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The Vampire Diaries: Shadow Souls (The Return: Vol. 2) Hardcover – March 16, 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 196 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–This second installment in a "Vampire Diaries" subseries picks up exactly where Nightfall (HarperTeen, 2009) left off. The evil kitsune twins, Shinichi and Misao, have descended on Fell's Church and inflicted pain and suffering on the community. Even the mighty Damon was tricked into helping them kidnap Stefan and imprison him in the "Dark Dimension." Damon regrets being involved in his brother's demise and agrees to take Elena with him to rescue Stefan from his hellish prison. This trip isn't easy and the riddlelike clues are twisted and confusing. They are joined by Meredith and Bonnie and enter the "Dark Dimension," a place where humans are the slaves of vampires, demons, and kitsunes. Allying themselves with all sorts of characters, they must find Stefan, launch a rescue mission, and somehow get themselves back to Fell's Church. Smith's tale lacks the intrigue and appeal of the original series. The plot is disjointed and confusing, making certain parts slow and difficult to follow. The most promising development is between Elena and Damon. Damon shows his vulnerability by revealing to Elena the true depth of his feelings for her. As they become closer, Elena must come to terms with her feeling for both brothers and where her love truly lies. Purchase where Smith has a fan base.Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006172081X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061720819
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm kicking myself for buying this book and putting the emotional investment into reading it. Shadow Souls is truly awful, and I thought nothing could be worse than Nightfall. I am embarrassed for LJ Smith and all of the readers (including myself) who held out hope that the story of the Vampire Diaries could be redeemed after her last mess of a novel.

Much like the previous book, Smith seems determined to cram a bunch of folklore and fairy tales clichés into Shadow Souls, and this time most of them fit into the messily-detailed dark-age other world she creates. She spends so much time on period detail that is unnecessary- do we really need to know the color of the veils that each of the girls wears during their procession though the city? Magical Auras, demon dogs, gate keepers, fierce falcons- ugh. The book meanders all over the place at times, and so slowly that I had to put the book down in frustrated boredom several times.

I thought Damon had lost all of his charm in Nightfall, but again, I underestimated just how bad it could really get. He maintains that he will die for Elena as they make their dangerous quest, yet there is no real spark or chemistry left between them. And LJ Smith can't seem to make up her mind about the physical capabilities of the vampires. After decreeing that no sex is possible in the last novel, Elena's not-quite-human aura seems to make Damon capable of feeling for/wanting from a woman something he has not felt in 500 years. Am I the only one getting whiplash trying to keep up?

The last pages and a sudden change for one of the major characters is just unbelievable and very disappointing. (It also foreshadows another tedious quest.
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Format: Hardcover
I think at this point, it's obvious that the author neither cares about her readers or, perhaps more importantly, her characters. The whole time I was reading this book, I kept waiting for it to get better or at least start to make sense. Elena is laughable in this book, she's nothing like she was in the original four books. She's a whiny, giggling wreck. Her only purpose seems to be to stand around and make men fight over her. She spends most of the book lusting after Damon, but rather than make it believable, Damon stalks around like a cartoon character - I was expecting him to start twirling his mustache and squinting through a monocle. Poor Bonnie and Meredith are relegated to supporting characters. In the original books, they were part of the team, even if they weren't main characters. Here they only serve to point out how wonderful Elena is. Stefan finally show up 400 or so pages in, babbling like a moron. He practically throws himself at Elena's feet, crying, "Darling! Angel!" How this Stefan managed to live for 500+ years without getting a stake through his heart is beyond me. Matt is once again reduced to a minor role and Damon still refers to him as "Mutt". They didn't get along in the original books, but at least Damon was civil to him - the way you would think a gentleman of Renaissance Italy would be. Instead, he acts like a six-year-old boy.

There's a vague sadomasochism vibe in the middle section - Damon, Elena, Bonnie, and Meredith have to enter the Dark Dimension, but only if Damon takes the humans as slaves. A particularly insulting part is the way Elena rescues an old slave woman. The old woman is being beaten in the middle of the street, but no one pays any notice. That is, until Elena risks life and death to go to her rescue.
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Format: Hardcover
This book, like its predecessor Nightfall, makes a mockery of the first four Vampire Diaries books--which have been beloved by me and many others for most of our lives! The original books were about love, honor, friendship, mystery, suspense...full of very interesting, well-developed characters and a plot that was engaging and made sense.

The characters and plot in this book are cartoonish and don't even line up with the original books'. This book is all about ridiculous juvenile conversations, out-of-character phrasing/mannerisms/actions for almost every character, and a silly complicated COMPLETELY POINTLESS plotline to tie it all together.

I have often been tempted to think that these latest books were really written by a ghostwriter, but the problem is that very occasionally you can still see a glimmer of the L. J. Smith who used to be. Maybe it's just a sentence or two. But it's enough to convince me that she's still in there somewhere, so I shall cross my fingers and hope that one day soon she will write a good book again. Because that day is certainly not here yet.

In conclusion, this is certainly not the worst book, or even the worst vampire book, I've ever read, but it is definitely the worst book I've ever read that was written by an author who used to write GOOD books!
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Format: Hardcover
I have to be honest. This book was actually better than The Return: Nightfall (Vampire Diaries). Sadly, this does not prevent it from being a horrible book.
This book was all over the place and the plot was barely coherent.

Here's the deal: Damon was possessed at the behest of Hot Topic rejects, Misao and Shinichi. This led him to tricking Stefan into going into a place called the Dark Dimension. Elena gets over floating like a balloon to team up with Damon to get him back.

Caroline is still possessed and trying to have Matt arrested for assaulting her. I have to say that the parts with Caroline were the only things remotely interesting about the book. Unfortunately the Matt/Caroline?Mrs Flowers scenes were shoved aside in favor of feeble attempts at eroticism with Damon and Elena.

Stefan and Elena bored me. Every time Elena had an out-of-body experience, I grit my teeth at the insipid dialogue and promised my brain Milk Duds to soothe the loss of brain cells.

Bonnie and Meredith? Strictly on the sidelines and BORING. Meredith was one of my favorite characters and now she's been reduced to generic friend. Ugh.

Another thing that bothered me was the unhealthy obsession with the ideas of purity and virginity. Elena is a virgin. Uh, okay and this is a secret WHY?

Also, readers do not need it pounded into their heads how hot Elena is. Seriously, it seemed like every five pages I was subjected to how awesomely and mind-blowingly hot she is. COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY!

Oh, and THE END *deep breath*... This could have been a shocking and heart-wrenching development, but for some reason LJS decided to play it for comedy.
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