The Vampire Diaries are a young adult vampire series consisting of four books (plus a connecting series The Vampire Diaries: The Return) by L. J. Smith. The books are The Awakening, The Struggle, The Fury and Dark Reunion.
Elena is the queen of High School. After the death of her parents and summer abroad, she returns to her senior year – and there’s a distractingly good looking new student, Stefan. Elena wants him, and everybody wants Elena – except Stefan.
Well, turns out Stefan is a vampire, has a very problematic brother – Damon – who he hates (and vice versa) and something dark’s threatening the town of Fell’s Church. Only Elena, caught between the two brothers, and her friends can put a stop to it.
The books are quick reads – I read all four in 2 days – but their merit (literary or otherwise) is disputable. I have to admit that I continued reading after the first book because I still cared, but after the first half of book 2, it was more my ambition to finish four books in one weekend that kept me reading than the books themselves.
Stephenie Meyer seems to have heavily borrowed from L. J. Smith. The first half of the first book is “why doesn’t he look at me – why does she smell so good – I need to have him – I need to eat her” etc. etc. Except that this time it was European History instead of Biology Class. Then the books go in different directions with the most notable distinction of the Vampire Diaries having an actual plot.
The characters are mostly good, if nothing new. Stefan is the epitome of the brooding immortal with killing problems, Damon is the bad boy who isn’t actually bad, he’s only really very hurt and therefore acts tough. Meredith is the ironic, controlled best friend who hides her family’s past and Bonnie is the bubbly best friend, who has psychic powers and a unique outlook on life (that borders on the manic). Matt is always nice, even though he’s a star athelete because he’s actually poor and really needs the scholarship.
Well, you know the types.
But I really had my problems with Elena. She’s just so perfect. I mean, sure, she’s a little on the selfish and bossy side, but nothing too bad. And by the end of Book Three, she even gives that up, sacrifices herself for the brothers, thus reaching saint-hood. [Which – among other things – also made me grit my feminist teeth, so to speak.]
Interestingly enough, L. J. Smith meant to end it there, but finally gave in to fan-pressure and wrote the fourth book, which is different in tone and style and topic, has an over-the-top Happy Ending and probably had better stayed unwritten.
The love triangle is about as triangular as the one in Twilight, with the revelation that there might be the chance of something more than friendship between Elena and Damon coming so suddenly that I actually read it three times before I believed my eyes, but also going as suddenly.
I really can’t imagine where L. J. Smith is going with her continuing the series (the first book in The Vampire Diaries: The Return just came out in Febuary), so I’m almost tempted to pick it up. Almost. Maybe in half a year or so.
Anyways, recommended only if you are especially interested in young adult (read chaste) vampire stories and love triangles where the outcome is obvious from the very beginning. [And don’t read book four.]