story and I think I would read the next one in the series. You should probably the Vampire Academy series first to really enjoy this one. I need to start reading them.