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