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The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters: Destiny Rising Hardcover – October 23, 2012
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From the Back Cover
Destined for danger . . .
Elena has faced countless challenges—escaping the Dark Dimension, defeating phantoms, discovering she's a Guardian. But nothing compares to choosing between the two loves of her life: Stefan and Damon Salvatore. Elena has reunited with Stefan, while Damon, hurt by the rejection, has become dark and unpredictable. Now Elena's torn between saving Damon's soul and staying true to Stefan.
But before Elena can decide who her heart belongs to, Dalcrest College's campus is overrun with vampires determined to resurrect Klaus, the wicked Old One who will stop at nothing to destroy Elena—and everyone close to her.
As Elena learns more about her destiny as a Guardian, a protector against evil on earth, she realizes that before she can defeat Klaus, she has to sacrifice someone close to her. Elena must decide how much—and who—she's willing to give up before it's too late. . . .
About the Author
L. J. Smith has written over two dozen books for young adults, including The Vampire Diaries, now a hit TV show. She has also written the bestselling Night World series and The Forbidden Game, as well as the #1 New York Times bestselling Dark Visions. She loves to walk the trails and beaches in Point Reyes, California, daydreaming about her latest book.
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"Good read" in its flow, but climax falls short after a pretty good build. This was frustrating to me as I was happy for something big to occur and then it was over after all of that. The premise was good, but again the author tries to undo older books, and it sounds like the TV series too much. Elena's part was kind of dull in comparison to how she was in the return series 'all powerful'. If you had read this and not the other part of the return, it would have been better than the Wings-Make sense? It is like a 'flower blooming' was so spot on without being all out there. New author did a better job, yet the story itself didn't lend itself to this plot. Why is she coming back into powers when they were stripped? That makes no sense. And why are her powers so weak now?
She'd had abilities before (in the return she was brought back with them) without the reason they said...then kind of changed in a way it didn't make sense. She had to earn them and they were so off from before....I was like huh? These changes were not congruent with her previous ways/powers. Bam suddenly she grew up? I felt more in the today then I ever have which was neat. It didn't have a nineties feel to it. Mystery as always was good, but was rushed in my opinion. I felt that with the others too. Of the three this is the best hands down, but it lacks the real beauty of the original series that both worked on together. think this is the editor? of the first series. There is no way with words, no spark, but there is constancy a simplicity with good build. Of course I can't fathom a writers conception so forgive my critique. Even still I can't want to like it. I didn't like how it was handled enough to care where Stefan and Elena go. I love Damon so that's that. And her seriously kills someone again. If the tv show and this are the same,forget it. Damon on tv is a shadow of who he was in the first three books.
As this is a conclusion to the hunters...it would have been better had nothing been pre-written as I have said before as it's own story (without the return series). Elena's love, that was once equal, destroyed her character for many people. So she blew up a moon in her rage and grief but lets him go as easy as she had without never dealing with her feelings. And then goes back on that love as if it never happened. There is a term for girls like that. And WOW, that is horrid of her. Go guard some thing else, Elena, you are a hallow husk of a girl.
And he STILL has a piece of her? It's silly so just stop it. It doesn't feel like he was loved in a way that would make it change him. Even if she didn't love him, which made no sense. This is more whacky than if they tried it out and broke up. If the publishers were worried about the way a teen girl would see this, I am telling you I would not let my daughter read it as it ended. She never deals, she never feels and she never grew. A choice is not growing. The words are there but no. That would be closure for her but she never has it (how many times had she nearly lost Stefan at this point?). How is this epic love when you fall in love- or use someone- in place of his brother. How can he even want to be connected to her after that. Unrealistic. Was there no better way to do this? Perhaps I am overly critical, but many people love Damon and he is always the fall guy. I know he is not perfect, and he got in the way of SE, but he is a GOOD character. Now he is forced to be Stefan 2.0 if you look at the whole bond thing. We didn't want that, but thanks. Is that any better than realizing you accidentally fell in love with someone else and decided to go on your own and be a real woman about it? Stefan was a floor mat yet he's in more action which was good. Elena is as always in peril and never as strong. I miss her being strong and witty.
Yet many SE fans may feel she redeemed herself to a degree. That is good consistency again too from the last book at least. I was let down that she basically used him all this time for what was a lousy explanation of 'family'. I was glad to see she stuck it through with Stefan, but I felt so empty after reading it. Despite her best efforts, Elena is not a good person to me. But then she wasn't to many SE fans rightly so for her involvement with Damon. Damon irritated me in this book. It was like he became TV Damon and that is not Damon. To each his own. I tried it LJ and I am done. This is like the tv show, and I'd rather have books 1-3 stay fresh in my mind. Elena was a girl who was a snob, but she grew up, she died for those she loved. And while she fell for both boys, she wanted them to be family over wanting to get between them.
I am glad she 'grew up', but LJ made many mistakes (and I love her) but others have said that too and they carried over. All of these vampires resurrection made Damon's death stupid. The guardian's look stupid. This forced the new writer to fix and change stuff. This is why it rates low-i feel empty still. The story at the end of the day for this OK did all it could do, it did it well, but you cannot really fix it. not without ignoring one part for the other. So I did mention the continued problems. And I agree but it came over from that series to this one and should have been changed. Example-Kathrine has memories though she was dead. Weren't they supposed to go out (aside Elena who was a guardian)? This hardened female (Kat) did a 180 and I felt like saying 'seriously.'....thought vampires just went out. Another TV allusion.
It makes it hard to read and follow, especially the time lapse. The author did try to explain this with Meredith explaining the changes to Christan, but here we go with the SIRE bond. And Klaus. Again. Thought Damon forgot himself...that was frustrating but not as much. There was a lot of thought put into it which made me feel good at the effort but I still threw it against the wall. The other thing is you kind of have this sire thing going on all over with Original crap. Now everyone is bound. Elena must have been smitten with Damon because of that. Oh really....? Which made me think back to when Elena was turned the first time. Her infatuation to Damon is kind of explained logically. Nothing about Bonnie's professed death, nothing of the midnight dinner DE fans. Just Elena was most likely implied as being turned by him since she was most effected by him right after. It was obvious they wanted to tear any Bamon and Delena out of the plot. Thanks from the fans, you ruined it for us. Even SE was hard to take after the way it was done. I care not that it was done, just the way all of this was done. Again, my opinion.
This author did the best she could reworking it, which I give credit for. Elena in the first three was just a person you either liked or hated. Now I detest her as anyone on the other may have for leading one of two bothers on. The guardian thing she did with her in this part was hands down wonderful. My issue is that it doesn't work in with other books. You do get the feel Elena had to grow up, but its too much to late. I just wish this had been its own series. it would have fared much better. These two-if put together-are awesome. You'll notice many tv related terms like Original wolf... Sorry DE fans, this is all about SE and Elena. It almost seems like the return never happened, yet some things are brought back-oddly.That actually ticked me off. Christan was a great example of that. I was like-why? Same with Matt. Katherine seriously made me feel like the tv show will be the same way and its not worth being a DE fan at this rate. Even the 'piece of me' thing at the end was a bone to us for nothing. Just let it die if it will. It makes no sense as to why that was even said. DE fans do not want a connection if he was used and loved her. And unrequited again? From equal to that? She picked Stefan let it just stand already- no connection no nothing. Even his actions in the first part per like 'really'? 180 there too.He never seemed to change though I was getting what was being given to me I couldn't swallow it. because it was too fast. Man, makes me so frustrated that this was not its own series with diff characters. None of them are the remotely the same.
Damon and Elena are tied by life. If he kills she dies. They set her out to kill him, she tries to get round it. She loves him as family.
Damon allows histie to her to make sure that he cant even compulse people. (So he is Stefan 2.0)
Elena's blood drank by old creatures kills them. Margret could be the same.
Elena's sister is like her but here's a new one for ya: Elena has a new sister!-Katherine. yup. she's all sweet about it too "I had ime to think when I was dead"-so you never went out as vampires were supposed to? AGAIN! CAn we at least get new people and not rez an old plot? c'mon.
Elena became a guardian-her first task was to kill Damon-she couldn't this see above as a result (they get tied to assure this)
Katherine rez'd by Klaus too. He never notices she isn't therwhen he fights in one scene, and what she does while there? oh and she doesn't kill now.
Katherine harbors no hate towards Elena or Stefan and Damon.
Elena's mom rejected her guardianship but her children were to have blood that would kill old ones. he wrote a sad note about leaving Katherine behind to keep her safe, how the guardians didn't want her b/c she was sick and didn't think she would make it to her age of power. Ten she got turned.
Both brothers essentially loved each sister. and both sisters picked Stefan.-that was crazy. I did not like this aspect. (It reminded me of Damon and Isobel from tv)
Elena's Mom was a prime guardian
All three sisters blood could have killed Old ones only As long as friend of the family Judith keeps custody of kids-they are protected until they CHOSE which path
Elena's Mom defected, her best friend protected the girls until they were old enough to choose. they are not real family. That was cool as you read it. you get the sense of love there. only spark I felt all book.
Klaus re-turned Christan and Meridith had to kill him. Another sire bond which is getting unfathomably old as originals.
all supers remember both timelines, norms do not
Tyler and Caroline still had kid twins and were together working it out. she was remorseful for her previous actions and thought more about her kids than herself.
Damon will visit far away to put space between himself and Elena. It huts he truly fell in love with her. he and Elena have a piece of one another-a connection-but Elena denotes she is not in love but he has a piece of her forever?
Bonnie and Zander stay strong
Elena drinks that vial of eternity to live forever with Stefan once she is sure of who she is
Matt looses chloe who cannot live as a vampire and kills herself.
My favorite character ended up sucking (j.i.m.o.)and I wish for some of LJ and her crazy ideas just because she had that spark. She needed a better editor really. I will miss old Damon and I gave the series a full shot. He was not meant to be great or bad, not violent and not what he came to be. I loved her version best, even if the return was not my fav series. I hope they can end the series with Elena and Stefan and be done with it. Something new, fresh and exciting. After being overly crictical,I do wat to say it was decent read, it had consistency from its start -The hunters series_but not with the return series.
Some of these things were ridiculous and still don't pan out right from the return series. Overall it is very thought provoking and a lot of detail and time to closing off loose ends. Major effort that needs applauding for. SE fans enjoy the reward you got your ending :) And Damon will go off on his own. DE fans sad day for us, pointless as to why she was even with him that sucks worse than ever. You can't really undo them right? Half or a third of the fans will be sad, but it was wrapped up the best way possible. Sorry Bamon fans!
It wasn't really tacky as I expected. Climax left a bunch to be desired but the build up was good. Still host a lack of spark LJ Smith had, but its a diff author and we cannot really fairly compare. This author is a strong writer, but I failed to see the passion. S&E felt stronger which was good and believable. The hugs, the need, yet still reeling from the return series and stuff-made it difficult to follow all Elena has done. In the end SE fans will rejoice...but despite feeling out of place, its not a bad read. I rated it low simply because I felt let down at the climax after a nice build, the way that it was pieced together was as well done as could be. This was based on this book alone and not any of the other books. This review's critical aspect is simply my opinion based off all books together and this conclusion to the series. I wrote it like this for all of the fans who will not read.
Destiny rising is a good read, but not one that stuck out to me over all. I think it was the lack of some spark. Though I am a DE fan, I was ok with the end even if I didn't 'like' it. I kind of shrugged myself, but many of ya won't. Read it, share it, but try it out. I think it will be most liked of the three. (aside the triangle and ships of course)
First off, the characters in the last three books have become unrecognizable and no longer compare to Smith's original creations. Allow me to explain what I mean by this. From the beginning we saw through L.J. Smith that there was a lot more depth to each of her characters than what originally met the eye. Elena started off as a stuck-up girl who eventually developed into a strong heroine. She loved more than she should have, but her humanity is what led us to see the virtue in her.
Stefan began as a love-sick, broken (and struggling) vampire who wanted to find a way to earn his salvation back. He was always good, but to the fault of being a martyr, except for the time he nearly killed his brother after he believed Elena to be dead. He inspired his fans to be chivalrous even when it was tough. He was willing to fight for Elena, but also willing to sacrifice everything for the good of all involved. (Even if it meant that he would be alone forever.)
Damon was angry from the very beginning, but still reeling from the loss of Katherine, just as his brother. As someone who'd tried to bury his humanity a long time ago, we saw that he wanted to change but didn't know how until he met Elena. Through L.J. Smith we saw him slowly transform into the man we always thought he could be-- caring, compassionate, and loving. At first we thought he was everything that Stefan was not, but as the story continued we began to understand that they were more alike than we initially assumed. While Damon was convinced that human blood was the only way to survive, he also believed in kindness and mercy (with a few exceptions when he was possessed, etc.). He was aloof at first, but his desire to be accepted and loved finally won out in the end. Elena showed him what it meant to love another, truly, and be loved in return.
Matt was always the good, all-American, gentleman through and through. He held Elena on a pedestal from the beginning, but eventually learned to let her go. He was broken so many times by the way she loved others but only thought of him as a friend. It seemed as though he was destined to be alone forever.
Meredith was strong, courageous, and spirited. She was willing to give vampires a chance to prove themselves, despite her upbringing as a hunter/slayer. She was guarded and wary, but accepting of people once they proved trustworthy. Even in Damon, who she saw as a force for evil instead of good at first, she found a surprising ally. She took each adventure in stride and was always willing to back up her friends, even to the point of laying down her own life. Klaus had ruined her life and created a half-vampire out of her as a toddler, but still she stayed strong.
Bonnie was a child, barely on the brink of adulthood. Her mind was innocent, despite the evil around her. She was far too trusting and willing to see the good in everyone-- even when they didn't deserve it. She was a little boy-crazy and flighty, but her heart was made of gold. Even when she developed feelings for Damon she knew that she could never cross the line with him because of the connection he had with Elena. And being the loyal friend that she was, Bonnie would never do anything to hurt any of her friends.
So what did the ghost writer do differently? She started by changing the dynamic between several of the central characters. And not only did she change their dynamics with one another, she also changed their personalities.
At the end of The Return: Midnight, Stefan was ready to let Elena go and move on. Elena had realized that she truly had loved Damon...maybe even more than she'd loved Stefan. Damon had died showing Elena that he truly loved her and truly making peace with his brother (before awakening on the moon). Matt and Meredith had become close friends and now understood that nothing else could be between them. And Bonnie was comforted by Stefan and Elena after the loss of Damon from their lives, but seemed strong enough to continue.
In The Hunters: Phantom, the ghost writer brings back Damon as originally intended, only to make Elena choose Stefan over Damon again. She'd loved him, wanted him, wished for him, mourned his death, and then when he DOES come back she pretends like she doesn't care for him at all. Within Phantom, Moonsong, and Destiny Rising, we see her continue to push him away even to the point of causing his near death. She pretends like nothing happened between them in Shadowed Souls and Midnight. She pretends as though she's only ever loved Stefan. The ghost-writer dangles a couple of chapters in the readers' faces when she has Damon and Elena have one dinner together before forcing Elena back with Stefan. The ghost-writer completely changes the dynamic between Elena and Damon and changes Elena's character.
Stefan watches Elena's behavior with Damon and just pines after her. Although this may be typical Stefan martyr behavior, he should have stepped aside as soon as Damon came back from the Dark Dimensions.
Bonnie goes from wishing Damon would show her some notice to not caring about him at all, and being just some side-character whose use appears to be providing the group with magic. It seems that she is no longer an integral part of the team. In fact, the only real honorable mention she gets is when she teams up with Zander and becomes a werewolf groupie. I will say, it was good for her to have a love interest other than Damon, but she became more of a side-story and less of a focal point for the remaining 3 books.
Meredith goes from being a half-vampire who needs blood every so often to being a normal teenage girl (with the exception of the hunter/slayer training). Only in the third book of The Hunters does the ghost-writer even address the fact that she was ever a half-vampire, and then it's only in passing. The ghost- writer took what L.J. Smith wrote about the work of Klaus being reversed and made it so that Meredith was no longer a half-vampire, and her brother was no longer a vampire. This does not make sense for two reasons: 1) Elena was talking about all the stuff Klaus did AFTER he came BACK, not the first time he came to Fell's Church. 2) The Guardians were able to change the deaths of two people, but it was clear from the previous books that not even they could reverse the change of a human into a vampire. Only the Kitsune magic could do that-- thus the roses of the Seven Treasures Gatehouse. This new storyline was poorly thought out and executed.
And then there's Matt... The one person that had yet to find true love-- the one person who pined after Elena for years-- finally meets a girl that he falls in love with only to have her DIE. So technically this didn't really alter Matt's character, so much as this just sucked. Instead of being angry or feeling betrayed at how Damon behaves in Destiny Rising, Matt's character completely ignores the situation with Elena. This is quite uncharacteristic of him, even if he was in love with someone new.
Elena's Guardianship is also something that was completely changed. The ghost-writer makes it seem as though Elena's parents knew all along. She created different levels of Guardianship and gives Elena powers that were never part of the original Guardian idea. The ghost-writer doesn't even bother mentioning the Wings of Power and whether or not Elena will ever have use of them again. She makes Elena out to be a Mage with "powers derived from Nature" instead of a Guardian in the way she was originally portrayed. Elena keeps telepathy, but only with Stefan? And having this plotline develop where Katherine and Elena are half-sisters is completely ridiculous!
Katherine also changes-- when resurrected by the ghost-writer--and she suddenly becomes somewhat sane again. She no longer harbors bitterness toward Damon or Stefan and somehow knows before Elena does that they are now "half-sisters".
And finally to wrap this up, none of these characters had any depth or feeling to them as they had when L.J. Smith was writing the series. It's as though the ghost-writer was just writing an essay on how all the pieces fit together without putting any thought or feeling into it. She butchered the characters and their plot lines, and then created a hack-job ending hoping to wrap everything back up.
So would I recommend it? NO. The only reason I gave this book ONE star is because it's required to make a rating. Alloy Entertainment made the biggest mistake of this series by firing L.J. Smith and hiring a ghost-writer hack to finish it in her place. Congratulations! You got your Stefan and Elena ending...but at what cost? Clearly someone at the top had to get their way, but I still don't understand why they had to butcher a perfectly good series to do it!