Saturday, December 27, 2014

87. "The Vampire Diaries: Awakening" by L. J. Smith

Smith, L. J. The Vampire Diaries: Awakening. New York: HarperCollins, 1999.

276 pages.

Reviewed by J. d’Artagnan Love

After reading Vampire Diaries: Awakening, I have a really hard time believing that Stephenie Meyer never read vampire fiction. Twilight parallels this book so very closely, it almost seem like she ripped off the story from L. J. Smith. That being said, in Vampire Diaries: Awakening, Stefan Salvatore is a new guy in town and, naturally, he’s a vampire. Elena, the female protagonist of the story is haunted by the recent death of her parents and infatuated with Stefan but Stefan is too troubled about being a monster to truly let Elena into his heart. By the cliff-hanger ending, a love triangle has formed. Sound familiar?

I found this book entertaining but a bit dated. It’s dated in the ways it illustrated teenage social structures. In the story there is one “queen” of the high school (Elena) and her “crowd” of cool people. Their values and interests are shallow and materialistic. The social structures are reminiscent of the films Clueless and Can’t Hardly Wait; they’re very 90s era and irrelevant to teenagers of today’s world. My biggest issue was how manipulative Elena was in trying to “have” Stefan. I’m pretty sure Mean Girls blew this kind of behavior out of the water (again, going back to how 90s clichĂ©d this book is). If she could drop the manipulation and give some concrete reasons for why she loves Stefan other than him being “so hot,” I might actually like her.

If we stripped away the 90s social structures, the story itself is pretty interesting. One of my favorite parts of reading vampire fiction is picking about the vampire mythology used in each series or book. These vampires don’t sparkle and in order to change from human to vampire, the Dracula method is used (vampire sucks human blood and then human drinks vampire blood). There are some other fun magical features to these vampires but I’ll leave that up to you to discover should you choose to read this book.

2 darts out of 5

This book is FOR people who: want a quick, meaningless read with some fun vampire characters.

This book is NOT FOR people who: want character depth or maturity.   

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