Thursday, June 18, 2009

Retraction and revelation

I hereby apologize to anyone that ran out and bought The Vampire Diaries series after reading my last post.  Sorry Trisha!!  That will show me not to blog about something before I finish it.  

The first two books (published in 1991) dealt with Elena falling in love with Stefan, but being attracted to his brother, Damon.  The vampire brothers struggled against each other to see who would win her.  This plot line worked for me.  It wasn't too dark or gory, but had some elements of mystery and suspense.  And any similarities to Twilight ended after the first book.

The third book got creepier, and frankly, a little unbelievable.   (I know--I'm reading a vampire novel, not historical fiction, but she had a vampire possessing the town's dogs to attack their owners.)  There was a lot going on and some of it was just too fantastic to be credible.  And sometimes, she left things unexplained.  (If a vampire can only change into one animal, how was Katherine able to be an owl, a kitten and a tiger?)  

According to this interview, Smith originally only wrote the series as a trilogy, but bowed to reader pressure to write the fourth book in 1992.  She shouldn't have.  The fourth book was straight up scary.  And that seemed to be it's main purpose.  To scare, not to entertain.  It raised several questions that were never answered.  (How could Klaus be alive if Katherine said she killed him?  Was Tyler killed?)  Smith seemed to forget some of the things mentioned in the previous book, as there were several story line gaffes.  

Then, there is the fifth book.  Ugh.  Published earlier this year, 18 years after the first book, the story picks up only days after the end of the last book.  From the very first line, I was lost.  It seemed like she was writing the story haphazardly, without bothering to explain what was going on.  Some questions were answered later, many were not.  (What was the point of Bonnie's midnight-backward-strange language-cell phone prediction?!)  I found myself flipping back several pages to reread something that she referenced differently later.  Again, many story line gaffes (Damon didn't have to ask Caroline to invite him into her house, as he had been invited in by her parents in the 2nd book), as well as typos (Dr. Alpert becomes Dr. Albert for an entire page, at one point.)  And the most unbelievable plot lines possible.  A guy that chewed off his fingers after being possessed, tree-men that tried to pull a girl's limbs off, tree vines that strangle victims, fox spirits that put people in "snow globes" and magic keys that give you anything you want.  Yeah.

 There was a lot of focus on sexual solicitation in this book, which didn't fit in with the themes in the other books, was very uncomfortable and didn't serve a purpose.  Basically, it seemed like this book was written to capitalize on the recent vampire craze.  Fortunately for Smith, the CW bought the plans to make the books into a TV series days before this last book was released.  Unfortunately, she is planning to write two more books in this series.  Don't waste your time reading these books!  Or, just read the first two and I'll fill you in on what happens from there.  (Someone dies, becomes a vampire, dies again, becomes a powerful spirit, then becomes a human with angelic powers.  You follow all of that?)  I'm sure the TV show will end up being better than the books, because, well, it can't go anywhere but up.

Also, we've been watching the first season of "True Blood".  It is frickin' scary.  I like the story line between Sookie and Bill and Sam, but the rest of it sucks, IMO.  I prefer my vampires vegetarians, like the Cullens.  I think I'm just going to give up trying to find something like Twilight, because it is suddenly obvious to me that it's popularity is due to the fact that it was new and special and there isn't anything else like it out there.  The real draw to it was the impossible relationship between Edward and Bella.  I also liked the fact that it didn't scare the piss out of me.  I don't need the blood and gore--that isn't sexy.  Edward...perfect, beautiful,  Stephenie Meyer---write more Twilight!!!!

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