Sunday, 6 March 2011

Review: The Vampire Diaries: The Return - Midnight by: L. J. Smith


In Midnight, golden girl Elena Gilbert is back from the Dark Dimension, having successfully freed her vampire boyfriend Stefan Salvatore from imprisonment. Saving Stefan had an unlikely consequence: his vampire brother Damon Salvatore has become a mortal. While the trio reels from this latest twist, they must still deal with the demons that have taken over Elena's hometown, Fell's Church. ‘Midnight’ takes Elena, Stefan, and Damon to their darkest moments yet...

This book is insane. I mean this in a good way, but still, insanity is most definitely the name of the game. The Vampire Diaries have always been crazy, but this and the previous two books have surpassed themselves. I mean, I can’t even try to explain a vague idea of the plot to you.

Book One? Sure! Girl meets new boy in town. Boy is strange and resists all her charms. Mysterious deaths keep happening. Other new boy (equally sexy if not more so) shows up who turns out to be original new boys brother. New boy turns out to be a vampire! Shock! So does his evil brother! Book ends with evil brother kidnapping nice brother. Oh and there’s some kissing and near kissing liberally sprinkled into the mix for good measure. See? Easy enough to follow. The next three books, leetle more complex, but can be summed up similarly.

Let me try to tell you about book seven…
Bad boy vampire has been turned human, so he steals this magical ball of power to get him back to the dark dimension so he can become vampire royalty. Accidentally takes human girl with him who simply cannot follow orders and ends up getting herself kidnapped and sold into slavery to the evil fox who is part of an incestuous brother/sister duo who are wreaking havoc on remote American town. Luckily she gets rescued just in time by the evil bad boy vampire (with a not so secret heart of gold) and everything is ok with them for a while. Phew.
MEANWHILE: Back in the remote American town children are turning into terrifying creatures and killing things and doing very bad scary things. Matt gets arrested by a bunch of werewolves for a rape he never committed on old school friend Caroline who is actually carrying a littler of werewolf puppies from another different school friend. Meredith discovers that she’s actually got a twin brother who is a full vampire and she’s part vampire, oh and she’s got a super cool stick with poison in it because she’s part of a long line of vampire hunters. Elena and Stefan continue to be useless, except when Stefan leaves the house to go see how bad everything is in town, and then comes back twice. Only neither of them are him, they’re actually both the fox twins PRETENDING to be him, cos you know, people are silly. But apparently not these humans, because they sniff them out and try and keep them as prisoners. Only then the house starts falling apart because of these terrifying demons that eat people and they all run away.

Are you still with me? Just about? Given up entirely? I don’t blame you if you have. The plot gets weirder and weirder. People die, children are terrifying, there’s semi nakedness by several people in a sleeping bag, and Mrs Flowers turns out to be one of the coolest people around.

But it’s awesome. I love this series. I love the characters. I love that anyone can have a dark secret, and just because the character that’s come in looks like a good guy, doesn’t mean it necessarily is. Hell, anyone can turn out to be bad, and no-one is safe. The children are completely terrifying – there’s a little innocent boy hanging from a tree, eating his live guinea pig? I mean, oh my word, nothing is safe! Smith’s writing is incredible and she has a brilliant ability to make me genuinely terrified. Something I haven’t felt since I first read about the Nazgul in Lord of the Rings.

There are a few moments of ‘what the hell just happened’? But mostly the twists and turns are clear and brilliantly executed, and the book is filled with a rollercoaster of emotions, battles, and high terror. As well as plenty of steam… The only thing I disliked was that we didn’t see much relationship development between Damon and Bonnie and Damon and Elena. It just was said or happened. There was a lot of Elena and Stefan, which I suppose was to make up for the sheer Delena fest that was the previous book ‘Shadow Souls.’ That said, there are still some truly heart breaking moments, I just wish there had maybe been a few more.

The end is possibly one of the most frustrating things. Not in a bad way exactly – it’s a brilliant cliff hanger, and L. J. Smith has made a habit of brilliant cliff hangers for each book. The frustration comes with the fact that this is reportedly the last book in the series that Smith will write. The series will most likely continue with a ghost writer taking over. And it’s frustrating to know that Smith’s vision will not continue as she had mapped out and planned. God knows what is going to happen next.

I can’t decide if there was another book, not written by Smith, whether I’d want to read it. My curiosity will most likely get the better of me, and I’ll probably cave. But I’ll wait and see. In the mean time, I will keep my curiosity in check, and simply enjoy the ends that have been tied up and the completions we’ve been allowed.

Of all the books I still think that book six ‘Shadow Souls’ is still my favourite, but ‘Midnight’ comes a close second. It was just a shame it was tainted with the knowledge that this was it. No matter what the end, this was all we’d be allowed from L. J. Smith herself, and that to me is the truly tragic.


  1. Can you please tell me if there is another book even if it is a ghost writer? It would mean a lot to me!

  2. As far as I'm aware there are no plans yet for any further books. All we know is that if there are they won't be written by L.J.Smith.

    Keep an eye out though, they may decide to carry on the series at a later date :)

  3. Just as an update to your question - they've now released a cover photo for "The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters - Phantom"
    So it seems they are going ahead after all, but no idea when the release date is. :)

  4. I think there will be at least 3 more books (The Hunters). Unfortunately all written by a ghost writer. L.J. Smith posted this on her site: “I fought tooth and nail to write those books--I fought until my agent wouldn't support me, when she said I would be sued and she wouldn't fight with me anymore, and I WROTE Phantom. But instead of edits what I got back was a letter to Clare the ghostwriter telling her to completely change my book. I HAD NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER. I was deceived by Alloy and got no support from Harper.”

    She's asked fans to pass it a long. Apparently there are people that think she just let the series go without a fight.

  5. L.J Smith wrote sequels last year. It's available on amazon words. It's called Evensong Part one: Paradise lost. It takes of right after midnight. Hope you enjoy it!