Saturday, 18 July 2009

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening, by L.J. Smith

This is the first book in the Vampire Diaries series. The series tells the story of popular high school student Elena Gilbert. Elena has it all, good looks, long blond hair, the attention of all the boys in school. On the first day back at school after Summer vacation, Elena notices a new student, Stefan Salvatore, a handsome and mysterious new student from Italy. Elena immediately sets her sights on Stefan as her new romantic conquest. She will stop at nothing to make him notice her, but everything she does he completely ignores. This has never happened to Elena, what boy at school wouldn't want to date her?

After a school dance Elena finds herself in a dangerous situation while partying with drunken fellow student, Tyler Smallwood. At a frightening moment in which Elena is fighting Tyler off, Stefan appears to rescue her. He takes her back to the room he rents, and tells her why he has been ignoring her. Stefan explains that Elena reminds him of his first love, Katherine, who has since died. Elena feels terrible for doubting him, and so sad at his loss. From that night on they are in love (yes, it happens that fast). Elena begins to feel that Stefan is keeping secrets from her, and soon learns he is a vampire. Shortly after learning this, Elena is visited by a beautiful stranger who seems hell bent on seducing her, a stranger that Stefan is all too familiar with.

Spoilers Ahead.

The premise of this books sounds intriguing. Beautiful young girl caught between a handsome vampire and his dark and mysterious vampire brother. Sounds great, unfortunately this book was nothing like it sounded. First issue was that Elena was not relatable as a character. It's difficult to root for the beautiful popular girl who is used to having the attention of all the guys around her, when she finally finds one who isn't instantly enthralled with her. Very few people had that experience in high school. She feel rejected, but of course, it isn't her cocky attitude that is keeping Stefan away, it's the fact that she looks like his old vampire lover from hundreds of years ago.
I was hoping that once we met Damon, Stefan's vampire brother he'd be the breath of fresh air and fun that this stories so badly needed to counteract the overwhelming teen angst. Sadly, Elena never connects with him, she is still so devoted to Stefan, though the reader never sees why either loves the other. It's literally something that seems to just happen, without explanation or any sort of courtship. It just IS.

Bottom line: There are so many good vampire books, young adult and otherwise, DO NOT waste your time on this one.


Nolebucgrl said...

Couldn't agree more. I read this and the 2nd one only because they came in a package deal and that was it for me. You could not be more right when you say that Elena is not relatable. Are we supposed to cry because ONE male at the school is not into her? But of course, he is anyway, so what's to cry over? I could applaud that LJ Smith went the other way, instead of having the girl be a fish out of water like the other books do, making her popular, but it just doesn't work. I don't care about her.

I found the premise intriguing as well, the good brother vs. the bad brother for the love of the fair lady. But the writing sucks, the characters are ALL flat and uninteresting and the story is just boring. I'm sorry you took one for the team and read 4 of them, I feel for you!

Hey Lady! said...

The weirdest part about these books is that as bad as they were they were easy to read. Usually if it's bad I get bored and stop, I wasn't bored here, more shocked at how ridiculous the entire story was!