Thursday, October 8, 2009

Review: The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle

Ahhh, its been too long! I've spent the time incognito trying to adjust to school again. But now that I'm back, I'm here to stay!
I finally found a place where I can write my reviews, Math Class! :) No seriously, instead of using class time to work on my homework I will be writing reviews. Now that I have found my review-writing spot, look out for the 5(+?) reviews I have planned for this week.
So without futher adu, the review...

The Vampire Diaries:
The Awakening and The Struggle by
L.J. Smith
Published by: HarperTeen- 2007
Pages: 492 Pages
Acquired: From Library

Summary (from Goodreads):

Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he'd kill to possess her.

Collected here in one volume for the first time, volumes one and two of The Vampire Diaries, the tale of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.

My Review:

The Vampire Diaries is definitely a tale to remember. Having written this review several days after completing this book, I can attest to that fact. (Though this could partially be due to a certain show recently premiered. See below.)

At the start of this book I went in with high expectations, or high hopes rather. While this book took some turns down a path I was not expecting, it absolutely met/exceeded my hopes.

When Elena was first introduced, I started to get a little apprehensive. Right off the back we learn that Elena is the blonde haired, blue eyed, ├╝ber popular cheerleader, and while that make a for a good story, I wasn't sure how that would work with a story about vampires. After a couple of pages however, I quickly dismissed my apprehensiveness. Elena is a strong character who you cant help but to root for in her pursuits of a certain, tall, dark, and handsome new transfer.

Which leads me to my next point, Stefan. In my opinion, Stefan is a multi-layered person. (Like an onion, as Shrek would say) He is first portrayed as that desirable hunk of man that of course you can not live without. Then, we begin to enter Stefan's thoughts and see his vulnerablity side which kind of cements his likability. As time and his relationship with Elena progresses, yet another side of likeabiltity is shown, but from a more romantic aspect. There is a point in which, trying not to giveaway anything, his likeability did waver for me, or more along the lines of me wanting to smack him across the head with a frying pan, though I felt this towards Elena too. All in all though, I still adore both characters.

On to other characters of the book...

Damon. There is some love coming Damon's way from me, but for completely other reasons. With Damon I love to hate him. He is so Bam! in your face, and causes so much mishaps and mayhem, you can't help but to step back and acknowledge, I mean look at all the great plot scenes he has created. This does not cause me from having random "I wish Damon would just go away" moments throughout the book though.

Bonnie and Caroline. While you don't see an awful lot of Caroline, in the times that you do I always liked her. She is strong and loyal and I always felt "good vibes" from her.
As for Bonnie, she was awesome! Her psychic/"witch" powers were pretty cool, and her overall personality was quite interesting. Yeah, these two weren't that much of standout characters, though they do play important roles, but I like them, and wanted them acknowledged.

Plot: I don't know if I had a pre-inticipatory plot in my head before reading The Vampire Diaries, but for some reason the plot startled me at first. Not in a negative way, just surprised. Having said that, I did quite enjoy how everything played out. I did however (mild-spoiler) think that a little bit too much time was spent on the "mystery killer."

After reading the Vampire Diaries, I came to this ideal that, in a sense, I think L.J. Smith is the one who planted the first seed that grew into this Vampire-craze we are currently in. (These book were originally published in 1990 and beyond) I wouldn't go to far as to say that LJ started the whole vampire-craze, because that is more along the lines of Anne Rice and Bram Stoker. I do however believe she might have been a cause that helped get the ball rolling for the current vamp-craze, specifically in YA.

Romance: While I felt the connection could have been a little deeper between Elena and a certain dreamy vampire, it will satisfy and then some. I wouldn't pick it up specifically for the book it's romantic appeal, which sounds weird since the romantic aspect plays a big part, I would try to go into this book looking for a great story, and then have the romance be a bit of an added bonus!

Any particurarly graphic/violent/inappropiate content? Overall, this book is pretty clean. There is one scene where someone does try to rape(well move further than other person is comfortable with) someone, but even that is non-graphic and pretty low-key. Also, there is some mild violence, but thats basicly a using-my-super-cool-vampire-powers-to-protect-my-love kind of thing, nothing to hard core. Mild blood and gore do come into play, but like before nothing too bad, so the squeemish have been warned.

Bottom Line: The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and the Struggle is a great book that will really have you captivated from page one. It is interesting and original, even among the umpteen million vampire book out there. (Though that tidbit would be irrelevant anyhow since this book was probably published first) Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am looking forward to picking up the sequel.

Overall Rating:


Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! I want the world to see, what in my humble little opinion, could have started this massive Vamp-Craze that seems to be upon us. Plus, it is just a really entertaining book.

Cover Comments: This cover recieves a solid three from me. Nothing particurarly special about the cover, though I do think the blood on the lips is a nice touch. Also, I think the dude on the front, who I'm presuming is Stefan, is a little too haunting. I don't feel as if the cover accurately portrayed the essence of the book, though it is 100% better than the original printed covers. *shudders* In addition, the actual physical cover of the book, while feeling absurdly cool to touch, is a little too subjective wear-and-tear for my liking. (3/5)

Want more Vampire Diaries? Check out the other collection of the re-prints of the original Vampire Diaries with The Vampire Diaries: The Fury and Dark Reunion.
And...the CW has turned The Vampire Diaries into a TV show that plays Thursdays @8/7 pm central on your local CW channel.

Want a Vampires Diaries "Spin off"/Continument? L.J. Smith has also come out with a new trilogy based off the Vampire Diaries, with the same characters- or Elena atleast. The first book in the trilogy is The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall, the second book is The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadowed Souls and comes out February 9th, 2010*, and the third book is The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight and comes out December 8th, 2010*.

Want More L.J. Smith in general? L.J. has a series of re-prints of her original Night World series from Simon Pulse with the first three books combind in Night World No.1: Secret Vampire: Daughters of Darkness: Spellbinder, the fourth-sixth books combind in Night World No.2: Dark Angel: The Chosen: Soulmate, the seventh-eighth books combind in Night World No.3: Huntress: Black Dawn: Witchlight, and a final, previously un-released conclusion to the Night World series with Night World No.4: Strange Fate to be released April 6th, 2010*.

Yet another L.J. Smith series was re-printed since original publication from HarperTeen with the Secret Circle series. The first book and half of the second have been combind into The Secret Circle: The Initiation and The Captive Part I, and the second half of the second book along with the third have been combind into The Secret Circle: The Captive Part II and The Power.

That still not enough re-printed L.J. Smith goodness for you? Simon & Schuster have bound together the entire Dark Visions series with Dark Visions: The Strange Power: The Posessed: The Passion.

*All dates are subjective to change
** Was that not a long review? :)


Anonymous said...

I wasn't a big fan of The Awakening but The Struggle was very very good. Loved the cliffhanger at the end.

Dahlia (TheBookShopaholic) said...

Great review! It makes me want to read it!

Jordan said...

Great review! It makes me want to read it!