When I fell in love with the Twilight Saga and started looking for similar books to read while waiting for Breaking Dawn, I found The Vampire Diaries. After researching the books and learning more about them, I couldn’t wait to read them. And when I did, my pre-Breaking Dawn hunger (and post hunter) was satisfied. After falling love with Elena, Stefan, Damon, and the others, I couldn’t have been happier to learn that L.J. Smith was revisiting the series. But that happiness is kind of dying.
First of all, I thought Nightfall was a mess. Not only did the characters feel foreign to me, but I also found the writing to be very, very confusing. I was hoping Shadow Souls would be better, but my hopes were not met. There were some aspects, however, that I liked.
Being a member of Team Damon (+Elena), I was glad that the story of Shadow Souls focuses on their relationship. Damon’s regard for Elena is sweet and sometimes misunderstood, but this installment helps illustrate how much he really does care for her. Like Elena, Damon’s character has grown a lot throughout the series and his growth is one of the only constant aspects.
The good thing is Elena continues to be a strong, smart, yet vulnerable female lead. Her feelings for Damon are strong and passionate, whether she wants to admit it or not. I love how she is willing to do anything for her friends, no matter what may happen to herself. L.J. Smith has developed her character beautifully throughout the series and deserves some sort of award for doing so.
The writing in Shadow Souls is better than in Nightfall, but it is still somewhat of a mess. I had to stop several times to re-read a sentence or paragraph and it took me practically the twentieth time doing so to understand what was going on. Things did start to clear up towards the end, but because the first half was such a struggle, I almost didn’t finish reading it.
Although I still love the series, I’m not sure if I really care about the next book in the series. I’m not sure what happened between the original books and the new ones, but whatever it is, it isn’t good. If you’re a die-hard fan of The Vampire Diaries, then go ahead and read Shadow Souls. If you simply like it, then I would suggest you stick to the original installments.
(cover image taken from Barnes and Noble’s website)