Vampiric shows and novels often impose upon their audience one question, one query that’s filled with self-blinding horror and heart-wrenching desolation: Would it be worse to have a stunningly-beautiful vampire kill you, or to be turned into a blood-sucking vampire yourself?
I don’t know whether this question’s popularity came from Bram Stoker’s Dracula or L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries, but Elena Gilbert had to face this question in the first novel of the series. She was undecided then, and she remained undecided throughout the third novel, despite all the revelations made known to her and the Salvatore brothers.
Revelation dawned on Stefan about Elena’s relationship with his brother Damon when Elena suddenly rose from her decidedly dead position beneath the willow tree to attack him, to try and rip his throat out with her teeth. As a newborn vampire, Elena Gilbert didn’t know what she was doing, but with some guidance from the Salvatore brothers and help from her friend Matt Donovan, she completed the transition.
After some sleep, Elena realized her relationship with Stefan was far more important than her sudden devotion to Damon. Once her feelings for the two vampire brothers were righted in her mind, she came to grudgingly acknowledge her own undead state of existence and reached out to her friends. Meredith had already suspected that Elena wasn’t truly gone from Fell’s Church, based on her own family history. After Elena came to her, Meredith and Elena carefully revealed to Bonnie about Elena’s new state of being. Bonnie took the news surprisingly well.
Now that the three vampires and the three friends were all together – all a bit too chummy in comparison to the previous novels – someone unexpected entered their midst. Alaric Saltzman, the history teacher replacement, decided to join them for the sake of “research” – the very reason he’d been hired as a replacement at Robert E Lee High School to begin with.
Elena and her group of friends work toward finding out about and fighting against the greater evil that had been gathering in Fell’s Church. All three vampires had been certain of when the next big attack would hit, and they weren’t wrong. They could not have predicted, however, the great who that attacked them. And the consequences of their unpreparedness led to both great sacrifice and beautiful transformation in Elena Gilbert.
The entire feel of the novel was…underwhelming. With that said, as an author who has written fiction, I can imagine the great struggle in trying to explain how different characters would respond to unbelievable scenarios – such as the Homecoming Queen turning into a vampire and no longer being allowed to reenter her own home. Therefore, I think L.J. Smith did very well in explaining the unimaginable process of someone turning into a monster of the night.
What really impressed me was Matt Donovan’s character. The author did well in portraying him as a good guy in the first two novels, but by the third novel, Matt could only be seen as the heartwarmingly kind hero. L.J. Smith wrote a scene that shows this beautifully:
When she managed to tear her gaze away and look at his face, she saw shock giving way to sudden understanding. Then to something incredible: acceptance. “It’s OK,” Matt said.
She wasn’t sure she’d heard correctly. “Matt?”
“I said, it’s okay. It didn’t hurt me before.”
“No. No, Matt, really. I didn’t come here for that-“
“I know. That’s why I want to. I want to give you something you didn’t ask for.” After a moment he said, “For old friends’ sake.”
Stefan, Elena was thinking. But Stefan had told her to come, and come alone. Stefan had known, she realized. And it was all right. It was his gift to Matt – and to her.
But I’m coming back to you, Stefan, she thought.
As she leaned towards him, Matt said, “I’m going to come help you tomorrow, you know. Even if I’m not invited.”
Then her lips touched his throat.The Vampire Diaries: The Fury, p. 158-159
I was personally happy to see Elena and Stefan reunited after the novel’s first chapter that was so odd: to see Elena attack Stefan was uncharacteristic, considering Stefan had proposed marriage to Elena at the end of the second book. But to see Damon angry at the sight of his brother and his love without lashing out in uncontrolled rage was a little painful. In short, I don’t know which brother I’m cheering for. I could only hope that each would find a happy ending – of sorts, seeing as they’re all creatures of the night.
The writing style was much like the second novel in the series. So, I suppose, the readers can expect this slightly downgraded style from the first novel from here on out.
I confess I have read these first three novels several years before now. I thought it was a poor ending then, but now that I know L.J. Smith continued the series, I have hope for the future books in the series. It is my hope still that the Salvatore brothers will find their happy endings. They have finally banned together, but how long will it last without someone to love? Because that’s what this series is all about, it seems: a love triangle between a girl and two brothers. Something that will interest me in any and every scenario, vampire or no.