Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle

Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle
L.J. Smith
Harper Teen, 1991. 492 pages. Young Adult

Beautiful, orphaned Elena is the queen of her high school in Fells Church, Virginia. But after summer vacation everything changes. Elena’s best friend Caroline becomes her rival for popularity and her sunny all American boyfriend Matt is replaced by the mysterious Italian Stefan Salvatore. Stefan is dark and handsome and reveals a good deal of insight about the Italian Renaissance in seventh period history class. In the first volume, The Awakening, there is a grisly murder in the Elena’s quiet town. Stefan suspects the culprit may be his dangerous older brother Damon seeking revenge. Stefan and Damon were once rivals for their first love Katherine’s heart. In the quest to win Katherine both Stefan and Damon were changed into creatures of the night. Stefan resists his morbid lifestyle but Damon relishes the power and blood lust. As the brothers stumble upon Elena they are staggered by her uncanny resemblance to long dead Katherine.

In the second volume, The Struggle, both brothers court Elena in different ways and with a different end in mind for her. Elena and Caroline continue to plot and scheme against one another with consequences that may affect Stefan and his ability to live innocently among the mortals of Fells Church.

There are a surprising amount of similarities between the Vampire Diaries and Twilight. Vampire Diaries was written before Twilight and Stephenie Meyer claims not to have read any vampire fiction before she wrote her epic series. Even though Elena is self-centered and a stereotypical high school notable, she is a natural leader and more game than passive Bella. I enjoyed Elena as a leading character better than Bella. In addition, there is actual high school business in this novel. This novel is a lot cleaner than many other Urban Fantasies that have been released lately. Maybe Twilight meets Buffy meets Gossip Girl? I look forward to reading the inevitable conclusion.


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