Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith

Publisher: Hachette Children's Book
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought from

"Vampire Diaries centres on Elena (Dobrev), a tragic heroine who is the object of passion of two vampire brothers.
In The Awakening, Elena Gilbert is used to getting what she wants and she wants mysterious new boy, Stefan. But Stefan is hiding a deadly secret - a secret that will change Elena's life for ever ... In The Struggle, Elena is torn between her boyfriend, Stefan, and his brother, Damon. But these brothers hide dark secrets and a tragic past that threatens them all. Damon wants to lead Elena astray - and he'd rather kill Stefan than let him possess her..."

"The Vampire Diaries" were originally published as a trilogy in 1991. The readers were not content with only three books, so L.J. Smith wrote a fourth, The Dark Reunion, which was published in 1992. I 1998, a spin-off of the series: The Vampire Diaries, the Return was released. The books re-entered the bestsellerlists after the sucess of Twilight. L.J. Smith is currently writing a new vampire trilogy, the first book will be named "Phantom".

In "The Awakening" and "The Struggle" we are introduced to Elena Gilbert, who lives at Fell's Church. Her parents are dead, so she lives with her aunt. Elena is popular at school, everybody wants to be her friend, and the boys dream about her. But Elena's life is turned upside down when a new boy, Stefan Salvatore. begins at her school.

Main character:
I had a hard time getting into the first book in this series, and the reason for this is Elena Gilbert. I thought she was spoiled, shallow and could not empathise with her. I almost started rooting for her enemies. One of Elena's friends Bonnie, on the other hand, is described as much more likeable. My impression of Elena changed during book 2, "The Struggle". As the story unfolds, Elena becomes more modest and humble. It almost felt like the author needed to write the first book, just to get under Elena's skin.

The book:
I thought book 1 was quite average, book 2 on the other hand was way better. I did not find any of them particularily thrilling or suspenseful, but perhaps that is due to the fact that I used quite some time before I liked Elena.

One thing I am curious about though: Why is is that so many of the main characters in these paranormal series have parents that for some reason are not around? In Elena's case, they are dead. Ever's parents in "The Immortals" are also dead. Luce from "Fallen" lives at a boarding school, away from her parents. Bella's parents in Twilight are divorced and Zoey in "The House of Night - series" has a troubled relationship with her parents. Ethan Wate's mother in "Beautiful Creatures" are also dead and Ethan has a hard time getting through to his dad.

Is it easier for the authors to establish a relationship between the main character and the paranormal when the parents are not around to watch out for their little one? Or is it simply because every teenager wants to distance themselves from their parents, and it is therefore easier for them to get lost in these books if the main character's parents are not around?

L.J. Smith's website is here.

Other reviews:
Love Vampires (Book 1)
Love Vampires ( Book 2)
The Story Siren


Alessandra @Out of the Blue said...

I'll have to find a copy of this and try it for myself. Sounds intriguing.

Smash Attack! said...

I was so disappointed in these books. I do however, love the TV show! I really detested book Elena...

The Norwegian BookGirl said...

I haven't seen the TV show yet, I thought i should wait until I had read the first 4 books.

Kayla + Cyna said...

I'm not a huge fan of the VD books, but I thought book!Elena at the very least had more personality than show!Elena. She's almost painfully bland.

Anyway, good review. Elena does develop through the series (although her turn in VD:The Return: Nightfall is laughable), and actually Dark Reunion is told from Bonnie's POV, so if you liked her you'll like that one, too. It's my personal fav.

As to the question of the parents, I think it's just easier for authors to write teenagers going out and having these grand adventures if there's no one to supervise them or ground them for coming back late, or explain away the aftermath of supernatural occurrences to. I think most of the teens in these vamp books would've been grounded for life if they had responsible parents at home, right?

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