Paving the way for the teen vampire sensation

Vampire Diaries  by L J Smith

Anyone reading this book would be forgiven for thinking that it was rather derivative of a certain other one – Twilight that is. It even has an apple on the black cover … Amazingly, it was published over ten years before Stephanie Meyer had even started hers. Understandingly, the publishers have jumped on the bandwagon with a new edition. I didn’t discover it until I had already read Twilight though, so my thoughts about Smith’s book can’t help but but be influenced by the other.

The Vampire Diaries was originally written as a trilogy in 1991, and extended to 4 parts a year later. This edition contains parts 1 & 2. Smith is now adding another new trilogy to the series, and in between also created the ‘Night World‘ series of novels featuring many different supernatural races.

Smith’s heroine is beautiful and popular, and when a new boy Stefan comes to school, she just has to have him. Sure enough he’s a vampire with an evil older brother Damon. Back in the Renaissance they both loved the same woman, who became vampire and then when they forced her to choose between them, she took both, but Stefan still thinks she really loved him before she died. Elena reminds him of her – so they’re made for each other. Then nasty things start to happen in this little town – there’s a big black crow always around, then people get scared in the old ruined church, and an old guy is killed under bridge over the river. Then at the school’s Halloween Haunted House party, someone dies – all fingers point to Stefan, but we know that Damon lives and he wants what his brother wants …

Arguably, more happens than in Twilight, however I found the Vampire Diaries rather ordinary and humourless, somewhat full of stereotypes and also lacking the former’s subtlety. Also, for a book with the word ‘Diaries’ in the title, the few diary pages included were strangely uninvolving to me. I would describe the book(s) as competent, and fans of her Night World series will surely enjoy these vampires. (6/10)

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