I was a little uncertain upon picking up Nightfall, the first book in L.J. Smith's continuation of her wildly popular Vampire Diaries series aptly called The Vampire Diaries: The Return. I had enjoyed the first three volumes of the original series, but book four left me completely cold and, in my opinion, jumped the shark in tremendous fashion.
However, I'm a sucker for a bad boy in black, and had heard that this new series cast its focus on Damon Salvatore rather than his too-good-to-be-interesting brother Stefan. So, I gave it a try.
In the interest of full disclosure, I thought the first quarter of the book was just horrible. I almost put it down. But then the book took a pleasantly surprising turn. The result is a book that is probably better than all of the previous Vampire Diaries novels that came before it, and much scarier than anything else I've read by Smith.
Nightfall picks up about one week after the conclusion of Vampire Diaries book 4. Elena is a spirit newly returned to Earth after sacrificing herself to save Damon and Stefan. She's not a vampire, and not a human, either. What she is is a being charged with white magic, childlike, innocent and full of blood irresistably intoxicating and powerful to any vampire. Stefan and Elena have been reunited, and plan to make a new life together away from Fell's Church.
However, the rest of the Scooby gang is back, too, and the book quickly reverts back to the structure established in the fourth novel. Like that book, the action and plot drama in Nightfall reminded me quite a bit of an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- the "gang" all working together to solve a mystery threatening the town, with the help of a witch, a couple of vampires and a heroine recently back from the dead.
I will say, though, I thought Smith's "big bad" in this novel was unique and interesting, and Nightfall is full of some genuinely scary imagery and ideas. I loved the evolution of Damon throughout the novel, too. As a character, his journey of falling in love with Elena is so much more believable and genuine than the relationship between Stefan and Elena. Elena is a more interesting character, too -- she's come a long way from the self-centered and stuck-up girl we met in the first book. Smith also tries to further develop Bonnie, Elena's Celtic witch friend, but she continues to annoy me. She's one of those scream-and-faint girls that continue to pop up in horror novels. I keep waiting for her to have a defining moment that makes me like her -- maybe in the next book, Shadow Souls.
Overall, if you enjoyed Vampire Diaries, you should take a chance on this new series. It's a meaty 600+ pages, but is NOT an omnibus edition of several shorter books, just one long text. The book does leave readers with something of a cliffhanger ending, however, which I'm looking forward to sorting out when Shadow Souls comes out next month.
GAK! Vomit! Yak!......Harper needs to fire the editor who handled this mess. After reading the first two in this series I was really looking forward to what was in store for these characters.
Elena Gilbert, now an angel earth bound in human form, must rise against 2 supernatural (or is it 3, I wasn't sure even after re-reading sections several times) forces terrorizing Fells Church for the sake of their own entertainment.
There is way too much bouncing back and forth in this book. I felt like i was reading an uncorrected ARC. This book could have easily been cut down to 350 pages and turned out to be a nice read. Instead I felt trapped like the characters in the Old Wood suffocating, wrapped in diabolical evil grammar.
586 pages later, a major disappointment.
As a huge fan of the vampire diary books since I was 15 I was more than happy to get my hands on the newest books. It started out just like the others. A problem arouse and they had to go snooping to fix it. Even the newest enemies were intriguing. But it was the ending that I did not like. She became too powerful and the powers she possessed were more than just cheesy. I am interested to see what happens to Caroline but alas I find Caroline in the TV series to be more interesting. I was completely let down by the ending. But it was great up until then.