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  1. Awakening by L.J. Smith

    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    Elena is beautiful, popular, and used to being having any boy she wants, so when the mysterious and attractive new student not only fails to even spare a glance in her direction but humiliates her by publicly snubbing her, Elena is determined to win him over and claim him as her boyfriend.

    Then there is the creepy guy that keeps on popping up around Elena. Who is he and why can Elena barely stop herself from falling into his arms? Meanwhile something - or someone - is viciously attacking people in the cometary.

    The Awakening
    is the first installment in The Vampire Diaries. I probably would not have bothered with this book if I had not been able to read it for free over on the Harper Teen website. After finishing it I am glad that I did not have to spend any money on it. Not to say that it was terrible, it wasn't. It was okay, but only okay and I do not intend to bother with the sequels.

    Pet peeve alert! Contractions are one thing when it is part of a dialogue and in the nature of the character to speak as such, but contractions during a third person narration are annoying! That "she had" did not need to become "she'd". A minor thing maybe but, I confess, it bugged me.

    I can definitely appreciate the attempted use of Gothic themes and conventions in trying to make the story darker and more suspenseful but there really isn't anything in there that is going to give you much of a scare.

    As I was reading, I also had my suspicion deepened that Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight Series, is definitely not be all so truthful when claiming that she didn't read other vampire books before writing Twilight, but that is a rant for another review to be done sometime in the not so distant future. However, much of The Vampire Diaries current day success is probably because of that of Twilight. Indeed, the books even now have their own set of "Twilightish" covers.

    I have managed to catch a few episodes of the television show here and there. They have made considerable changes to translate it to the tv screen. There are some aspects about the original book that I prefer and some changes in the show that I think were for the better.

    In the book Elena is a queen bee high school student who knows exactly how beautiful and popular she is and is used to getting whatever she wants - especially when it comes to the opposite sex. In the television show they tone down her character quite a bit (but without losing too much of her forwardness) which makes her instantly more relateable to a tv audience who you need to be able to hook quickly. After all, how many of us ever get to be top of the social hierarchy at school? Not to say that tv Elena is not still popular, she is, but they also make the death of her parents a much more recent event giving her a reason to soften and of course to spend time writing angsty journal entries and hanging out in a graveyard.

    Stefan is... kind of annoying. Not terribly so but all the scenes that follow his perspective are "oh, no! I must not revisit bad memories but I cannot help myself! Now I am sad." The way Smith described Stefan being drawn into his own memories just came out sounding kind of silly.
    In the show, Stefan and Damon's histories motivations are quite different. Book Stefan tries to avoid Elena, startled by her resemblance to Katherine and not wanting to cause her harm. This provokes the Little Miss Popular Elena to pursue him with even more determination. At least in the book, after getting over his initial shock, Stefan realises that Elena does not look exactly like Katherine. When they do suddenly hook up they decide that they are in love. Straight away. Just like that. Yup. At least in the show they spend time developing their relationship.

    Also, another change in the transition from book to screen, I last saw the episode ending with Elena rocking up on Stefan's doorstep demanding to know what he is. For the purposes of drama and my preference of horror I have a feeling I am going to prefer the book version of the reveal. Well, up until the moment where book Elena decides that she is perfectly okay with it. Depending on tv Elena's reaction I may end up prefering the screen version.

    I think that with a bit more work and better fleshing out it could have turned out to be a good book but as it is it did not really grab me.

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