Book review - The Awakening by L. J. Smith
This is a review by guest reviewer Stacey O'Neale. You can read her other reviews of novels and series in the genre of the Vampire Novel here: Reviews by Stacey O'Neale This series of books has spawned a series on th CW called "The Vampire Diaries".
The Awakening by L. J Smith
The first volume of the series introduces the reader to Elena Gilbert a popular and beautiful high school student in Fell's Church, Virginia. I found it difficult to root for Elena because she is extremely self absorbed. Her best friends Bonnie and Meredith spend much of the book following her instructions. Matt is her ex-boyfriend who is still in love with her. A former childhood friend, Caroline, is also introduced and revealed to be Elena's antagonist.
As their senior year at Robert E. Lee High School begins, Elena meets and becomes obsessed with the one boy who doesn’t seem to be interested in her, Stefan Salvatore. Elena spends most of the beginning chapters trying to come up with plans to get his attention. Most of them fail and she is hurt. As the book progresses Elena and Stefan do fall in love after she learns the reasons for his refusals. At the same time, strange attacks begin to happen in the town and Elena discovers that Stefan has a dark secret—he is a centuries-old vampire. Another charismatic stranger is later revealed to be Stefan's estranged elder brother, Damon Salvatore. Damon is my favorite because he is the vampire most of us know. He’s dark and scary which is needed to balance out this love story. Towards the middle of the book we learn that the brothers both fell in love with a young vampire named Katherine in Renaissance Italy. Fueled with rage at Katherine's refusal to choose one brother over the other and her subsequent suicide, Stefan and Damon kill each other in a sword fight. They are interred in the family crypt but soon awaken as vampires, at which point they part ways until they encounter each other once more at the beginning of the novel. The Awakening ends with Elena seeking out Damon, whom she believes to be the prime suspect in Stefan's disappearance after the townspeople, begin to suspect him for being behind numerous violent animal attacks and the recent murder of the high school's substitute history teacher.
I stuck with this book because I liked the story of the two brothers. I thought it was very original. I wished that Elena could have been different but I know that she does eventually evolve into a better character. I thought this novel was closer to what I think vampires would be like if they were real. This is a safe read for middle grade and young adults. There is very minimal sexual content. This book also spawned a series called Vampire Diaries on the CW network. I can tell you the book and television show are very different. I actually liked the changes the television show made to Elena. I like her better on the show.
About the Vampire Diaries Series:
The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening (Book 1)
The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle (Book 2)
The Vampire Diaries: The Fury and Dark Reunion Books 3 & 4)
The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall ( This is a first book in a new Vampire Diaries Trilogy)