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The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith

Review by Alleandra

The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith
Book 1: The Awakening
Book 2: The Struggle
Book 3: The Fury
Book 4: Dark Reunion

The World:
Set in a small town USA circa late 1980ís early 1990ís

The Characters:
Stefan , Elena and Damon, Elenaís best friends Bonnie and Meredith, Highschoolers Matt, Caroline, Tyler and Vickie (others as well), new teacher Alaric Saltzman, Elenaís Aunt Judith and her little sister Margaret

The Plot:
This YA series introduces Elena, who has been the reigning queen of Robert E. Lee high school and certainly expects to retain that status in her senior year there. Her friends Bonnie, Caroline and Meredith are all popular and good looking, and everything points to a wonderful final year. But first Elena must break up with Matt, the quarterback of the football team, especially after she catches site of Stefan, the gorgeous new boy in town.

But her first day goes awry as Caroline seemingly turns on her, and she canít seem to catch Stefanís interest.

Meanwhile Stefan is not at all what he seems. A vampire who has lived for centuries hating being a vampire, he is attempting at long last to fit in. He can go out in sunlight, thanks to a lapis lazuli ring that acts as a talisman for him. But Elena is a dead ringer for his long lost love, who was the one who made him the soulless hunter he is now.

But there is something very odd happening at school. More then odd, it is evil and downright dangerous. Evidence points to Stefan, but Elena staunchly stands up for him. The main story arc continues from books 1 to 3, where it is concluded. Book 4 introduces a new evil not previously encountered in the series.

Book 1 intertwines the current story with bits from Stefanís past, helping to explain why he behaves the way he does. The evil that has pervaded town has built to a suspenseful conclusion. The reader is let in on some of the secrets, but not all. Smith also leaves us hanging with a cliffhanger ending.

Book 2 picks up immediately where book 1 leaves off. Once again, Smith leads the reader down a false trail in an effective manner. This book also has a cliffhanger ending.

Book 3 successfully concludes the major story arc that has built throughout the series.

Book 4 introduces a different element, and an adequate ending.

Comments:
The major plot I found to be fun and entertaining, sad and exciting. Although this contains some very familiar plot contrivances, mostly L.J. Smith delivers some surprises. Her characters are somewhat shallow, but the entertaining essence prevails. Having recently reread them, my reaction was still positive. Book 4 has some major flaws imo. It almost appears as if the series was conceptualized as a trilogy, but the sad ending forced the author to write a 4th book in order to provide a happier ending overall. In any case, book 4 is not up to par with the first 3, although it is still a good YA read.

Rating:
The Awakening - 4.3
The Struggle - 4.5
The Fury - 4.3
Dark Reunion - 4.15


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