THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Alright guys, I’ll confess…I only read 2 of the 3 books in this trilogy. But that’s because it was bad…really bad. I enjoyed the first 4 Vampire Diaries books and wish it had been left there. They were still teeny-bopper and a bit pathetic and Elena was bugging all the time. But at least they had a decent storyline. As you’ll see I feel the Return Trilogy went a little off course. So there are only reviews for the first two books:-
Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #1) – by L.J. Smith
First off, I want to say that the failings with The Vampire Diaries books are clearly not LJ Smith’s fault. I loved the Secret Circle, TV show and books, and I love the Vampire Diaries TV show, and it’s not just because of Damon. Klaus helps too ♥ But it’s as if this trilogy was only created to milk the characters of the VD for a little more sales and a little more show time and it failed.
The first four books were half decent. I’m just not one for teeny bopper love stories about vampires. But what irritated me, is that these half decent books were then turned into something – let’s admit it folks – vastly more sexual than the first four books. Suddenly, ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ are being thrown around like wildfire, girls are kissing girls and boys all over the place, a 15 year old girl is PermaGluing decorations to her naked skin and acting like a slut. I mean REALLY?!?, What the Heck is going on?
Short of spending most of book 5 in utter disbelief, I also had to think about the message this is sending teens. Calling other girls a whore for no reason, piercing yourself in multiple places with no anaesthetic, no cleanliness and no medical aid, making deals with demons and PermaGluing things to your bare skin. Seriously?!
And to make it worse all the characters are insanely crazy. This is a very disturbing read and it ruined the only redeeming character, for me, in the whole series, Damon. I mean, Mrs Flowers sort of reminds me of a more batty version of Amma from the Caster Chronicles, but not enough to improve this book.
I don’t mind mixing angels and vampires in one story, that’s all good. But Elena, being a human, who dies and then becomes a vampire, who dies and then becomes a spirit, who dies and then comes back to earth as a human angel, who then becomes a human again is all a little bit too much. For a start, it’s confusing. I can’t even remember what powers she had, what she’s still got, what she’s supposed to be anymore. And an angel, who everyone claims is so Pure, kissing people to ‘know them’ and ‘identify them’? It seems like a cheap way to get some kissing into a teen book – not like this book needed much more of it. I bet a lot of teenagers thought it was ‘cute’ or ‘romantic’ or whatever, but it’s just wrong.
And speaking of wrong – Damon! What have they done to him? This red-eyed, possessed Damon is just creepy…beyond stalker, beyond gross, beyond maniacal killer – they take him somewhere dark where I don’t ever want to see him. I mean, Damon is one of those characters who is bad but in a good way. A character that is fundamentally the Bad Guy who turns Good in the end, because of his love for Elena…right? That’s how it’s supposed to be. But I this book, they’ve got him FORCING Matt to kiss Elena, even though Damon fancies her himself, and she’s dating Stefan. Then they’ve got him trying to FORCE Matt to undress her. For a camcorder. That’s the worst part. Damon is trying to make them, practically, make a porn video. And this book is supposed to be for teens?
They have Damon doing the unthinkable – hurting Elena. Not just any hurt, but real, painful, screaming in agony kind of hurt. Damon would kill anyone who hurt her that way, not stand by and do it himself. It’s just wrong, wrong, wrong.
This whole book is wrong!
And did I mention the totally creepy demon, malach? The things that Caroline does, makes my skin crawl. It’s like everything she, Tami and Isabel do is set to make you cringe. But they’re forgetting about the completely terrible influence it’s putting on young girls.
And what’s worse? I’m not even finished the book yet. I’m about 60% of the way through, and I’ve still got another 2 books to go before this trilogy is over. *shivers* I’m not sure I can stand it. But, in the name of scientific evaluation of absolutely terrible books, I will venture into the unknown and force myself to complete this series. But the truth is that I’m dreading it.
Lame, lame lame. Trash, trash, trash. I’m sorry but that is the honest to god truth. Speaking of which, I don’t have the will to go through this book again, start to finish, but how many times is the word ‘god’ or ‘oh god’ mentioned? It’s repetitive and very annoying.
I was hoping the crazy malach thing would be over by the end of this book, but it’s not and that just makes me worry and dread getting into the next one. I’m determined to finish, only because I have them anyway. But it’s not going to be pleasant and it’s not going to be any better, of that I’m sure. I wish LJ Smith had just left the series off on Book 4 and never bothered with the whole The Return trilogy. It’s wasting what could have been a half decent series.
Shadow Souls (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #2) by L.J. Smith
This book is as strange and weird as book 1. I really didn’t like the unnecessary storyline of Caroline having puppies. I get that it’s a continuation from her screaming ‘I need a husband’ but it’s just weird and disturbing.
I prefer the storyline with Elena, the girls and Damon in the other world. Damon is by far the best character in these stories, but even in this series, there are parts that are so un-Damon that it’s boring. I really wish the Vampire Diaries series had finished at VD Book 4 and the Return was never started. Let Elena be dead and have it over with.
However, saying that, this story was marginally better and a lot less disturbing than the first. But for all that we’re given strong hints that people are lying, people are keeping secrets and someone’s had their memory tampered with at the end of the book, I am NOT inclined to waste any more time with this series by reading the next book. Normally something like this would have me hooked and going straight into the next book, but the books in this trilogy are twice the size of the first four Vampire Diaries books and nowhere near as interesting. And that’s saying a lot since I didn’t particularly like the first four books either but they were at least miles ahead of this trilogy.
For me, the entire Vampire Diaries series is a big FAIL! I’ll be sticking to the TV show.