This novel was not what I expected. I really enjoyed it and will continue the series.
The main characters are Elena Gilbert and her love interest, Stefan Salvatore. It’s a romance novel* between the two main characters and the drama that takes place due to Stefan being a vampire.
My first impressions of this book were based on the show. I’m OBSESSED with the TV series, so I gave the book a shot. I was expecting it to be as good as the show and even though it was different, it wasn’t bad.
Of course, in the beginning, the differences between show and book were a little distracting, so chose wisely which you want to experience first.
Elena Gilbert is the book is not very likable. She’s a rich, spoiled snob and the most popular girl in school, who cares too much about her appearance. I usually wouldn’t care about those kinds of characters, but it takes a very special person to care about her problems when she treats all the boys in her school as trophies. She’s quoted saying, “what’s more important than boys? They were a sign of how popular and beautiful you are.” She at first only wanted to date Stefan to prove a point that she was desired by all men. She’s not a very nice girl either. She several times makes unwanted advances toward Stefan and is visibly offended when he doesn’t notice her the first time they run into each other. She becomes even more furious when he’s not interested in her. My first thought after this scene was “what if he’s gay?” Then again, it was the 90’s when this book was published so times are different and gays weren’t as highly known (or, at least, they stayed hidden).
Once Elena finally gets with Stefan, the love happens too quickly. Again, she wants him as a prize but then claims she loves him after their first kiss.
I personally don’t see the love connection. Elena wants him as a prize and Stefan wants her because she reminds him of Katherine. He practically acts like he owns her in a “take care of her because she’s a child” kind of way. It all comes across as way too lusty for my taste to believe it’s real love. They even point out that they couldn’t see each other at school because they would just make out the whole time. *eye rolls*
The writing itself isn’t that bad, it’s not amazing, but I’ve read way worse. L.J. Smith chose an interesting way to write this book. She used point of view changes to tell the story of each character and really make sure we understand all the sides of the story. She hooked me in by introducing Stefan right after having killed a rabbit for food and is covered in blood. Of course, I did find a typo “Ms. Halpern was passing but trigonometry books.” but again, this book was published in the 90’s and I’m sure that happened all the time.
There were point of view mistakes such as knowing what Elena felt when we were in Stefan’s Point of view. Those two things are entirely excusable and don’t knock too many points off for me.
One thing I will mention though is if you like Twilight (Which I don’t) then you will more than likely like this book series. Many of the things that Twilight used as vampire tropes are used in this series. Just to name a few: Stefan can read minds, Stefan drives a Porsche, Stefan wants to keep away from Elena so he doesn’t hurt her, but they fall in love anyway, Stefan has the intense 1000 mile stare, and he doesn’t have control when drinking blood.
Overall, this book was entertaining. If you like vampires and romances*, I think this is a great book series to read. I was entertained and hooked and actually cared about most of the characters. Anytime I was rolling my eyes, or laughing at anything stupid, I had to remind myself that this book was WRITTEN in the 80’s (hard to believe its that old).
Overall I rate this book a 4 out of 5.
*Romance is meant as a love story without erotic scenes.