First off, spoilers ahead... if you haven't read the books I don't know if you'd want to read the review. But in the meantime let's go backwards in time to the previous reviews for the series.
Okay so check those out and then let's proceed with the newest books review!
I was excited for this release, I won't lie. I enjoy The Vampire Diaries and find them to be a happy way to pass time filled with characters I enjoy and a plot line that's entertaining and leaves me feeling content when it's done. The moment it came out I snagged it and began to read. It took awhile though. Six hundred pages (okay, okay... the book is only 599 pages long) and lots of stuff to do makes little time to get the book done.
The story focused mainly on the perspectives of Elena and Damon. Every once in a blue moon it would switch to Matt or Bonnie but otherwise Elena and Damon were the dominating characters. This book centered a lot more on the romance between Elena and Damon and I was disappointed that Bonnie wasn't set up more with Damon. I really was hoping something would occur between the two of them and I'm still hoping for such.
Elena is more like the person she used to be. The previous book to this it just wasn't her- but now her strong will has returned. A lot of people compare this series to Twilight and I've said it before- this series began long before Twilight did. Also, there is one huge difference. Elena is brave. She is a character girls could look up to. She's determined, brave, sometimes stubborn, and caring. Bella is a weak pathetic character in comparison. So bravo LJ Smith, I'm glad you've made Elena the character we know and love once more.
LJ Smith definitely took a large branch off of the series with her last book and I wasn't so sure how this book would turn out. It's still different, it's still on a different path, but a lot of the old charm is back. I did, however, miss the presence of Stefan. I love Stefan and I generally like Damon's quirky sarcasm and both were missing.
The other world which our group of characters go into with the idea of saving Stefan was certainly interesting and I wish that there was more detail on the history of the land and the different levels of it but Smith kind of failed in that department. Maybe there will be more in the next book?
I was also insanely curious about the new character Sage. Is he new? Or did I somehow miss him before? None the less the character is interesting and I can't wait to hear more about him. He's aloof and mysterious like I want my vampires to be.
A few issues I did find with the book:
The small portion that Caroline came in but then nothing developed with her.
The lack of Stefan.
The abrupt switches between what characters were present and who wasn't.
How quickly and seemingly easy it was to free Stefan.
Some portions of the novel went on and on with no real point. It was unnecessary and truly a distraction.
There were many moments where I feel not only Elena, but LJ Smith, forgot that Elena had a mission to safe Stefan.
I do appreciate that the end of the book threw an assortment of questions in the direction of not only the main characters but the reader as well. And the utter surprise (and disappointment) of the gift that had been given to Stefan (and taken by Damon) was a true twist to my stomach.
The book is a step in the right direction compared to the last one and I'm curious of what else could happen. But that will all have to wait... at least until the next book comes out!