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146 of 162 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2008
The Vampire Diaries is darker than Smith's other books, but every bit as enjoyable and entertaining. The dark edge actually allows for a wider audience... I vividly recall when, over ten years ago, I noticed my copy of The Awakening was missing from my bookshelf, only to find it in my 27 year old brother's room!

To be quite blunt, IMO, Vampire Diaries is what Twilight wishes it could be (sorry, Twilighters, don't kill me!).

As always, Smith is very skilled at showing the depth of her characters. The lead heroine, Elena, is beautiful and the most popular girl in school, but she silently doubts herself and the life she's made for herself so far. She doesn't know where she belongs. As the story continues, she grows as a character as she realizes how much the people in her life mean to her, and how much she is willing to give up in order to protect them.

Stefan, the vampire and romantic interest of Elena, is self-loathing and blind to his own good heart. He lives off of animals, and even then feels guilty when he accidently kills his prey. This conflict with himself only deepens when Elena enters his life, and he is convinced he doesn't deserve her love. Yet, despite this, Stefan fights for what he believes is right, even if it's against his own brother, Damon.

To complete the little triangle, we have Damon, who is also a vampire (and my favorite character... Damon = *swoon*). Damon is snarky, cold, handsome, and darkly hilarious. He knows what he is and he doesn't apologize for it. He also knows what he wants, and that happens to be Elena. But don't write Damon off as a one-dimensional character... Smith manages to write him as all of the above, while still capturing the reader's sympathy as we begin to see aspects of Damon that he himself refuses to acknowledge.

Just as a warning, these books can get a little scary, though never so much that I had trouble sleeping or anything. However, my older sister (who was around 16 at the time) had to crash in my room one night after reading a scene where Elena and her friends encounter a menacing presence in the local graveyard. So parents of younger readers might want to preview the chapters to make sure their daughter or son can handle it.

As both a teen and now as an adult, I love these books. They are well written and intruiging, especially compared to most of the other young adult books available today. L.J. Smith has yet to disappoint me! I very highly recommend Vampire Diaries.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
This book caught my eye at the bookstore and I finally decided to get it and give it a try. It was a pretty good book. Nothing really outstanding but an enjoyable read. I think these books may have been spectacular back 15 years ago, but with the market so saturated with this subject, they didn't really stand out for me. These books were originally written something like 15 years ago and were re-released as this omnibus which contains the first two of the four original books in the series.

Elena, the most popular girl in school, is intrigued by the new boy in town named Stefan. He is mysterious and will never answer any questions about his past. Elena is determined to make him notice her. Stefan finds Elena disturbing in that she reminds him of someone in his past. Things get tense when killings and attacks start happening in the area and people begin to suspect that Stefan is more than he appears to be.

A lot of people are comparing this to Twilight, and while the theme is kind of similar, the writing style is much different and the topic of vampirism is handled in a more traditional way than it is in Twilight. Personally, I shy away from comparing this series to Twilight because it is just a very different type of story.

This was a well-written and engaging story. It is again a story of star-crossed lovers in a way, as Stefan and Elena struggle to make a relationship work between a human and a vampire. It is also a story of revenge as Stefan's brother, Damon, tries to tear Stefan and Elena apart. This is a book for teens or young adults; it takes place during high school and there is a lot of angsting over who loves who, and who should go to what parties, etc. There is some mystery as they try to solve who is causing the attacks. There are a couple good action scenes but I wouldn't call this an action novel at all. The story itself is more of your classic Romeo and Juliet beginning with a paranormal bent to it.

The ideas behind vampirism are pretty typical and traditional in this book; there wasn't a ton of creativity from that aspect. That book also didn't take place is a very creative world; so not much world-building just the world you and I live in.

If you liked Twilight, the House of Night series, or the Vampire Academy series than you will probably like this book. As far as writing quality I think the Vampire Academy series is more well written than this series and the House of Night series is less well written than this series. It was good enough that I will read the next omnibus that contains the final two books of this series. I am not sure if I will read any additional series by L. J. Smith or not.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
This is one of those books that stick with you long after you've read it. I first picked up the Vampire Diaries 15 years ago when it was first published. Needless to say, because I'm writing a review here, I still adore the books. The novel is beautifully written, with characters I genuinely care about. Sure, my opinion of the characters have changed over time, mainly my impressions of Stefan and Elena... but they're still friends I enjoy visiting . I've reread this series a number of times. In a nutshell, its about finding love and acceptance despite outward appearance. A lot of this book is based on friendship and societal roles. It's a lot like Romeo and Juliet, had Romeo not died, but lived on, waiting to be whole again, never forgiving himself for the mistakes of the past. I like this story because the characters are so multi-dimensional, the world lush and exotic. EXCELLENT book. Don't skip it!

My main concern will be people who see parallels to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe. This one came first, and in my opinion, is better.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
I will never understand how come this series didn't catch on like wild fire. Like how the Twilight series is. This series, in my opinion, far surpasses the Twilight series. With this said, and my high and mighty opinion stated. ^_- I'll review.

The writing for this book (series) is superb. Adults will love it, and younger audiences will appreciate the change of reading level. The book enters the mind of a teenage girl, without trying to be a `teen' mind set of to day. Making it easy for anyone to sink into the skin of the main character, and of course the other characters. Although the main character is spoiled and gets every thing that she wants, it's fun, and quite enjoyable to watch her grow up.

All the characters have their own emotions and style that makes them interact well with each other. Even if friends break up, they care enough to work things out. The writing also focuses on these splendid side characters. Which is really nice, because it is such a great cast.

The plot never stops. Even after the characters fall in love, nothings perfect they have to fight and work together. And the reality of having a vampire boyfriend is nicely played out. So that it's not just happy easy perfect life, it's nitty gritty real life. Of course it is still a book.

The two brothers are great together. They conflict well and there background is well thought out. They were so well thought out that not only did I like the good brother, I also didn't mind the evil brother. Even though his deeds were terrible and I'm rooting for him to die. ^_-

Then there's the ending to this book, which is the first two in the series combined into one. It leaves you wanting the next one. Leaving on the best cliffhanger that only this book could pull off. It's like another climax in the story.

**** This is the perfect book for any vampire/urban fantasy collection. With the great mature writing that is refreshing to the youth, and perfect for the old. Plot that never stops turning, and way to many climaxes, which is a good thing. If you buy this book be warned: buy the next one. Because the cliffhanger begs you to read the next one!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
-I would have given it one, but I think tween/young teens getting started on vampire books might like it
WARNING!! This review contains spoilers!! And it's long-I had a lot of venting to do!

With a TV show coming this Fall and Vampire Lit the hot genre, this book has been consistently checked out at my library. A co-worker mentioned she had enjoyed them as a teen and my teen volunteer read it and loved it, so I thought I'd give it a try. I am so annoyed that I wasted my time.

This is one example of when I think the TV Show might turn out better than the books. I never felt any true chemistry between Elena and Stefan, but the previews for the show seem to add more depth to their relationship.

Elena is your typical beautiful popular girl. Everyone kept referring to her as the "ice princess" but I never really saw it. She's mostly selfish, childish, and only is interested in Stefan because he's new, hot and she gets whatever she wants. (She even has a boyfriend in the beginning of the book, but dumps him because "it doesn't feel right" and Stefan is hot) We're supposed to feel sorry for her because her parents died a few years earlier, but that never really seems important, except to give Elena a reason to say "you're not my mother" to her aunt towards the end of book two. She also for some reason spent the summer in Paris, but that's really never explained-I guess it's there to make her seem rich and snotty?? Maybe she gets better by the second book, but she's pretty annoying throughout. She also never tells her friends anything so half the time they have no true reason for being there, other than to prove Elena is popular.

Stefan is handsome, brooding and your typical tortured vampire. He's haunted by his past love, who he and his evil brother Damon fought over, and centuries later he's still not over it all-until of course, he meets Elena.

Stefan ignores Elena, the two barely say anything to each other, but once Stefan saves Elena on Halloween (after he snubbed her at the dance) she tells him she loves him. The two start "dating" and sharing blood (the equivalent of sex for these books) and by Thanksgiving Stefan proposes and they're engaged!!! Ok, read that again, it's not even been a month, she's in high school, and they're engaged?? What the crap???

The thing I really hated about this one, and the few vampire novels I've read, is that the guy is tortured by his past, he's a victim, and claims he only wants to protect the girl and pushes her away. The girl in turn believes she can save him with her love, tries to change him/help him, and believes she's not whole without him, her world would end if she left, blah blah blah. This is not romantic-it's a pattern for a bad relationship. Maybe I'm just too cynical.

There was supposed to be action/suspense, but I didn't think it ever got that exciting. The author isn't that great of a writer (I've heard from those who have read her stuff that in the later books her writing improves) but I found Elena's diary entries too angsty "I can't bear the thought of losing him","we didn't touch each other much-we didn't-but we talked and looked at each other a lot. I want to touch him. More than any boy I've ever known." There's also a point where the bad brother vampire Damon refers to Elena as a "beauteous damsel"-beauteous?? Ooh-you really seem scary now!!

I think if you have middle school vampire fans who are eager to read anything with angsty vampire romance, this series would do. The first two books were pretty tame and although the characters are supposed to be seniors in high school, they acted like middle schoolers. Even though they were written in 1991, they don't feel super outdated. The only things I thought really seemed to age the books were the fact that the girls made a blood pact (I remember adults always telling us never to do that but does anyone even do that anymore?) and that they're all impressed with Stefan's leather jacket.

Maybe if I had read these as a young teen, I would have enjoyed them. I just don't think Vampire Diaries has adult appeal. One good thing about reading this series is that I have even more appreciation for today's young adult literature. These books are the perfect example of why I didn't read YA when I was a teen!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2009
Like many people, I chose to read this book because I saw that there is a TV show coming out based on the series and I was intrigued. Now to start with, I am not the target audience of this book--it's most definately meant for preteens and high school students. I'm an adult who's read a lot of paranormal romance, fantasy, and horror, so my tastes are a bit more particular.

Basically the story is about a very popular girl named Elena who experiences a strong attraction toward the new guy at school, who's name is Stefan. What Elena does not know is that Stefan is a vampire, and that he's hundreds of years old. Stefan in turn finds himself drawn to Elena--mostly because she reminds him of a girl he knew when he was young. The plot and themes are very simplistic. I believe anyone over the age of twelve would be perfectly comfortable reading this, so mission accomplished there.

The main problem I had with this book was Elena--I found myself both loving and hating her. She's self-obsessed, determined, immature, and utterly stupid. I guess you could say that since she's so flawed and develops so much , she's actually fairly well-written. But she is annoying. As for Stefan, he was less well-written in that I really couldn't get a grip on his personality or motivations at all. Additionally, some of the high school social drama had me rolling my eyes at the silliness of it all.

Upside to this book--there are some nice romantic moments, decent imagery, and a few good action sequences. As an adult I'd say skip it, there are better vampire stories to be had in the paranormal romance world. But for the 12-15 crowd, it might be somewhat enjoyable.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
I had such hopes for these books after reading quite a few of the reviews. As an avid reader and lover of vamp books I was excited to finally read these. I bought the entire series (1st mistake). After reading the first chapter I started to worry. The characters are so incredibly superficial. How could I possibly care about this girl, Elena. Am I supposed to like her? she seems so self absorbed. Just because she lost her parents the reader is expected to feel for her? I don't think so. The character development left much to be desired. And the story line was incredibly difficult to follow. I found myself re-reading entire paragraphs because the story had absolutely NO transition. On sentence it's night time, and then all of the sudden they are in class, and you are lost. I tried, I really did to like this book, but it fell so short of all of my expectations that I did something that I have NEVER done before. I returned all the books (except the 1st. b/c it was used) to the store. I wanted my money back ASAP, too bad I couldn't get all the time back that I lost from reading The Awakening and The Struggle.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 2, 2008
So this book was originally the first two books in a four book arc called "The Vampire Diaries" published in the early 90's. This was a time when I was eating up Fear Street books by R.L. Stine and everything I could find by Christopher Pike. How in the world did I miss this gem back in the day? This is the story of Elena, who meets and falls in love with Stefan, a vampire. Stefan drinks only animal blood and is fairly shamed by what he is. All is well and good between the two of them until Stefan's evil (human blood sucking) brother Damon shows up and decided he wants Elena as well as revenge upon his brother. Suddenly the town has attacks and murders galore, and Stefan looks to be the guilty party. Only Stefan and Elena believe that this is Damon's work. The beginning set up to this story is very similar to Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I don't believe they are enough alike to call for any copyright issues, but let's just say I wouldn't be suprised if Stephanie Meyer might have read a copy of this book fifteen plus years ago. As much as I like the Twilight series, this first installment of Vampire Diaries was much darker, and some of the scenes were rather creepy. The book has pretty much non-stop action. Her characters are interesting too, especially Elena. Elena isn't exactly the kind of girl most of us would root for. She is the queen bee in her school social circle and she isn't above walking over the underlings. The faults of her character only make her seem all the more real. Damon is fun to hate, and you can actual feel the sinister oozing off of him. Stefan's a nice vampire, but he is probably the most bland of all the main characters. Bonnie, Elena's best friend, is also a well-drawn character. She has some psychic ability, but is also one of Elena's admirers. At the beginning of the book I felt like Elena kept Bonnie around to use, but it becomes quickly apparent that Elena cares about Bonnie and their other friend Meredith. This book was a great rollercoaster ride-like thrill and I am very happy that I had already purchased The Fury and Dark Reunion. I want to jump right in and finish these off. I recommend this book strongly to anyone in the YA market or anyone that was in the YA market many years ago, and may have missed it the first time around.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2009
I've been a fan of vampire books since I was a little girl. The very first vampire book I ever read was Interview With the Vampire. Since then I've read the Sookie Stackhouse, Books 1-7 and the The Twilight Saga Collection. I know what you're thinking. This will be another review that compares these books to Twilight, but you're wrong.

Last week, I began reading this book series. Its been on my "to read" list for a couple years. Many of my friends told me that they were great and I'd love them. I didn't. It isn't that there aren't interesting parts, because there are, but I found it kind of boring really. Plus, I couldn't relate to any of the characters. AT ALL.

There is a huge difference between being self confident and self absorbed. Elena seems to think that everyone owes her something and that the world should revolve around her. She was the girl I avoided and hated in high school. Just because the author gave her a personal tragedy, doesn't mean that this girl should be excused for her horrible attitude and the way she treats people. If I were her friends Bonnie and Meredith, I would have told her to piss off a long time ago.

As for Stefan, he makes me crazy. His incessant blubbing is really annoying. There wasn't enough back story that compelled me to believe that there was any reason he should have loved Katherine so much. His rivalry with Damon could have been great, if we had been given more. Aside from them both wanting the same one dimensonal girl, I saw no reason for their hatred of one another. All I could think while reading was "Louis, Louis... Still whining, Louis." Suddenly, I'm channeling Lestat.

Damon was pretty flat, but I saw potential in him. As I mentioned with Stefan, I wish that we had been given more in way of back story. I'm sure if I actually finish the series, I might get this. However, knowing your characters within the first two books and understanding their motivation is kind of CRUCIAL. I really wish that Elena AND Katherine had been more likeable. Then I could have bought into the love triangle. I really wanted to like these books, because I went in expecting to love them. Right now, I'm contemplating whether to read "The Fury" and "Dark Reunion". I've not yet purchased the fifth book, nor pre-ordered the sixth books. We'll see.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2009
Hmm..well I have to say that this book is amazing. The characters are well developed, and draw you in from page one. However, I will say that in my opinion, there are many of the same nuances and ideas in TWILIGHT, and I found this a bit disturbing. Vampire diaries was written 12 years BEFORE twilight. I suppose that I feel as if L.J Smith has been cheated of her glory. So, when you read this book, really pay attention to the plot and ideas of the book, and you will start to see some of the same thoughts and ideas as in Twilight. Stefan practically mirrors Edward in almost every way.
I enjoyed Twilight, but this is not about Twilight, this is about Vampire Diaries- a much better and well thought out book.
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