Aug 14 2009
The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening
by L.J. Smith
The Vampire Diaries was originally published as a trilogy back in 1991, and a fourth book was written the following year. The books were republished in two volumes in 2007, and they will be re-released again this year to coincide with the launch of the new CW series of the same name.
The first book in the series The Awakening, introduces us to Elena Gilbert – the most popular girl in her small-town high school. We also meet her friends Matt, Bonnie and Meredith, as well as Stefan and Damon – estranged brothers with a dark secret. When strange attacks begin happening in their small town, the townsfolk blame Stefan much to Elena’s dismay, and she and her friends take it upon themselves to get to the bottom of the story. The book ends on a huge cliff-hanger, which I believe is the only possible reason anyone would ever read any more of this series. (Which I did, BTW. It doesn’t get better. I just can’t handle a cliff-hanger.)
I don’t even know where to begin with what’s wrong with this story. I guess the biggest issue I had is that I really didn’t like Elena, who basically comes off as a manipulative, self-centered brat. The only character I actually enjoyed in the book was Elena’s best friend Meredith. Along with the un-likable characters, there’s clichéd writing and a complete lack of logic to round things out. I found myself saying, “But that would never happen!” more times than I can count. And I don’t mean because there’s vampires in the story. Here’s a paragraph that should have tipped me off early on that this wasn’t going to be good:
“That was it; something was watching her. The sky overhead was not blue but milky and opaque, like a giant bowl turned upside down.”
Yep. That’s a whole paragraph. Or then there’s this:
“Elena felt Stefan’s lips meet hers. …What she felt was not merely passion, but a bruising tenderness and a love so strong it made her shake inside.”
A bruising tenderness? Seriously? And it’s their first kiss and they barely know each other. What kind of message is that for young girls? Pages of this kind of syrupy drivel had me close to gagging. I read a number of reviews that claimed Twilight was a rip-off of this series, but this will have you wishing you were reading Twilight.
BUT, here’s the funny twist… despite really not liking the book, I can totally see how it could make for a promising television series. And I actually haven’t been able to stop thinking about the possibilities since I finished the book.
For my thoughts on The Vampire Diaries the show check out the post over at RTVW.