The Novels: Book One–The Awakening

In honor of the new show, I thought I would re-read and review the original books of the series that came out back in 1991.  The friend of mine that introduced me to the Vampire Diaries books was actually the same friend that would introduce me to my two favorite television shows of all time:  Supernatural and The X-Files…but that would be many years later.

I remember being handed the first book and instantly not liking Elena Gilbert very much.  I am happy to say they have changed her a bit for the television series.  I did not want to compare and contrast the show with the books right now though.  My idea was just to give you a heads up about the original books.

Elena Gilbert is the most popular girl in school.  Blonde, blue eyes, all guys in school want her, and all girls want to be her.  She is a girl who always gets what she wants.  She therefore seems very put out and pouty when the hot new Italian guy in town doesn’t pay attention to her at all.

In the beginning of the book, Elena has just gotten home from spending the summer in Europe.  She and her four year old sister, Margaret live with their Aunt Judith since Elena’s parents were killed in a horrible car accident.  Elena is getting ready for her senior year of school.  She has two best friends, Meredith and Bonnie.  Bonnie seems to have the ability to “see” things, the future, things about people, etc.

Stefan Salvatore, the new kid in school, enters high school in Fell’s Church as a Senior.  Stefan is a four hundred year old vampire, traumatized by his past.  He seems at first to be totally unaffected by Elena’s charm, even dating Caroline, another popular girl Elena competes with, because he feels nothing for her.

The book mainly just sets the stage for the later books.  There is a force in Fell’s Church that appears to be attacking and/or killing people.  An old man at the cemetary is hospitalized.  The mean History teacher, Mr.Tanner is killed in the haunted house.  Vicki Bennett, a girl at school is attacked.  Everything very suspect, and eventually, it appears that Stefan may be doing these things.  And then, we find out about Damon.

Aside from that storyline, we also find out a lot about Stefan and Damon’s past. Four hundred years ago, Stefan and Damon Salvatore were humans who fell in love with the same girl.  Someone named Katherine who had been turned into a vampire when it appeared that nothing the doctors could do would save her.  The boys met her after she had become a vampire.  She taught them each her secret, and eventually couldn’t choose between the two of them.

Katherine knew that it was only a matter of time before her father and others noticed that she was not aging.  She knew she would have to go into hiding.  First she met Stefan, and told him her secret.  Stefan, the emo-angsty younger brother, wanted to prove to Katherine that he could live in the darkness with her.  Damon comes home and Katherine starts spending time with him too.  More naturally aristocratic, and rebellious by nature, Damon is the classic bad boy.  He announces he is quitting the university, and their father would have thrown him out had not Katherine intervened.  Damon feels that he is much better equipped to the vampire lifestyle, and that Katherine should choose him.  Katherine winds up chosing both of them, wanting all three of them to be a big happy family living through eternity together. 

This is not acceptable for either brother, and when Katherine finds out that all she has done is drive a further wedge between the brothers, she kills herself.  Blaming the other for Katherine’s death, the fight ends with swords, and both brothers dead.  Since both brothers had exchanged blood with Katherine, they both woke up in the family crypt, and have been feuding ever since.

The book ends with a cliffhanger.  Stefan has disappeared, and everything points to Damon being the culprit.  Elena has gone to confront Damon…

The first and the second books are now sold together.  When I initially read the books they were all separate.  Also, it was originally only a trilogy.  That’s just a smattering of the book, keep in mind when you read it was a YA book…

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