The Awakening by L.J. Smith
Released: March 1st 1999
Series: The Vampire Diaries #1
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
A Love Triangle of Unspeakable Horror…
Elena Searching for the ultimate thrill, she vowed to have Stefan.
Stefan Haunted by his tragic past, he struggled to resist her passion.
Driven by revenge, he hunted the brother who betrayed him.
I have seen a few episodes of the TV show, and thought I would get my hands on the book series (as the books are usually supposed to be better than their adaptations right?) Wrong! This book has nothing to do with the TV show, other than the fact that the characters share the same names. The TV series actually does a better job of making the characters likable with better story-lines.
The one thing that really annoyed me about this book was Elena’s character. It’s hard rooting for her when she comes off as this really arrogant girl who must have anything and anyone, and always needs to be the center of attention. She dumps Matt when she is not interested in him, and then asks him to help her get Stefan, showing complete disregard to his feelings. Then, her friends Meredith and Bonnie make a blood pact with her in the cemetery to ensure that Stefan becomes hers (who does that?). When she is titled Homecoming queen (that she feels she was entitled to from the beginning), and sees Stefan with Caroline, she does a complete 360 and goes with a guy she doesn’t even like to make out with him at the cemetery! Finally, when Stefan eventually kisses her, she suddenly finds herself in love with him even though she doesn’t know anything about him and is just going gaga over his good looks. Why would anyone have any kind of empathy for this girl?
Stefan comes off as the typical blooding rich vampire who doesn’t talk that much, which is very cliché. Damon on the other hand is slightly better, but makes an appearance only towards the end. I found their flashbacks to be more interesting than the actual story-line, but even that fizzles out towards the climax. Bonnie is one character that really stood out for me because she seemed like this quirky psychic that spiced up the scenes, but sadly she is hardly mentioned in the book. You can imagine how annoying the main characters would be when you find the side characters far more interesting.
The writing is sub-par most of the time, as there is no consistency in the storytelling or the characterization. Most of the book revolves around Elena cribbing on her diary or with her friends on how Stefan keeps ignoring or pushing her away, and somewhat becomes exciting only towards the end during the Halloween party where Damon makes an appearance.
I’m still going to continue reading the series to find out what happens, but as a standalone review, this book was somewhat below average. I feel like if I had read this book back in the 90s when the vampire craze was not happening, then I would have liked it better. But having seen the TV show and read other novels in the same genre, this book is very boring.