Sunday, November 25, 2012

Novel Review: The Fury and Dark Reunion (The Vampire Diaries, #3-4) by L. J. Smith

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Rating (Out of 5): ~2.5
Publisher: HarperCollins/Teen
Spoilers?: Very Minor/Yes for the previous book.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Elena: transformed, the golden girl has become what she once feared and desired.

Stefan: tormented by losing Elena, he's determined to end his feud with Damon once and for all--whatever the cost. But slowly he begins to realize that his brother is not his only enemy.

Damon: at last, he possesses Elena. But will his thirst for revenge against Stefan poison his triumph? Or can they come together to face one final battle?

Collected here in one edition are the third and fourth volumes of The Vampire Diaries, a riveting conclusion to the tale of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.

Available on Amazon.


I was expecting to dislike this book more than I did, so that’s good, I guess.
So, I’ve had this book on my shelf for years. I read the first two books years ago, before the TV series started, and really liked it (but, you know, I was in, like, middle school), and I specifically remembered the cliffhanger. I wanted to read this one, but for some reason never really got around to it. The last couple weeks, though, I caught up with the last season (as I was so behind), and got in the mood to read this.
As I said, I was not expecting to like this as much as I did. Not that I enjoyed it very much, but still.
Now, just to forewarn you, I will surely be comparing this book to the television series, no doubt. Because I love the TV show, and don’t love this so much.
At the end of the last book, Elena had been turned into a vampire, which is exactly where this one started. Elena, having been turned by Damon, has special feelings toward him, but still loves Stefan. And, in this book, it wasn’t much of a struggle to decide which one she would be with, and which one I wanted her with, even if I wasn’t really a huge fan of either.
Briefly what happened in this book: Elena has feelings for both boys and doesn’t know which one she wants, even while leaning toward Stefan. Damon and Stefan fight a lot. They find out some greater power is coming after them. They fight one big enemy in the first book, something huge and rather unexpected happens to Elena, and they fight another big enemy in the second book. There’s more focus on Bonnie in the second book, and she has a rather big attraction to all the boys. There’s some squabbling with their classmates and townspeople, who kind of know there are supernatural things but are ignoring them.
I was trying to be very vague there, because I don’t want to spoil the thing that happens to Elena, because it is rather big and surprising.
The writing was not very good. It’s not technically bad, as it can be pretty and it’s not droning or boring, but it just didn’t really keep me interested. I’m not really sure why, but it just didn’t make me want to read more. Also, there was practically no information given about what happened in the previous books. Now, if I had just finished the other books, I wouldn't have minded or really noticed. But I read the other two books several years ago, so I did not remember the little details, and the differences between the show and book. It didn't bother me too much, partly because I just didn't care enough, but it really would have helped.
Now: Elena. In the first couple books, I remember her being much more of a kind of, almost bitch. She was a bit selfish and forceful and superficial and spoiled. I didn’t really care for her too much. In this book, though, she wasn’t that bad. Still a little forceful, demanding, but not as bad as I thought she’d be. (In the TV show, she’s very selfless and nice and whatever, but overall a better person.) I kind of liked her as a vampire in this book, aside from her unhealthy feelings toward Damon at the beginning. And I really don’t understand how what happened to Elena, happened. She was just exposed to a little bit of sun, I didn’t think it should have been that bad, but whatever.
I really wasn’t expecting that to happen to Elena, nor was I expecting to see so much of Bonnie in the last book. I kind of liked Bonnie, though. She has a tiny fire inside her, is a bit timid and scared, but she’s nice and I didn’t mind her. (Very different from the Bonnie in the TV show, who can be a bit of an aggravating bitch sometimes.) Caroline is a bit of a whiny, superficial jerk on here, and is so much more awesome on the TV show.
I didn’t really care for all the romantic angst, though. First Elena is unsure about Stefan and Damon, which I knew was going to happen, and which actually wasn’t that bad. But then, in the last book, Bonnie is admiring and getting all fired up about all of the boys, and I just did not like that. It was just too much, and while not really forced, I just wanted her to choose one boy to fawn over, and I’m not even sure which guy I’d prefer.
Stefan is nicer and more calm in this, and I liked him more. Damon I remember as being much more of a jerk, maybe a douche, but to me it was obvious that he was only hiding all the good inside. I kind of liked him more than I was expecting, but the Damon on the TV show is still better. Now, Matt. In the TV show, I really quite love Matt. The actor is fantastic, and I just kind of love him. And he deserves so much more! I don’t like him with any of the options he has, and I don’t like that. In this, I still liked him, but not quite as much. He’s better in the TV show. As is Alaric, who has a much bigger part and personality in the show.
Now, the enemies: Tyler. In the TV show, he’s not really an enemy, but I’m not a huge fan of him there, and he’s just a big jerk here. There are also two big enemies here, and they both kind of just suck. Not as in badly made characters so much as that they’re just not as likable. They are both in the TV show, and they have so much more personality, and are done so well on there.
I was a bit surprised by how much of the books had been put into the show. I thought that it mainly only had the same basic plot, but there are a lot of smaller elements used in both. There are still a lot of differences, thought, like with how much more expanded everything is on the show than in the books. Also, a lot of the characters were changed, which I was surprised by. Elena’s aunt is a completely different person, Alaric, Tyler, Bonnie, and Caroline have different personalities, Bonnie and Tyler’s last names are different, Matt and Vickie aren’t related, there’s an extra best friend to Elena who’s not in the show. So many small differences that make such a huge change, that I was surprised.
So, really, my point is that: you should go watch the TV show. It’s better. (Well, that’s not actually the point, but…) And that, while this wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, I’m still done with the books. I do not have any plans to be picking up any of the spin-offs. I am very content with sticking to the show.

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