Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith

Rating: 2/5 Stars (I would have given it one, but I think tween/young teens getting started on vampire books might like it)

Genre: Paranormal/Romance

Release Date: Originally released in 1991, re-released in 2007

About the Book: Popular, beautiful Elena meets mysterious, devastatingly handsome and new to town Stefan. Teen angst and vampire brooding ensues.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: 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!

What do you think? Am I being too harsh?


  1. No, you aren't being too harsh. I've been kind of sick of vampire novels lately, with the exception of the Blue Bloods series. During the school year, my librarian ordered a lot of vampire-themed books and I felt disappointed that there weren't many new unrelated books to read. I gave the first book a read and found myself giving up almost halfway. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to the tv show adaption.

    Thanks for the review! :)

  2. These haven't caught my interest. Some vampire-ish books are alright, but lately so many are in the spotlight too. Though I will probably watch the show.

  3. I've only read the first one, but have the others on the library book tbr. I was very disappointed with #1 and it looks like, from your review, things aren't going to get any better!

  4. As a fourteen-year-old I adored these. The re-read I did of book one this year I didn't enjoy as much as I thought I would. These were coming out the same time as the Sweet Valley High books and I think they served as the paranormal parallel to them. Sometimes you can't go back. (Or get on the wagon later in life!)

  5. Ooh, exactly the type of book I would hate! I would say it's a copy of Twilight but then it came before it. But it's still as bad. You should've might as well gave it a 1/5.

  6. Yes, vampire themed novels have somewhat replaced Sweet Valley for teens of today...

    I love vampires and the art that envelops their mysteries but one thing I observed with new vampire novels is the similarity in plot and sometimes the story itself.. Wish authors can create more quality vampire fictions that readers can enjoy ;)

  7. Intereting!

    A diary or a personal journal is your most intimate confidante. You can confidently share your secrets with it

    knowing that your personal diary will not talk to someone. So you should be very careful about your

    personal dairy. Leather is one of the most versatile materials that finds application in many areas. I would

    suggest to maintain a leather dairy instead of any normal dairy.

  8. Not too harsh at all. I've discovered that to really enjoy Smith's writing you need to have been around 12 in I was :)
    I was very disappointed in the publishing community when I saw that this series was being reprinted - they really do not stand the test of time.
    If you haven't already made the decision - I would recommend not continuing one with the series.

  9. Kim what you posted was interesting. I too bought a bunch of vampire books a year or so ago because they were flying off the not so much.

    I the trend over?

  10. I think the Vampire trend is slowly dying out, but that doesn't stop publishers from trying to capitalize off of it. I think we're seeing more general paranormal-ghosts, zombies, werewolves, demon hunters, etc. Some of the books are good, but I didn't think this series was one that really had mass appeal.

  11. I know this doesn't have to do anything with the post, but I thought I'd let you know about another Catching Fire giveaway I just found and entered:

  12. The vampire trend in my library is still going strong. And when my teens tell me all the good vampire books are checked out, they would still rather walk away with a mediorce/bad vampire book than a regular book.

  13. Hmmm...I thought I posted here but don't see my comments. I loved this series when it first came out. In fact I've always listed it as one of my favorite series. I reread them all right before the new book 5 came out and was so disappointed. I didn't really care for them now. So disappointing. I will say you can definitely see the difference in the writing in book 5.

  14. Oh my...I loved these when I was growing up and was excited for the re-release. How disappointed I was. BTW - Don't even bother wasting your time with Nightfall. I got 1/3 of the way through it and couldn't finish. I tried really hard though. I kept thinking, "Seriously?". I know these are fiction and paranormal at that, but I'm sure others will understand what I'm talking about.

  15. Interesting!

    A diary or a personal journal is your most intimate confidante. You can confidently share your secrets with it knowing that your personal diary will not talk to someone. So you should be very careful about your personal dairy. Leather is one of the most versatile materials that finds application in many areas. I would suggest to maintain a leather dairy instead of any normal dairy.

  16. I just read the first two books. I enjoyed them but I also enjoyed them with a pure entertainment approach. Yes, I was entertained. Were they great? No. Did my 12yod love them? Yes. Did Elena annoy me? Yes. I don't know...I liked them for the pure fluff that they are. Plus...I read them knowing the time that they were written. I am thinking that YA books were not written very well then. *shrug* Maybe I am wrong but I don't remember any YA books when I was a teenager in the 80's.

    Love your review! Much of what you say, I agree.

  17. Hey ibeeeg-

    I don't really remember much YA in the 80's/early 90's either and what was written was pretty bad. I guess I have high expectations when it comes to YA!:)
    But my teens are reading them and enjoying them. I think they're perfect for younger readers of Twilight who want more vampire romance without getting into some of the older vampire books that are out there.

  18. You are SO not being harsh! And this is coming from a 17 y.o.--I quite loathed the books too. Every single point you made in your review was EXACTLY what bugged me so much about this book.
    the writing was mediocre, the characterization and chemistry b/w characters pretty much non-existent...grr, im so annoyed i wasted my money on it.
    on the bright side, at least now i know all the things you should NOT do in your novel. i still get it's appeal for some kind of readers, though.
    (the show, btw, is AWESOME. i actually got the books, despite not being much of a vampire fiction fan, just to read the books and see how different they are from the show. probably should've stuck to the shows, yeah.)


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