*REVIEW* The Vampire Diaries, The Return: Nightfall


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.

I was very excited when I heard that L.J. Smith was reviving The Vampire Diaries and writing a new trilogy, picking up where the old series had left off. I was beyond excited to get reacquainted with the characters I had grown attached to, the characters I had seen grow and mature as the original series evolved. I had high hopes for this book and while I wasn't completely disappointed, I did not love this book as much as I had hoped to.

The book picks up and you're instantly confused. Apparently, Elena has regressed. While she appeared to be normal at the end of the fourth original book, we learn that she has instead regressed to an almost child-like, spiritual place. She also has amnesia and is unable to remember who she really is, who the people in her life are, and how to do normal, every day things such as reading and talking. She can, however, harness strong "White Power". I have to admit, this part is bizarre. I found I didn't much enjoy this book until Elena is "awakened" and returns to her adult mind.

The evil in this book, because you know there has to be a big baddie, comes in the form of Japanese kitsune twins. We watch as they wreak havoc on Fell's Church, possessing and controlling several girls, including the infamously nasty Caroline Forbes. Damon also falls prey to possession, with disasterous consequences which include Stefan being kidnapped and taken to the Dark Dimension, where he is being held against his will.

This book is full of action and we get to see the story unfold as the major players of the story figure out the truth about what is going on in Fell's Church. It culminates in a big battle where Elena is faced with scary questions: Can she trust Damon? What will she do if she has to choose between saving Bonnie or saving Meredith? Will she ever be able to find Stefan?

For fans of this series, I say read this book. It is definitely darker than the original series, and the constant jumping between character point-of-views can make it difficult to follow at times. However, it is still the characters that you have grown to love and if you feel as I do, you will want to continue their stories to see how it all ends up. I'm hopeful that the next installment returns this series to it's former glory, because so far? The Return seems to lack some of the bite of the original.

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