Book Review of Nightfall (Vampire Diaries: The Return, Bk 1)

Nightfall (Vampire Diaries: The Return, Bk 1)
bethnorthwest avatar reviewed on

This book was awful. I first discovered The Vampire Diaries through the TV show, and subsequently read all four original novels. While they couldn't be described as great literature, I enjoyed all of them and never expected them to be more than stories about vampires and young love, which is where the author should have left the series.

The Return: Nightfall is a huge departure from the original books, which were written two decades earlier. The original stories were - for a depiction of the supernatural - believable and relatable. This one takes a deep dive into the realm of the bizarre and dishes out nonstop over-the-top circles of frequently nonsensical action. The new villains are Japanese fox demons called kitsune, which behave like impish children and create evil for fun. They've possessed several people in Fells Church using bug-like creatures, and they periodically command trees to come alive and pursue humans.

Not all the weirdness comes at the hands of the kitsune, however. Elena is back from the spirit world but initially without the capabilities of speech or normal movement. At one point they lead her around at night, shining with a bright inner light and attached to a string like a balloon - that's right, they describe her as floating around like a glowing balloon. It borders on ridiculous. And oh yeah, she has wings.

I almost stopped reading after the first 50 pages or so, but plugged away until the end. The star and I half I rate this book is merited by the development of the Damon-Elena relationship, which I'd like to see explored in far more depth. Damon remains a fantastic character, though much of his presence in this book is marred by the influence of the kitsune. Stefan is largely absent.

I've removed the second two books of The Return trilogy from my wish list. According to other disappointed readers, all three are stinkers. I'll still look forward to Stefan's Diaries, however, as a fan of the show. The writing for those was taken over by the show writers and they go back to the original story rather than snaking through this bizarre thicket of eye-rolling action.