Sunday, July 31, 2011

Review: The Awakening by L.J. Smith (Rant included)

Title: The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries #1)
Author: L.J. Smith
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 320
Rating: 3/5 Stars

I liked this book, but it's a warm-up for the real story that is coming in the rest of the series.

Stefan was too weak for my taste. In this mythology vampires can drink from their victims without draining them. Stefan refuses to drink human blood and abhors himself for even craving it. I don't understand that. Yes, he's kind of a parasite, but he doesn't have to kill anybody to get what he needs (unlike in the Twilight series where the vamps drain their victims. That I understand) so why does he hate himself so much? Silly.

I wasn't sure how I would like Elena given how she seemed to have no redeeming qualities in the beginning, but she actually does have depth and while she's got a very high opinion of herself, she doesn't go around deliberately hurting people. She's not a Mean Girl, she's just knows who she is.

Damon wasn't in it enough to really form an opinion, but I'm inclined to like the bad boys.

Katherine was ridiculous. Apparently, it wasn't just the aging process that was stunted when she became a vamp, her emotional maturity ceased to develop as well. I do not think she's worth all this strife between the brothers at all.

Bonnie and Meredith are good friends to Elena and bravo to them for calling her on her secrecy regarding Stefan.

I don't have much to say about the story. Like I said, it's a warm-up for the real drama. I will be reading the next book.

7/11 Update: I read this...February 2010 and at the time I did intend on reading the whole series. In light of the fact that L.J. Smith was fired by HarperCollins last winter/spring because her vision wasn't what they wanted, I will not be reading any of the other books.

Let's get this out of the way first, L.J. Smith will not be winning any awards for her prose. She's not that talented a writer. As my friend at The Irish Banana Review put it: the demands of her audience matured, her writing style did not. So, my boycotting of the books has nothing to do with L.J. Smith's talent.

What pisses me off is why she was fired. Yes, she was hired to write a series for HarperCollins and technically they own it, but I think it's bullshit that they can interfere in her artistic vision. She made The Vampire Diaries a marketable entity and put it in a position of being popular enough to be brought to the silver screen, thus bringing in even more money making opportunities for HarperCollins. Now, after all that, they want to dictate to her what she can do with the characters she created? Good for her for saying no. Bad on them for firing her over it.

I have no interest in reading something I know was mandated by a publishing company. Whether it happens elsewhere is irrelevant. This is a case of ignorance being bliss. When I read a book I want to live under the assumption that the plot has been created by an author, not dictated by some suits in an office who don't give a crap about words, plot or character and only about numbers on a page.

Of course, there's also the little fact that the publishers demanded the triangle between Damon/Elena/Stefan go the opposite direction of what I want. I won't deny that, but even if that weren't the case I'd have a hard time enjoying the plot knowing that it wasn't the original author's intention. It would seem a hollow victory.

So...farewell Vampire Diaries books. I'll stick to the tv show.

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