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Review: The Awakening by L.J. Smith

T h e  A w a k e n i n g by L.J. Smith

A deadly love triangle

Elena: beautiful and popular, the girl who can have any guy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, desperately trying to resist his desire for Elena . . . for her own good.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him.

Elena finds herself drawn to both brothers . . . who will she choose?

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Next: The Struggle

Since Vampire Diaries is giving tonight I thought it appropriate to post up my review for the first book in L.J. Smith's Vampires Diaries series. Yes, the books came before the show. And when people said that the show is immensely different from the book series, they weren't kidding. Nearly everything is different apart from the characters' names. But, looks, appearances, locations... that stuff all got changed in the TV-remake. I must say that I find the TV show much more appealing, though.  And it's not just because Ian Somerhalder is playing Damon Salvatore, I swear.

Maybe it's because there was that tedious instantaneous love between the two main characters. It was almost reminiscent of Twilight in that sense, yet completely different. And what's particularly funny about that is Vampire Diaries came out long before Stephanie Meyer gave a thought to Twilight. Normally, I love that kind of soulmate-love-attraction stuff that happens with Smith's characters (i.e. Nightworld, Secret Circle, etc.) But, this time around it didn't send me headlong in love with book. Rather I got a little irritated...

Or perhaps its because the original Elena Gilbert isn't sweet and selfless like her TV portrayal. She's actually the opposite. Which, at first, was pretty nice, because I've never read about a heroine who's selfish, self-serving, and spoiled before. However, the attraction quickly faded to be replaced by mild flickers of anger. Elena, basically, takes her friends and family for granted, and simultaneously uses them for her own ends. Elena snaps her pretty little fingers and these people in her life jump up for the chance to serve. It got to be pretty annoying. The whole time I was expecting someone to tell her to Piss Off. But no such luck.

And because she's a character with a pretty rotten personality, I didn't feel like she deserved to be with Stefan (aka Mr. Tallldarkandbrooding). Like, why should she win the guy when all she's successfully done throughout the book is annoy the crap out of me? Eventually, though, I warmed up to the romance. Instant-love and Elena's obsession with Stefan aside, I could immediately see that Stefan would change Elena for the better and vice versa. Which is great! as I find that that's a crucial aspect of being in love, you know bringing out the best in each other and all that. The romance came to be really sweet; I like that L.J. Smith makes her characters decidedly soulmates.

As for the other characters, like Meredith and Bonnie, I wasn't too thrilled with the characterization. These two are supposedly her best friends so why did I find myself wondering why they seemed so two dimensional? Quick comparison to the show, Bonnie really grows on you throughout the entirety of it. You feel for her when she looses her grandmother in the beginning, you're just as caught in wonderment as she is when she discovers the extent of her powers, and so on. Book Bonnie didn't shine nearly as much. While it became more and more obvious that her powers were starting to kick in, it wasn't as exciting. And get this - there's no super-hot-younger-brother-Jeremy in the books. I found myself paging through to see if there was a similar character, but nada. (I have a huge thing for Jeremy Gilbert.) *cries* But, despite how unimpressed I was with the best friends, I really fell for the book version of Damon Salvatore. Maybe I'll always have a thing for the guy, no matter how much his personality his altered. In the book, Damon is darker, more mysterious, and his powers making him infinitely more cool than Stefan. And unlike Stefan, he isn't a brooder. He may be tortured, but at least he doesn't come off as bland and sickeningly sensitive. Even TV Stefan isn't as bad.

While the plot was kind of predictable and not as crazy as I'd've liked, I can honestly say that I did enjoy the story. I'll always like anything of L.J. Smith's, undoubtedly. Still, I'm much crazier about the TV show, which was to be expected. Though that doesn't mean I won't be continuing on to the second half of the volume, THE STRUGGLE. I'm curious to see what's going to happen next.

She could not stop herself from laying a hand on his arm. "Stefan, I know how it can hurt--"
"You can't know," he exploded, all his quietness erupting into white rage. He looked down at her hand as if just realizing it was there, as if infuriated at her effrontery in touching him. His green eyes were dilated and dark as he shook her hand off, flinging a hand up to bar her from touching him again--
--somehow, instead, he was holding her hand, his fingers tightly interlocked with hers, hanging on for dear life. He looked down at their locked hands in bewilderment. Then, slowly, his gaze moved from their clasping fingers to her face. (121)


Small Review said...

I read this series so long ago that I don't really remember any details. I do remember thinking Stefan was way too wimpy and that Damon was awesome. I love the TV series more than I remember liking the books. I'm a die hard fan of Night World and The Secret Circle, but VD the books were ok. Good, but not amazing.

A. Knight said...

Yeah, I was surprised. Like you, I'm a HUGE fan of Night World and Secret Circle, so I totally expected to like the Vampire Diaries. Especially since I lOOVE the show. So not the case, not to say that it was bad or anything. I just didn't enjoy it as much. You have it right: 'Good, but not amazing.'