My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Despite the strangeness of the last two instalments of the Vampire Diaries Series I was looking forward to Midnight. From the moment I picked up the book I however knew that the strangeness would most definitely be continuing and that there was a very good chance that I would not enjoy the book. Unfortunately this premonitian proved to be true.
This book picks up within days after the ending of the last instalment. Elena and the group have returned from the Dark Dimension and Damon is now utterly human (punishment for being nosy and careless I would say). He is determined to return to his former vampire self, which seemingly is not as simple as just any vampire simply turning him. The group is still plotting on how to safe Fell’s Church from the ravishings of the Kitsune twins, which seems hopefull at best. Damon eventually Influences and drugs Bonnie who reveals to him the location of Misoa’s star ball (filled with her remaining power) and uses it to open a gate to the Dark Dimension and Bonnie is unwittingly dragged with him. Whilst in the Dark Dimension Damon is once again turned into a powerful vampire whilst Bonnie stumbles upon a premonition of the Great Kitsune Treasures which seems to present a way for them to beat the Kitsune twins. Elena and Stefan eventually join Damon and Bonnie in the Dark Dimension and set out to find the greatest and most powerful star ball which they are determined to use to save Fell’s Church. Whilst they succeed in the end, it is not with the heavy cost of the death of one of the four (which I won’t reveal now) and the loss of great power. Fell’s Church is eventually saved however and everything and everyone seemingly returned to normal. Throughout all this Elena struggles for her love for Damon and Meredith is revealed to have been a vampire hunter all her life.
WHAT I LIKED
I enjoy the paranormal more than most and I enjoyed those aspects of this book which link so strongly to myth and legend. I enjoyed the settings in the Dark Dimension. The remaining aspects of the book that I really liked is the cover which I think is beautiful (although it is not clear who it represents) and ties in very nicely with the other covers of this edition.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I must admit to not liking this book much at all. I loved the series and followed it almost religiously, but even for me things became a bit to unbelievable throughout the last three books. The writing was terrible. At times it felt to me like it was not only the plot which had been removed from reality entirely but that the writer had been floundering around in an unreal world. The writing was disjointed and there was no attempt, in my view, to have the story flow from one point to another. In fact not even the sentences flowed rationally from one to another. It was really painful to keep reading this book, if only to find out what happens in the end. For all her bravado Elena to me turns out to be a terribly weak and shallow character. I cannot understand the urge for there to have been such an (apparant) intense love between Elena and Damon when Elena allegedly loves Stefan to the point of distraction and when there is a perfectly good alternative pairing for Damon in Bonnie. Bonnie however is portrayed as being nothing more but a weak minded “little bird”, so apposite to the Bonnie whom I had been seeing in my mind’s eye throughout the rest of the series. Damon and Stefan are not really explored in any great detail in this book and despite attempts to portray Damon’s changing nature and ability to love, these attempts to me seemed without much depth. None of the characters, in my view, grew at all throughout this book and I specifically disliked this aspect as I love being able to get involved with the characters whilst reading a book. I did not like the beginning, I did not like reading this book and to tell the truth I did not like the ending.
SO WHAT’S THE VERDICT
Overall I could not say that I enjoyed reading this book and it will be the first book in a long time that I have critisized so strongly. Be that as it may other readers may have enjoyed the book tremendously and I hope to discuss their views with them. To me however this was not a succesful end (or not) to a series which I really enjoyed at the beginning. Therefore a very reluctant and disappointing thumbs down from me.
I believe the next three books in the series will not be written by L.J.Smith but have been entrusted to a (to me) unknown ghost writer. The first of the three part instalment entitled The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters – Phantom is due for release around October 2011. Hopefully I can take the time to convince myself to give the series another try.
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