The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening

The Awakening, the first book in The Vampire Diaries series, was first published in 1991 and is now being reprinted thanks to the Twilight-inspired vampire craze. I missed this series the first time around (probably too busy reading Christopher Pike) but since they are making the books into a TV show, I decided to read The Awakening. The story begins with Elena, the self-proclaimed queen of the school, starting her senior year in Fell’s Church, Virginia. On the first day of school Elena sets her sights on the gorgeous, mysterious new boy, Stefan, who has just arrived in town. Elena notices some odd things about Stefan, like that he always wears his sunglasses, he doesn’t eat lunch in the cafeteria, and, unlike every other boy in school, he’s not into Elena at all. What she doesn’t know (and the reader quickly finds out) is that Stefan is a vampire. He has come to Fell’s Church to try to live as normally as possible and escape his troubled past, and Elena is dredging up old memories. Many of these memories include his brother Damon, a dark and dangerous vampire. The story is told from Stefan and Elena’s different points of view, including Elena’s diary entries.

Even though The Awakening was published years before Twilight, it’s impossible not to notice the similarities. Incredibly handsome, broody, emo vampire with a fast car trying to blend into a small community – it’s a similar premise. But I think that after the first book the similarities aren’t as noticeable. The relationship between Stefan and Damon is what distinguishes The Vampire Diaries from other vampire fiction. Apparently vampires can take sibling rivalry to a whole new level. The two brothers were my favorite part of the book and I can’t wait to read further on in the series to see what happens. Elena, on the other hand, is portrayed as a stereotypical teenage girl; she’s shallow, self-absorbed, and boy-crazy. She’s not a very sympathetic character, but I got the impression that she’s going to grow as the series progresses.

Teenage fans of Twilight will probably really enjoy The Vampire Diaries. There are four books in the original series: The Awakening, The Struggle, The Fury, and Dark Reunion. Now that the series has made a comeback, Smith is writing new books under the title The Vampire Diaries: The Return. The TV show will be on the CW this fall and stars Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, and Nina Dobrev (you can find more information on Daemon’s TV).

Buy The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L. J. Smith on Amazon.

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