Yes, that is right, I am reviewing a vampire book. I figured as Halloween approaches it would be appropriate! I read The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith 10 years ago when I was 12 or 13, way before the vampire crazy that is Twilight struck the world. I was one of the crazy kids that was ahead of the trend… maybe too much ahead that it seemed uncool at the time…
For those of you who have seen that television show or even heard about it, let me warn you right now that these two are different. While I equally like both, you can’t really compare them to each other. They all have their own great parts i.e. television brother Jeremy Gilbert and book best friend Meredith.
The original series contained four books The Awakening, The Struggle, The Fury, and Dark Reunion.
The books, at first glance, seem to be a teenage love triangle between 17 year old high school student Elena Gilbert and vampire brothers Damon and Stefan Salvatore. However it really is much more than that… unlike other certain vampire novels…
Elena is a spoiled princess in the beginning of the book who has very few characteristics to redeem her and part of the quartet’s challenge is to make the reader actually like Elena. Because really in the beginning of the series the reader could care less if Elena survives the challenges facing her.
Author L.J. Smith does a good job however of slowly making the reader not only root for Elena but also see her hidden compassion and humility. This is mainly accomplished through her loving friends Matt, Bonnie, and Meredith and her very adorable four year old sister Margaret. So by the end of the third book (major spoiler alert) when Elena sacrifices herself and dies to save her friends, family, and town it brings you to tears.
And the love triangle? Well you want both the brothers to win Elena, because we love the Salvatore brothers equally for so much for many different reasons that we want them both to be happy! And Elena’s choice? Well she doesn’t really make a clear decision. Maybe in the future novels her choice will be clearer. While the love triangle is never really resolved, you tend to believe she’ll choice Stefan.
What about the plot you may ask? Well the same major storyline carries throughout all four books. Elena must fight against the vampire Katherine von Swartzchild (and former Salvatore brother lover)to save her town and eventually the even more evil, way harder to kill Klaus. (Kind of like the television series right?). And while these are the storylines that cause the conflict and climax, it is the character interactions and emotional turmoil of being high school students, finding and losing love, and growing up while fighting undead beings which really make up most of the heart of the book.
So my suggestion? I absolutely love these first four books. They are really what made me fall in love with science fiction, fantasy, and to be honest, vampires. So don’t let the other vampire books scare you away from these. Read them! And when you start reading and what to shake some sense into Elena, remember, she gets better!
(And yes, I do realize my pictures are from the television show, but really it is a good show! I highly recommend watching it too!)
Question of the Day
Have you read The Vampire Diaries? Did you like them?