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The Vampire Diaries #1-2: The Awakening and The Struggle

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Twilighters will like!

This was probably the right up there with the twilight books. It is incredibly suspenseful, and has the same endearing love as the twilight series. I didn't really understand the summary of the book, so here's one of my own that I think explains it better.

Elen...
This was probably the right up there with the twilight books. It is incredibly suspenseful, and has the same endearing love as the twilight series. I didn't really understand the summary of the book, so here's one of my own that I think explains it better.

Elena is the head of the school. She doesn't feel all that special, but other people seem to think so. She's always turning heads in the hallway. But when Stefan, the mysterious cool-car driving sunglass-wearing hottie comes to school, he doesn't even look her way. Elena swears he'll be hers.

Damon Salvatore is sexy and ruthless. He doesn't believe in the same practices of his brother, so he drinks human blood. Once he sees Elena, he's determined to make her his, whether she likes it or not. He's blown into fury seeing the love she has for Stefan, and he's determined to change that. He'd do anything to possess Elena.

posted by Brookeylynn on December 7, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

22 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

The Vampire Diaries

Smith, L.J. (1991). The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle. New York: HarperTeen.

9780061140976

Tell me if you've heard this plot? Teenage girl is strangely attracted to the smart, dangerous, supernaturally-powerful and rich outsider at her schoo...
Smith, L.J. (1991). The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle. New York: HarperTeen.

9780061140976

Tell me if you've heard this plot? Teenage girl is strangely attracted to the smart, dangerous, supernaturally-powerful and rich outsider at her school who initially resists his special attraction to her. The eventual and tentative relationship is challenged by another equally powerful and attractive male love interest, forming a love triangle that will drive the rest of the series. Who will she choose who will she chose? Oh yeah, and the writing about all of this conflict, it's mediocre. I wonder if Stephenie Meyer has read The Vampire Diaries. (It's possible the answer is no. other (adult) vampire books tend to have the same love triangle themes as well (See Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, Sookie Stackhouse of The Southern Vampire series, etc.)

Published over ten years before the Twilight series, Vampire Diaries has a lot of similarities. But where Bella was angsty and co-dependent, Elena is obsessive, manipulative and the self-described "queen of the school" somehow causing me to dislike her even more than Bella. I didn't find Elena relatable or redeemable until the end when she was actually contributing to fighting-the-good-fight (unlike other mortal female protagonists in other vampire series).
Still, Elena's repeated thoughts about possessing Stefan (vampire love interest #1) or dying annoyed me. Her tendency to develop plans to get him and spread false rumors didn't exactly impress me either. I could see some twelve or thirteen-year-old girls managing to see past all of this in their desire to become a popular high school student. Eventually, I was able to get over my dislike for her when the plot picked up and the dramazz started and Elena decided to make the effort to be less self-involved. But that was around page 150. Now I know part of the point of a novel is that a character changes. Learns. Becomes a better person. Whatever. But I gotta still be able to engage with the character pre-change. And I personally had trouble doing that with Elena. Of course, this could all just be me. Anyone read it? Got something to say? Did Elena float your boat?

The series starts with Elena, arriving home after spending the summer in France. She lives wither her aunt and young sister, since her parents are mysteriously dead. (Yet somehow the way this fact is presented somehow managed to prevent me from sympathizing with the character. Hard to believe, I know). When she returns to school she reclaims her title as "Queen," and becomes fascinated with the new boy, Stefan, who is also secretly attracted to her, in part because she looks almost exactly like a girl he and his older brother, Damon, had loved when they became vampires during The Renaissance in Italy. Throughout the book, the reader is positioned with Elena, reading from her diary. From time to time, though the reader also gets to see into Stefan's mind and see his past, including how he became a vampire. Readers will find that the end of the book does not resolve any of the conflict, but that they must continue on to The Struggle and then to The Fury and Dark Reunion.

The reason I chose to start reading this series is because the CW has chosen to turn it into a TV series.

For more of my reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com.

posted by SJKessel on March 29, 2009

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  • Posted March 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Vampire Diaries

    Smith, L.J. (1991). The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle. New York: HarperTeen.

    9780061140976

    Tell me if you've heard this plot? Teenage girl is strangely attracted to the smart, dangerous, supernaturally-powerful and rich outsider at her school who initially resists his special attraction to her. The eventual and tentative relationship is challenged by another equally powerful and attractive male love interest, forming a love triangle that will drive the rest of the series. Who will she choose who will she chose? Oh yeah, and the writing about all of this conflict, it's mediocre. I wonder if Stephenie Meyer has read The Vampire Diaries. (It's possible the answer is no. other (adult) vampire books tend to have the same love triangle themes as well (See Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, Sookie Stackhouse of The Southern Vampire series, etc.)

    Published over ten years before the Twilight series, Vampire Diaries has a lot of similarities. But where Bella was angsty and co-dependent, Elena is obsessive, manipulative and the self-described "queen of the school" somehow causing me to dislike her even more than Bella. I didn't find Elena relatable or redeemable until the end when she was actually contributing to fighting-the-good-fight (unlike other mortal female protagonists in other vampire series).
    Still, Elena's repeated thoughts about possessing Stefan (vampire love interest #1) or dying annoyed me. Her tendency to develop plans to get him and spread false rumors didn't exactly impress me either. I could see some twelve or thirteen-year-old girls managing to see past all of this in their desire to become a popular high school student. Eventually, I was able to get over my dislike for her when the plot picked up and the dramazz started and Elena decided to make the effort to be less self-involved. But that was around page 150. Now I know part of the point of a novel is that a character changes. Learns. Becomes a better person. Whatever. But I gotta still be able to engage with the character pre-change. And I personally had trouble doing that with Elena. Of course, this could all just be me. Anyone read it? Got something to say? Did Elena float your boat?

    The series starts with Elena, arriving home after spending the summer in France. She lives wither her aunt and young sister, since her parents are mysteriously dead. (Yet somehow the way this fact is presented somehow managed to prevent me from sympathizing with the character. Hard to believe, I know). When she returns to school she reclaims her title as "Queen," and becomes fascinated with the new boy, Stefan, who is also secretly attracted to her, in part because she looks almost exactly like a girl he and his older brother, Damon, had loved when they became vampires during The Renaissance in Italy. Throughout the book, the reader is positioned with Elena, reading from her diary. From time to time, though the reader also gets to see into Stefan's mind and see his past, including how he became a vampire. Readers will find that the end of the book does not resolve any of the conflict, but that they must continue on to The Struggle and then to The Fury and Dark Reunion.

    The reason I chose to start reading this series is because the CW has chosen to turn it into a TV series.

    For more of my reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com.

    22 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 7, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Twilighters will like!

    This was probably the right up there with the twilight books. It is incredibly suspenseful, and has the same endearing love as the twilight series. I didn't really understand the summary of the book, so here's one of my own that I think explains it better.<BR/><BR/>Elena is the head of the school. She doesn't feel all that special, but other people seem to think so. She's always turning heads in the hallway. But when Stefan, the mysterious cool-car driving sunglass-wearing hottie comes to school, he doesn't even look her way. Elena swears he'll be hers. <BR/><BR/>Damon Salvatore is sexy and ruthless. He doesn't believe in the same practices of his brother, so he drinks human blood. Once he sees Elena, he's determined to make her his, whether she likes it or not. He's blown into fury seeing the love she has for Stefan, and he's determined to change that. He'd do anything to possess Elena.

    18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book/series!

    This was a great beginning to a great series. It got me hooked on instantly! If you are a Twilight fan or love books aboout vampires then you will love this! It is absolutely amazing and I recommend this series to everyone! Trust me you won't regret reading this book.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Different approach to vampires

    I really enjoyed this book and am in the process of reading the series. I have passed it along to my mother. I loved the Twilight Series and love everything vampires. I liked this approach to the vampire. I find vampires intriguing and this book really brought the mysterious back to the vampire. Try it!

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2009

    excellent!

    wow i read this book in just a few days! i couldnt put the book down i love the charachters and the edgyness! i reccomend it to anyone

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    i LOVE this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i have read the first two book witch is really the first four storys, but anyway, i LOVE this book and this series!!! it is great and i read both in less then four days!!! i think anyone would like it, expecially if you like vampire books!!! i am really excited to read the next books/storys in this amazing series!!!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Vampire Diaries Rocks!

    Don't expect the TV show to be exactly like the books. The characters and events are somewhat different. In the TV show, the timeline is different and the character of Elena is more intriguing. Elena comes across as less selfish in the TV show. The show is set in Mystic Falls instead of Fells Church in the book. The differences are what make me want to keep watching!

    The Awakening introduces the characters Elena, Stefan and Damon. Elena is dealing with life after the death of her parents. Stefan and Elena connect at school. Elena is the mirror image of Stefan's former love, Katherine - from another century. Then we meet the "bad" brother Damon and things get exciting.

    I won't gain any fans by saying this, but I prefer the character of Stefan over Edward in the Twilight series. Stefan is more realistic and you get to see his point of view presented in the book.

    I'm hooked.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Wors Series i have read...Spoiler Alert

    ok so i thought that this series was interesting. the cover was great and the description not to bad, but i have to say this book is not recomended by me. i have just a few words to describe this book, medeocre, predictable, and uninteresting. There is no jaw droping action and the writting and style is horrible. not very original at all. I also can't stand elena. I hated the self proclaimed prom queen of the school. and the story line is not consistent at all.

    5 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not worth reading!!!

    I decided to read this series because I liked the show on TV. The book is terrible. Poorly written.. I could not even follow the story line. I stopped reading it because it was so bad.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Start for Vampire Books like they should be.

    The Vampire Diaries is by far one of the Best Vampire Books I have read. Its Thrilling, Romantic, and leaves you wanting more. Yes, Twilight is okay (not really just being nice here) but this is waaaaaaay better than that. If you havn't readt it so far, pick it up cause once you read it you just cannot stop.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Better Than Twilight

    I read this because people had commented that Twilight had a very similar feel and this came out first. I wanted to know for myself how closely this matched with the Twilight series. Honestly I'm surprised this author didn't knock the pants off of Myers. Seriously .... Stephanie must have been reading this right before she wrote Twilight and took WAY too much of it from this story (including whole scenes).
    This novel has a "diary" feel to parts of it, but mostly it is the story from the perspective of a high school girl who is struggling with her own identity. She is a popular girl who has great friends and a nice boyfriend - but when a stranger moves to town all of that changes. She becomes obsessed with getting Stephan to love her. Of course he is the vampire and she looks very much like the vampire that changed him. This is a long story with enough unwrapping to keep you interested and not as childish as Twilight. I preferred the characters and story of Vampire Diaries, to Twilight's prudish approach.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A really good read, and shouldn't be compared to twilight.

    I like vampires, and have found them interesting before this vampire boom. Often, I find many people compare twilight to every vampire book...which is just plain silly. I watch the Vampire Diaries TV show and LOVE it! Only later, did I find out that it was a book series. After that, I knew I had to read it. The TV show differs from the book A LOT, which is ok with me...any person who reads knows the book is always better. So with that in mind I read this book knowing it would be different. The book is if truth be told is good, I liked the story and the characters in it. I found myself liking how Elena wasn't written as a selfless perfect girl-next-door. In this book she is full of herself and vein, which makes her very realistic. Other characters in the book are also written along those lines of realism. It is very refreshing, and brings a different tone to the book. With that said, I was greatly impressed of the betrayal of the vampires in this book, without giving anything away, they certainly did not sparkle. The ending was shocking to say the least, and I can't wait to read the next one. The writing was excellent, and the words flowed very well. This book is exciting, captivating, and is a truly good read. I will most likely read it again, and will recommend it often. Anyone who enjoys this genre I think should read it, you will enjoy it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    cover was more intriguing than the storyline

    i thought it was amateur-ish, but i guess if it is rated for 'teen' reading, might appeal more to that age group. definitely does not compare to the Twilight series...i found it kind of 'high school' and boring..

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    Wonderful!

    The Awakening
    The Vampire Diaries' first installment introduces the main characters and the main plot. Elena is the queen bee of the school - she can have any boy and do pretty much anything she wants. However, she is not the same Elena she used to be since her parents have died. While Elena struggles with this her best friends are there to support her. Then Stefan arrives in Mystic Falls... While Elena is with Matt she cannot help but be "attracted" to Stefan and puts her energy into getting him.

    Elena's character is at first very annoying. She is stuck up, a snob, and overall self-concerned. However, this is done on purpose... or so I believe. Within the first installment you start to see Elena as caring and understanding - there is more to her than her "social" appearance.

    Elena finds out that Stefan is a Vampire while people are attacked in her town. Then comes the love triangle with Damon's arrival. The brothers are completely opposite of eachother.... Stefan is mysterious in a brooding way. He clearly harbors guilt and sadness about his past but just wants to start a new life. Damon is evil. Simple as that. He has no thought for others and is only out for himself. What does Damon want....? He wants Elena all for himself, he want her to be his Dark Queen.


    The Struggle
    The Struggle picks up right where The Awakening leaves off. The love triangle only thickens in the second installment of the Vampire Diaries. Elena loves Stefan. However, there are clearly "moments" between her and Damon... Meanwhile the search for the person responsible for the attacks in town is still underway. At first everyone believes that it is Damon's doing - why not? He's evil and dangerous... However, they soon learn it is someone from Stefan's and Damon's past - someone that is more evil and dangerous than Damon. Someone who threatens Elena herself.... (I know we all know who it is but just in case I won't say).

    The first volume of the Vampire Diaries series is a very fast read. The writing style is simple and engaging, following a very tight and concise plot and timeline. While Elena's and Stefan's relationship started a little bit too quickly for me, their relationship becomes more rounded throughout the books. Overall, I really enjoyed the first volume!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Not like the show!

    Well, i read this book and it was awesome.I was reading this book so i can know what happens in the show.But, was i wrong the show and the book are totally different.I didn't just read this book but the whole first trilogy.It was okay. I don't know if I would read the new trilogy they have out.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Book

    I enjoyed the tv series, and purchased all the books in order to read the original story. I wasn't disappointed! I highly reccommend this series whether or not you are a fan of the tv series!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Disappointing

    I bought this book bc I have heard such good things about it but regretted it. I kept reading it bc the plot seemed to promise good things but never delivered. It seemed that Ms Smith was making up the rules to this world as she went along. Anytime a character would be in trouble all of a sudden a new "rule" was introduced that saved them. There were also some obvious holes in the plot.
    I didn't really care for the characters either. I abhored how Elena always addressed Stefan with "Oh Stefan..." It seemed to lack imagination. I pitied how Matt was used throughout. Bonnie was likeable but seemed like she was 12 not a senior in high school. Stefan seemed weak and pitiful at times. Damon was the one redeeming character in this book. Perhaps if I were in middle school I would have enjoyed this book more. Anyone at a high school age or older...don't bother.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    it was alright

    Truly, after reading the Twilight series where it is so well written, and captivating this book just wasn't up to par so to speak. The story line it self is pretty good, whereas someone can relate to the high school experience as being full of drama, with that one girl who has everything and can get anything she wants and the jealous girl who will do anything to try and ruin the others rep. Yep, we've all been there, seen that. But, throw a couple of vampire brothers into the mix who are fighting once again for the same girl and we've got a whole new story. The fact of the two brothers history and sheer hatred for each other was probably the most interesting aspect. Because it seems as if they cannot get away from each other after all the centuries of living in "darkness" no matter where they wind up. I have to say though I am going to read the next book in the series to see what happens. The ending itself was too abrupt and I am curious about Elena who seems to have "woken" up and thinks she is in love with the wrong brother.....I guess I'll have to find out.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    AMAZING!!!!!

    This book was just fantastic! Couldn't put it down. I read it in one sitting. Completely riveting I give it 2 thumbs up! And I recommened it to all my friends and they loved it too!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 22, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    AMAZING!!

    Ever since twilight I have been looking for a good vampire book. I tried "Blue Bloods" but it as boring and had a complex hard-to-follow plot. Then i tried "Marked: A house of Night Novel" and it was Good but not great and i didnt read it in one sitting. Then I stumbled upon "The Vampire Diaries" which I didn't think would be very good because of the title (i though it was going to be a bunch of vampires writing in their diaries) But boy was I wrong! This is an amazing book and everyone should read it. The author really allows you to connect with the characters.<BR/><BR/>There is however something that I maybe should mention- Its almost like a twilight-wannabe. Let me explain why: vampire falls in love with girl but realizes that he shouldnt be so he starts ignoring her, girl is really intrigued with the handsome pale <BR/>"guy" who is ignoring her and giving her dirty looks, girl and vampire fall in love, girl is going to die but vampire saves her, girl is turned into a vampire to save her from death. That is pretty much the only teeny tiny small thing that annoys me with this book- the fact that the plot is somewhat similar.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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