Having written several of my own dissertations on the subject of vampires throughout history and popular culture for my degree several years ago, I eagerly anticipated the release of a book containing a collection of essays written solely on my new obsession, 'The Vampire Diaries'. When it finally arrived I read it from cover to cover in one sitting and was not disappointed.
The book contains nine essays, one short story and a therapist's 'case notes'. In addition to these, the last section of the book analyses the similarities and differences between The Vampire Diaries novels and television series, and goes some way to explain why changes were possibly made.
The essays were interesting but not dry, in depth without being boring, and made reference to not only other vampire fiction including Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Twilight Saga and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (to name but a very few), but also other 'teen' series such as Gossip Girl and Roswell High. In short, if you are not too familiar with them, it is an education on these subjects as well.
Certainly on the character front, this book dissects the motivations and behaviour of not only Stefan, Damon, Elena and Katherine as you may expect, but also contains essays dedicated to lesser characters such as Bonnie and Caroline. As a Damon fan myself, I was a little disappointed that I read no real breakthroughs in his personality (although Ian Somerhalder's smile, blue eyes and good looks seemed to come up in almost every essay!) mainly because I suspect his real character development we are only just starting to witness in Season 2. It is Stefan's character that really comes under the spotlight however, and you may be surprised as to what you read. Those of you who are Team Stefan I imagine will be shouting at these pages in defence of the 'nicer' vampire brother, where those of you who are Team Damon will be nodding in agreement (and probably gloating just a little bit too!)
The main downfall of this book is it can only base any of its arguments on Season 1 and a fair few points it makes have already been disproved by events taken place already in Season 2. It makes assumptions as to the results of cliff-hangers we were left with at the end of Season 1, in particular the fate of Caroline, John and Jeremy. This certainly does not affect any the enjoyment of this book, but it is unfortunate the publication date should happen after Season 2 had begun and so many questions have already been answered in the series. Having said that I do hope they write a sequel to this book for Season 2, and maybe this time they will have some real material in order to analyse Damon a little deeper with, and I suspect Katherine too!
If you are a Vampire Diaries fan, either the book or television series, this book is a must. The only real reason I didn't give it five stars is, well, because every essay wasn't written solely on Damon Salvatore of course!