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Monday, May 3, 2010

The Return: Nightfall by LJ Smith

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall by LJ Smith
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (586 pgs)
Rating: 3 suns
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Elena Gilbert is alive—again.

When Elena sacrificed herself to save the two vampire brothers who love her—the handsome, brooding Stefan and the sleek and dangerous Damon—she was consigned to a fate beyond death. Until a powerful supernatural force pulled her back.

Now Elena is not just human. She has powers and gifts that were bestowed on her in the afterlife. What's more, her blood pulses with an overwhelming and unique force that makes her irresistible to any vampire.

Stefan wants to find a way to keep Elena safe so that they can make a life together. Damon, however, is driven by an insatiable desire for power, and wants Elena to rule as his princess. When Stefan is lured away from Fell's Church, Damon seizes his chance to convince her that he is the brother she is meant to be with. . . .

But a darkness is infiltrating the town, and Damon, always the hunter, is now the hunted; he becomes the prey of a malevolent creature that can possess him at will, and who desires not just Elena's blood but her death.

What’s a girl to do when she’s turned into a vampire and can’t talk, but she can feel everything? Turn to her friends for help.

Sound interesting? Then you should read The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall.

I’ve read all the prior books in this series and I love a good neck biter book. I must say though, this one is a bit of a doozy. Whereas the earlier books were around three hundred pages, this one tops out at almost six hundred. In those pages, there is a lot going on. Although I enjoyed the story, I almost wished the author has split it into two books. There is a lot of POV hopping which can deter the reader. I found myself rereading parts to figure out which character’s head I was in. But to be fair, there are a lot of characters and a lot going on in this story.

Elena, who was strong and a force to be reckoned with in the earlier books comes across a tad melodramatic. She feels everything, including the makers of the clothing Stefan tries to put her in. I get the idea of using a book for a soapbox podium, but wonder if this was the podium to take.

I wanted to see more of Damon. Yes, I’m addicted to the bad boy vampire. Like Elena, I was let-down a bit. He comes across as more one-dimensional. I know guys will obsess on female anatomy, but from the earlier stories, I expected him to be a bit more mature than that. I wanted to see the great moment when he shows his prowess as a bad boy and evil but likeable character.

What also detracted from the story was the bevy of characters. I got the feeling the story was geared a bit too much towards pop culture. Although it works, I wanted to see more development. Give the characters time to shine and show their ultimate goodness or badness.

Still, once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down. I’m hooked to see what happens next and can’t wait for the next installment.

If you want a book chock full of teen angst, strife, and torrid romance, then you need to read The Return: Nightfall. I give this novel 3 suns.

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