Monday, April 11, 2011

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight

Let me tell you right now: I was infuriated for two days after finishing Midnight. When I had initially finished it I sat in my reading chair, staring at my Kindle, then quickly flipped to the very end of the book before continuing to stare in simple disbelief. I then proceeded to complain to a friend through text messages and stomp around my house. The next day I continued to complain to my coworkers and I’m complaining now. This review is filled with spoilers. Ridiculous spoilers that will make you upset or relieved, depending on what characters you like, and if you enjoy the show or the books I might stop reading this right now.

If you are curious and just can’t bear to ignore what I have to say, then please, read on.

Now I’ve fallen completely in love with The Vampire Diaries tv show and while the books are great entertainment, something I would label as a ‘beach read’ (as in you don’t have to pay full attention to get the plot and can put it down then pick it up again without forgetting where you were), they are just that- entertainment. Considering the series was first published in the early 1990’s LJ Smith’s writing style hasn’t really improved or matured over the past twenty years. Maybe that was intentional, seeing that the books are meant to be from the prospective of teenagers, however there is one very large issue I had with this book.

I told you there would be ridiculous spoilers in this post so let’s get straight to the point: Damon dies. Damon, my favorite character in the books aside from Meredith, dies. I had accidentally found spoilers before the book was released proclaiming this and I was hoping they were just lies… don’t kill my favorite character. I never react well to the death of characters I love. Well, sure enough, he dies. And I didn’t enjoy how he died. It was a quick and rushed action for him to be essentially killed but his actual death was long winded and, excuse the pun, but complete overkill. All of this beside the fact that I was going “NO. NO. NO.” in my room while I read of his death. So, ok, I learned to deal with his death and moved on reading the book and how our Team Vampire Diaries saved their town and everyone lived (except Damon) but I was in a bad mood after that.

Bonnie, hush, you’re too skittish and drive me up a wall. I think I would have a love/hate relationship with a person who acted remotely like her. Elena bothers me in the books, she’s too needy yet is ‘known’ for being headstrong. One minute she is making clear demands and the next she’s being handled like a child. Stefan is weak, so much weaker than the character in the show. He’s completely whipped by Elena, whatever she says goes and he doesn’t seem to question it… ever. I think that’s what I enjoyed about Damon, he would sometimes buckle under Elena’s commands but generally did his own thing.

But what made me so incensed was that after this huge plot, all of these dramatics that have sprawled out over the past few books, the essential ‘bad guys’ just kind of disappeared with little fight. As if Smith would rather concentrate on the slow moving relationships of the good guys and didn’t want to deal with the ‘bad’ guys anymore she just brushed them aside and made them go away as quickly as possible. And then… on then… the end. The last chapter which is basically just one page and alludes to Damon not being dead but suddenly being brought back to life… yet not knowing who he is.

I flipped. I was shaking my Kindle back and forth in my hand going, “YOU CAN’T JUST BRING HIM BACK TO LIFE THEN END THE SERIES. YOU CAN’T DO THAT. WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM? HE’S NOT EVEN ON EARTH. HE DOESN’T KNOW WHO HE IS. HOW IS HE SUPPOSED TO GET BACK? IF HE DOES WHAT HAPPENS TO ELENA AND STEFANS RELATIONSHIP? WHAT IS GOING ON? I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS.” Capslocks and all, I was very upset. Like I said, I don’t react very well to characters I like being killed off. You’d think I would be pleased he was brought back to life, which I am, I love my Damon, but you can’t bring him back to life in a page and a half then just have it end. No. It can’t work like that!

So. If you have been reading The Vampire Diaries please go read this book because it does wrap up the series and it is the last written by LJ Smith. Where the series is going to go after this, I don’t know. The information about it all is awfully confusing because it appears that Alloy Entertainment owns the rights for Vampire Diaries and not the author herself? I’m not sure. I can understand LJ Smith wanting to wrap things up if she will no longer be ‘allowed’ to write these books but I just wish she did it a little different and the ending wasn’t so blunt and left me with so many questions. Is her writing fantastic? No, I’ve read better fiction than this. However, I appreciate the concept, I enjoy some of the characters, and I can’t say anything too negative about Smith because these books have served as a form of entertainment for a few years now. If I hated them, I could have stopped reading the series, but I didn’t because I had an emotional tie to these characters. I wanted to know what happened to them and see where their lives went. To me, that makes the writing good enough. Pertaining to style and the rights and wrongs of writing a novel, well, that’s a whole other argument that I don’t feel like getting into right now.

If you’re interested in more news about LJ Smith being ‘fired’ from The Vampire Diaries please refer to this link. Don’t boycott the books or tv show though. I love the show, it’s always keeping me on the edge of my seat.

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