Review: The Awakening by L.J. Smith

4 Jul

Series: Vampire Diaries, book #1

Published: June 26th 2007 by HarperTeen

Details: Paperback, 200 pages

My Rating: 2/5

My Summary:

About popular girl Elena who falls in love with vampire Stefan. Problem is, Stefan’s evil vampire brother has decided he wants Elena as well. This underdeveloped story, with contrived dialogues and shallow characters is clearly aimed for young teens only. I could barely get through the book.

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My Full Review:

I recently decided to give the Vampire Diaries a go, which is why I’m now sitting with The Awakening in my hand. With doubts creeping in: What the heck was I thinking?

Anyone who has been following blogs and reviews knows that this series hasn’t exactly received what you’d call high praise. Why then torture myself through another crappy novel? As if Evernight wasn’t enough suffering for one month.

But I suppose it’s for the same reason as when I want to see a supposedly crappy but very much talked about movie. I get this strange urge to see it just so that I can form my own opinion. (I remember watching The Da Vinci Code for this very reason.)

And let’s face it. Vampire diaries is a talked about series, most likely due to its resemblance to Twilight (note that it was published before Meyer’s work)  and to the succesful tv series which is airing at the moment.

Enough said, with these whopping high expectations, I’ve plunged into the world of Elena, Stefan and Damon (of course picturing them all as the actors in the tv series – hard not to!).

We enter the story as the beautiful and popular girl Elena returns to school after a summer in France to discover that a new student has enrolled. And not just any student but an outwordly-looking handsome young boy who seems to have no interest whatsoever in Elena.

Frustrating to say the least. Well, at least for Elena who is used to get anything she wants, especially when it comes to boys.

After a couple of weeks of “suffering” the ignorance of Stefan, as the boy is called, she is molested by another boy at a cemetery. Who comes to her rescue? Yes, you guessed it right. Stefan.

Despite a few eye-rolling moments here and there, I was sort of enjoying it though, as I found myself turning pages hoping to see some chemistry when Elena and Stefan finally got to know each other.

Well, turns out I should not have been bothered.

On that first night, when Stefan rescues her from the cemetery, they kiss. After that, Elena’s first words to Stefan (and I repeat first words), are I love you.

I mean, come on!

It’s explained that Elena and Stefan need no words to communicate to each other, because they just feel what the other one feels. Really? They have barely exchanged greeting phrases and they already know each other that well?

To me, that just signals a lazy author who can’t care enough to create some dialogues between our main characters.

When they eventually do talk (a couple of pages later), it’s generally something dramatic such as I love you, I’ll protect you, I’ll always be there for you, or something along the same lines. What happened to normal conversations?

Bah!

Once I established that this contrived soap-opera relationship was to be the main theme of the book, it was hard not to just drop it on the spot. But there are only 200 pages of the book, and I figured that if I’d got this far, I might as well continue.

At least there was Damon, who seems infinitely much more interesting than Stefan could ever be. Stefan and Damon are brothers and are mortal enemies ever since something happened way back then when they grew up. Damon is supposedly evil, but I have a feeling he may experience some development, which means he could become an interesting figure. That’s about the only good thing I can say about this series.

Elena on the other hand was a self-centered brat. Her friends were only there to support her, without any motivations or feelings of their own. There’s that one-dimensional evil bitch at school who is out to destroy Elena. Yawn. Nothing out of the ordinary.

In short, it all felt very underdeveloped. As if the story could have come to life, had more thought and investment been put into the characters. As it was now, I could not connect to anyone, and I certainly couldn’t connect to the romance of Elena and Stefan.

So yep folks, this was just about as bad as I thought. Despite its similarities to Twilight, it’s nowhere near the same league.

Do yourself a favor and skip this one.

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5 Responses to “Review: The Awakening by L.J. Smith”

  1. jenika July 16, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    I read this book a little bit after reading Twilight and I thought it was very bad. Shallow characters, story not interesting and of course I have no intention to continue to read the series and I have no intention to follow the tv series either.
    I remember on that time I tried to read also another vampire-teenage series, “Vampire kisses” and that book was even worse. I had read many good review about it and the plot looked interesting… but once I read it I realized the author was speaking only about dresses and discrimination about dresses… it was a very bad reading. To both books I would give a 1/5.
    😦

    • tess July 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

      Yeah I completely agree. Shallow characters and terrible plot! I’ve read good reviews of Vampire Kisses as well, but won’t make the same mistake twice. Good to know that my gut feeling was right, that Vampire kisses is as bad as Vampire diaries! Speaking only of dresses, that sounds just about as shallow as it can get 🙂

  2. Chris August 11, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Just to say that the TV series “Vampire Diaries” is great, I totally love it, nothing to do with the books, really… If you like watching series, you have to forgot about this books and try it 😉 😀 😀
    Chris

    • tess August 11, 2011 at 9:27 am #

      Hi Chris,
      Yeah I’ve heard the series is so much better than the books, plus there is Damon, who is a hottie in the series 🙂 I’ve only seen one or two episodes, but I should give it a try for real! Thanks, Tess

  3. Chris August 11, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Yeah Damon 😉 😉 But there is more more than him… It’s really a good series, let us know if you try it for real 😀

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