Monday, 11 April 2011

The Vampire Diaries: The Return, Shadow Souls

Description (from the back of the book):

Elena Gilbert's love, the vampire Stefan Salvatore, has been captured and imprisoned by demonic spirits who are wreaking havoc in Fell's Church. While her friends Bonnie and Meredith explore the evil that has taken over their town, Elena goes in search of Stefan.

In order to find him, she entrusts her life to Stefan's brother, Damon Salvatore, the handsome but deadly vampire who wants Elena, body and soul. Along with her childhood friend Matt, they set out for the slums of the Dark Dimension, where Stefan is being held captive. It is rumored to be a world where vampires and demons roam free, but humans must live enslaved to their supernatural masters. . . .

Elena will stop at nothing to free Stefan. Yet with each passing day the tension between Elena and Damon grows, and she is faced with a terrible decision: Which brother does she really want?

This review contains spoilers!!

Hmmm I wonder who Elena will chose? Each book promises this "love triangle", but really it's Stefan, always Stefan, there's never really any doubt. To be fair, this book comes the closest to Elena actually questioning her feelings for Damon, though it's only because Stefan is physically absent. As soon as Stefan is back, it's ALL about him. Which is fine, but don't lie to us about this complicated decision, from the first chapter of the first book, Elena's mind is made up.

The best:
-Stefan is gone, so there's far less super gooey "lovely love" baby talk between Elena and Stefan, there's still some, as Elena visits him in dreams and they attempt to nauseate us with their undying love.
-Damon has a lasting chance at redemption. Damon is better than in the last book, some of the sense of humor is back.
-Elena and Damon build a much stronger bond. It was interesting to see how their relationship would go, well "interesting" is probably too strong a word.
-I liked that Damon got turned into a human at the last second of the last book and Stefan gets super pissed (Damon does so much stuff and this mistake is what Stefan wants to kill him over?). Though the way it happens is stupid (plus, I had forgotten after watching too much of the television show how much Damon does NOT want to be human, glad they changed that in the show, makes it way more interesting).

The worst:
-The reiterating the SAME things over and over is really grating. "Elena is sweet, and kind, and pure and the most perfect being in existence". "Bonnie is fragile and delicate, emotional and weak". Yep, we got that the first 500 times, we do not need paragraph after paragraph of discussion about it.

-There's an exorbitant amount of time spent talking about clothes and jewelry, and what Elena is wearing, right down to her custom perfumes. This wouldn't be so bad (wait, yes it would be) if the characters hadn't JUST been talking about the urgency to save Stefan. Somehow everything they have to "get" to save him involves ANOTHER set of dresses and another 5 or 6 pages of descriptions of frivolous crap (seriously, there are descriptions of how the lighting at the various events will be, so they can accurately decide what colors to wear...). Even when "rushing" to visit Stefan, they must first waste a bunch of time making custom stuff for Elena (and others) to wear.

-The entire book is about a road trip to save Stefan from prison, and when they get to the actual rescue, it's over in half a page. The mere presence of a set of Elena's "wings" cause the plant-woman chasing them to crash into them and die (couldn't have whipped those babies out 10 pages ago when this creature started her pursuit?).

Bottom line: Better than Nightfall. About the same as the first four.


Nolebucgrl said...

Well I'm kinda sad that it doesn't sound like the complete hot mess that the last one was (per your review, not my reading, as you know I refuse to read this crap). I'm kind of sad about that, for I thought maybe we'd go a whole new level of crazy but alas.

Why does Elena have wings? I suppose this happened after one of her deaths or some such thing. I don't know why I'm asking. I don't really care. hehe

Maybe whoever writes the show ghost wrote for LJ on this one and made it more cohesive (except for the awesome clothing descriptions that is).

Still not missing it. Still commending you for reading :)

Offbeat Vagabond said...

I am yet to read this series. I only recently got into the show and it isn't as awful as I initially thought. I was too scared to watch it because anything Twilight-like makes me cringe. From the review, it almost seems that way :( But nonetheless, thank you for the great and honest review hon. Really making me think whether I should read this or not.

Hey Lady! said...

Nolebucgrl: I sort of missed the over-the-top crazy stuff from the last one too. At least it was entertaining and shocking. This book was neither. It was just sort of there, with some stupidity thrown in for good measure.
Vagabond: You probably won't like the books, honestly. though they're easy to find at the library and 1/2 priced book stores, so you can pick up "The Awakening" and "The Struggle" in the combo pack and see what a "struggle" reading really is. (Or if you happen to love it, please come back and tell me why).

Anna S. said...

I think that the writer of the vampire diaries and Angel's Blood series had a writing camp together, because there are a ton of similarities between their protagonists... starting with the name Elena. This just illustrates that no matter how much my husbands wants to, we will NEVER name any of our future daughters Elena. OVERDONE! PS Read Angel's Blood. It's easy, entertaining and a great twist on angels. These aren't your biblical angels, either, more like a superior caste to a vampire. yes, there are vampires too.

Hey Lady! said...

The Kelley Armstrong "Women of the Underworld series also have a main character named "Elena". There are also LOTS of "Clare", "Claire", "Clarey" etc. And "Bella" or "Isabel". And of course, "Damon" or "Damien".