This book was... odd.
I'm torn between thinking it was the best of the series and thinking that its left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe it's because it was the most different of the four books. Maybe because this was a separate story all on it's own while the other three followed into one and then the other. At the very least this fourth book definitely had a lot more differences and new elements thrown in then the previous three.
SPOILERS TO FOLLOW READ IF YOU'RE WILLING.
First off, the majority of point of view in this is from Bonnie- Elena's best friend. Occasionally it changes to other characters but mainly it's Bonnie's perspective, Bonnie who writes journal entries, Bonnie who has the majority of control.
Really, this flaky, romantic, little girl has grown and matured and now she's taking charge and with the help of her psychic powers it's all a success.
We're back to there being something evil in the town. Something which is mutilating people and harming Elena's friends. Let's remember that Elena is dead so all we're left with are the mortal friends since the vampires Damon and Stefan have left the town of Fell's Church behind.
(First off, there is a town called Fall's Church in Virginia. I've been there many times and have family there. But Fells instead of Falls? Coincidence? I think not.)
Anyway back on track... there are vampires in this book, of course, but there is also the presence of other supernatural ideas. Werewolves suddenly come out of no where- not something which I had ever suspected until it happened. And Bonnie's powers become stronger and she begins to use them more often. Spells are cast, premonitions made, the list goes on.
Again, all of the characters develop. I give LJ Smith an A+ for this. I have never read a teenager vampire (or other) series where the characters have developed so much and in a way that didn't seem forced.
Of course Stefan and Damon come back into the picture and the most commendable 'growth' in a character just has to go to Damon. Despite all of his bad ways, all of the negative things he's done, the character surprises all with the simple statement of, "Get away from my brother." From that moment on I really enjoyed his character. He really proved himself to me (and the rest of the characters).
And Elena makes a few appearances as well. Oh yes, dead Elena is back and better then ever. I'm not entirely sure if I enjoyed this whole scenario. I mean, if I were to die and had the power from 'beyond the grave' to help my loved ones if they were in danger- I'd do it. So that I can understand. But the very ending of the book where she utterly returns to earth? I am not so sure about it. It's kind of a 'too good to be true' point of it all. I felt like saying to the author, either you kill her off or you keep her here, make up your mind.
This book had a happy ending and yet I still wanted more. I want to know, yet again, what happens next to all of the characters. There is a fifth book and a sixth coming out in the near future. And I think a seventh after that. (these three books I did not read, I believe, are slightly separate from the first four. To my understanding they are a trilogy on their own but still apart of The Vampire Diaries).
I eagerly await the tv show and will undoubtedly read the follow books of this series. They're perfect and fun, something to pass the time, and they definitely grab your attention!