Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle (Book 2)
L.J. Smith

rating: 5 out of 10 "books"

The second book in the “Vampire Diaries” series, “The Struggle,” picks up right where the first book, “The Awakening,” left off. Elena discovers that Damon is in fact in town, and with this realization comes the news that Stefan is missing. Elena is convinced that Damon is responsible and with the help of Bonnie’s visions, the group is able to find him, practically near death. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Elena is up to the challenge. She volunteers to give Stefan some of her blood to help him recover faster. Stefan who, to steal a word from the “Twilight” series, is a “vegetarian,” who only drinks animal blood, refuses to take Elena’s, but is ultimately convinced when Bonnie goes to bring her sister, a nurse, to examine Stefan.

Other strange things are happening in Fell’s Church that doesn’t make Elena and Stefan’s situation much easier either. For one, Elena’s diary is missing and passages from it are turning up posted around the school. That it’s embarrassing is one thing, but even worse, is the fact that Elena wrote a lot about Stefan that reveals who he truly is in said diary. Even stranger, is the way Vikki Bennett is acting after having been attacked in “The Awakening.” A near striptease and multiple other events have Elena and Stefan worried about her. It also doesn’t help that the new history teacher in town, Alaric Saltzman, seems to be snooping around.

Elena, Bonnie, and Meredith figure “frenemy,” Caroline Forbes and Stefan-hater, Tyler Smallwood are at the center of the missing diary dilemma. After concocting a plan to sneak into Caroline’s house to retrieve the important journal goes awry, Elena finds herself in debt to Damon for saving her from being discovered by Caroline and her family. She makes a secret deal with him and in the end, having just exchanged blood with Stefan, also exchanges blood with Damon. The story ends in another cliff hanger where Elena, while waiting for Stefan one night, feels something, some Power, is after her. As she tries to get away in Matt’s car, devastating events occur that leads into the third book, “The Fury.”

Although this story really didn’t seem to have much action or purpose to it in the scheme of the series, it actually does. The little things in this book build up to the events that occur in the third and fourth books. The thing I like about this series is that the books are easy reads, and it’s not a huge commitment, as there are only four books to the original series. I’ve heard people talk about reading a story only to find out it’s part one of a twenty part series or something and then they feel like they have to stick it out and read all twenty, even if they are no good. I have to admit, “The Vampire Diaries,” is pretty good. It’s got enough to keep the reader interested, and the books always end on that dreaded but effective marketing “cliff hanger.” I can honestly say I’m addicted.

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