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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very strange, but highly enjoyable
I was obsessed with these books at a young teenager. They were one of the first vampire series I read and were the start of what was, and still is a huge love of mine: vampire fiction.

I recently re-read the first three books and while I enjoyed them for the sake of posterity, I found them to be slightly juvenile, partly in the writing, but mostly in the...
Published on 18 Sep 2009 by Ms. R. A. Bennett

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard Work
I am not a huge fan of the Vampire Diaries books, I found them very juvenile with no character development, but liking Damon's character & also loving the Vampire Diaries TV series wanted to read the new book.

It was bizarre to say the least - Elena changed from being fine at end of Book 4 to being a child in Book 5. The book was not very visual, even with...
Published on 10 May 2010 by Bamba


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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very strange, but highly enjoyable, 18 Sep 2009
I was obsessed with these books at a young teenager. They were one of the first vampire series I read and were the start of what was, and still is a huge love of mine: vampire fiction.

I recently re-read the first three books and while I enjoyed them for the sake of posterity, I found them to be slightly juvenile, partly in the writing, but mostly in the characterisation.

Don't get me wrong, I loved these books as a teenager along with The Secret Circle series and have recently got them all in the library in the school where I work as an English teacher and am always recommending them to my students, but as an adult they weren't something that gripped me particularly.

That is where this book differed, I was actually really drawn in to the characters this time, especially Damon and Elena.

I also think that the whole feel was much darker and more adult than the rest of the books, for example, the idea of vampires being sexual beings is kind of skirted over in the original books, due to the age range that they were aimed at. But that is a theme which is explored in more detail in these books, both with spirit Elena and Stefan's exchange, as well as Damon's growing desire not just for her blood, but his desire for her as a woman.

This book also had a more grown up and mature version of Elena in many parts, who has begun to embrace her darker side and do what needs to be done, even if it is something that will degrade her or go against her conscience. This was a refreshing change from the puritanical girl we saw before.

I also think the large focus on Damon's character is a huge plus for this book. The whole depressed moody vampire who hates what he is was bored and overdone even before Edward Cullen exploded onto the scene, and Damon's character is a refreshing change. Yes, in places he gets a bit soppy, but the reasons behind it are in character and it is nice to see the depth in his character in this book.

If your idea of an interesting vampire is more Lestat or even Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse novels, then you will love Damon.

Also, I always found Stefan kind of uninteresting, so the book benefits with him being absent for a lot of it.

Matt, Bonnie, Meredith and Caroline's characters are pretty much the same, thought Bonnie and Damon's encounters are amusing.

A lot of reviews have spoken negatively about the plot and the bizarre nature of a lot of what happens in the book, but for me it is this which made the book really engaging and unusual. The vampire genre is so saturated with the same old thing it was actually really gratifying to read something relatively unpredictable and bizarre, as well as within it's own mythology.

The only negative thing I have to say from my own perspective is that there is a point in the book where the secondary characters (Matt, Bonnie, Meredith) are running from one disaster to another in a row with nothing in between, which gets slightly silly, and that this often takes away from the dual narrative of what is happening with Elena and Damon (which in my opinion was more interesting) but that is quite minor and maybe just my preference.

In closing, if you liked or loved the original series as a child or as an adult then I would recommend the newest edition to you, but be prepared for not loads of Stefan if he was your favourite, much darker themes and a lot of random supernatural occurrences.

Personally, as an adult, this book is by far my favourite one.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Vampire Diaries yet!!!!!, 16 Mar 2010
By 
Ms. C. A. Anderson "Cassandra220689" (East Kilbride, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 5: Nightfall: Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return): 1/3 (Paperback)
I really loved the first two double duo installements of the Vampire Diaries so of course I wanted to read this follow up, and I was not disappointed!!!

It is a little more edger than the last two, with more dark and seductive elements to it which I found fit further into the Gothic theme of the books. For fans there is more adventures with Meridith, Matt, Bonnie, Elena, Damon and Stefan and of course the regulars such as Caroline and a welcome bigger appearence from Mrs.Flowers (Stefan's Landlady).

It is to note though, that although I, myself, love Elena and Stefan together, his absence from most of the book allows for the relationship between Elena and Damon to grow and develop. Having believed like Elena, that Damon is not as much of the bad guy as he makes himself out to be, this book helps to shed light on this instinct and investigate it further.

With the appearence of two new evil and sinister characters set on destroying Fell's church, Damon's inner struggle with evil and good is played upon heavily in this book and it is not as simple as choosing a side...

I welcomed the refreshing look on the evil bad boy Damon and his struggle with his feelings toward Elena too. Without spoiling anything, whether Damon feels for Elena is purely beacuse she is something he can not get or that she is his little brothers vs. that he may actaully want more than just her blood are brought to light and a sensitive side of Damon is shown but not without consequences.

I would go as far as to say, that while the first two double installements were not really for adults, the shift to more adult matters in this book and hopefully the next allows it to be an adult book in my mind.

I Loved it and could not put it down, I can not wait for The Return: Shadow Souls which is out out in May. I have mines pre ordered :).

Cassandra220689
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard Work, 10 May 2010
By 
Bamba "Bamba" (Midlands, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 5: Nightfall: Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return): 1/3 (Paperback)
I am not a huge fan of the Vampire Diaries books, I found them very juvenile with no character development, but liking Damon's character & also loving the Vampire Diaries TV series wanted to read the new book.

It was bizarre to say the least - Elena changed from being fine at end of Book 4 to being a child in Book 5. The book was not very visual, even with strecthing my imagination I had a hard time visualising exactly what the author was trying to put across. The characters ran from one disaster to another, appearing slightly dumb as they did so. There was a bizarre chapter in an imaginery house, & young girls acting provocatively which was just stomach churning. Bonnie, Meredith & Matt appear to be saints, who will do anything for their friend who consistently lets them down! Stefan has become this spineless simpering idiot, who with every usage of the phrase 'lovely love' made me gag & close my eyes in horror.

It was like a bizarre series of events randomly thrown together. Again no character development which was seriously needed. And people with teenagers should be warned, that I wouldn't suggest anyone under 16 reading this book - which is also interesting because it is not grown up enough for adults, but has too many mature themes for young teens.
However people will want to read this book, as it is a continuation of a series that many people are fond of and Damon is still a good character that I find interesting.

I guess it is worth a read for fans of the original books, but be warned - it is very strange & bizarre!! The TV series has much better character development & much better storylines, so perhaps best just to watch that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly anticipated and very dark Return, 6 Mar 2010
This review is from: 5: Nightfall: Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return): 1/3 (Paperback)
(Part of the Vampire Diaries Series)

Elena is back from the dead (again!) but with a mind similiar to that of a newborn.
Her memory of her friends is gone. All she knows is that Stefan is the love of her life and here to help her. However, she also remembers Damon, Stefan's evil brother, who is not allowed anywhere near her.
As Stefan helps Elena remember who she is and looks after her Elena discovers that she has returned from the dead with supernatural powers.

With new visitors to Fell's Church things start to get a little strange as Caroline turns to one of them to help her plan her revenge on Elena.

As the story progresses Elena is slowly becoming her old self again. Elena's human friends: Bonnie, Meredith and Matt grow suspicious of Carolines strange behavior whilst trying to support Stefan's efforts to help Elena.
Meanwhile Damon is back to bad and preparing to plot against Stefan who he is occupied helping Elena. He wants Elena to be his Princess of Darkness and is willing to do what it takes to get her all to himself.

And as Stefan departs Damon feels he has succeeded but quickly Damon realises the consequences of his actions and that what seemed like an easy win has come with a price higher than he is prepared to pay.
Soon even Caroline grasps the unpleasant side of teaming up with the bad guys and as the adventure takes many twists and turns which keep you glued to the pages, a lot of new angles of the story and its characters come to light.

The Vampire Diaries is a great series of books and the return was highly anticipated on my part.
And I can happily say that L.J. Smith did not disappoint in the slightest and has written a very recommendable read for any fan of the original series of books.
The characters have grown and the story has become fairly dark in comparison to the original books.
The character of Damon in particular seems to receive quite a lot of focus in this book making it an even more exciting and new read.

The only negative comment I would make (and what partially spoilt the first 30odd pages for me is that L.J. Smith did not think of re-running the past events of the fourth book at the beginning of the story before jumping into the new adventure, which made it a little difficult for me to grasp the situation and get into the story.
In fact, that's why I did not award five stars to this book because the story seemed chaotic at first purely due to lack of explanation.

So if it has been a while since you've read the fourth book in the series - read it again prior to starting on this book!

"The Return:Nightfall" is definately more grown-up and less teenage fiction and I am unsure what age group it is aimed at.

Never the less, if you like vampire fiction this is a great series to read. However, I believe this is more of an enjoyable read for fans of the Morganville Vampire Books than lovers of the Twilight Novels. Purely because it has taken quite a dark turn with its return to the bookshelves.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessary inclusion into this series, 21 Jun 2010
By 
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 5: Nightfall: Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return): 1/3 (Paperback)
Elena Gilbert has returned from the Other Side, and has to relearn how to live amongst humans. She is helped by the love of her life -- Stefan Salvatore, a vampire -- and her three closest friends. However, evil forces are gathering around Fell's Church, drawn by the beacon of a returned soul, and Stefan is snatched away from Elena when she needs him most. She has to turn to his dark brother, Damon, for help -- never knowing for certain what motivates Damon or whether he has been possessed by the dark forces that want to steal Elena for themselves.

Unfortunately, The Return: Nightfall is a horrific mess of a story. It is a long rambling book -- almost 500 pages, which is a great deal longer than any of L.J. Smith's previous novels -- and seems to leap from event to event without any obvious connection. Some of the writing is terrible, and disappointed me greatly because usually Smith's prose is so very good. I just didn't understand some of the descriptions Smith used, such as in the following passage:

"Tears pooled in Bonnie's brown eyes. "I didn't mean-"
But she didn't get to finish. Meredith and Elena drew in protectively around her in the solid phalanx of what they called `velociraptor sisterhood.' It meant that anybody messing with one of them was messing with them all."

I honestly didn't get this reference, and it was mentioned a couple of times through the book -- why would anybody refer to themselves as a velociraptor sisterhood? What does that even mean?

There is also a quote from the book which seemed to indicate the way in which L J Smith wrote this novel:

"The knowledge seemed to come moment by moment as she needed it."

It felt as though Smith was never in control of this story -- that she was throwing ideas at the pages and hoping they would stick to create a coherent whole. None of her characters are consistent with how they are written in the four previous novels. Sure, on the surface Bonnie is still impetuous and fiery, Meredith cool and collected; but at times they would do something so wildly out of character that it jarred me from the story horrendously.

What made this so disappointing is the fact that during brief periods, the prose still soared in the way I have come to expect from L.J. Smith. When she is on form, I genuinely believe that there is no other YA author who can touch her, but sadly there is very little of that in Nightfall, the below excerpt being a rare exception:

"She had seen him when she was a human girl, and she had defied him and desired him in equal measure, and he had seemed to love her best when she was defying him.

She had seen him when she was a vampire and had been drawn to him with all her being, and he had cared for her as if she were a child.

He was a womaniser, he could be callous, he drifted through his victims' lives like a chimera, like a catalyst, changing other people while he himself remained unchanging and unchanged..."

In all honesty, I was never sure why Smith revisited The Vampire Diaries after the first three books, which presented an excellent tale with a very natural and moving ending. I could sort of accept book 4, since there was clearly a decent story in place. Book 5 is a step too far, and ensures that I shall not be picking up any further novels in the world of Elena and Stefan. Some authors need to learn to quit while they're ahead. I recommend pretending that this book doesn't exist.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing after a good first four books, 28 April 2012
By 
Laura Hartley (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 5: Nightfall: Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return): 1/3 (Paperback)
The reviews for this book are extremely mixed, there was even a controversy on Amazon over it. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to say that I was extremely disappointed with this book. Having read the previous four books in 'The Vampire Diaries' series I assumed that this book was going to be excellent, sadly I was wrong. It appears to me that over the seventeen year break between 'Dark Reunion' and 'Nightfall', LJ Smith lost her touch, which is understandable giving that seventeen years is a heck of a long time. Nightfall did not live up to the expectations and is way below the bar that the previous four books have set.

By 'Nightfall', I believe that the plot had just become rather ridiculous. Elena had undergone so many changes (human to vampire to dead to spirit to human) that the plot had become even more unrealistic. No one character can possibly go through that many life changes in such a short space of time.

'Nightfall' got off to a very slow start and I found it difficult to get back into the series. For a lot of the first part of the book Elena is just trying to get back to human self and has to essentially relearn everything from how to walk to talk to act and it's all rather boring and sappy as Stefan mollycoddles Elena and Elena overstretches herself. The plot doesn't kick off until around half way through and even then it's all very repetitive. I didn't think that the characters were very well developed in this book and there wasn't a lot of substance. This book was considerably longer than any of it's predecessors, it's probably about twice the length, and consequently, twice the rambling and irrelevant information. Stefan, a main character, was AWOL, inexplicably for the majority of this book and even by the end of it the reader is left confused as to what has happened to him. Stefan is not the only mystery. If I'm perfectly honest, I haven't got a clue what was going on at the end of this book despite the fact that I finished reading it only a couple of short hours ago. The story did not finish, but it was not the sort of cliffhanger that the reader likes, it was just loose ends that needed to be tied up.

The imagery in the story reminds me a lot of 'The Exorcist' or 'Splice' as many of the town's people become possessed by 'malachs'. They then proceed to do weird and disgusting things, but again there is little explanation. There are two new characters, the two troublemakers, but I didn't understand their motives at all. It is quite a long book and it's taken me quite a long time to read it because frankly I just kept getting bored and drifting away from it. Thinking back, I really don't remember all that much happening throughout. The climax is very near to the end but the problem with this is that a. most people are so bored by then, they really don't care and b. it wasn't worth the wait. I know that a lot of people will disagree with me as many think that this is an excellent book, but I am sorely disappointed and I don't feel like I want to read the two subsequent novels.

All in all, this book does not live up to the expectations that were set by the previous four books and I wouldn't recommend you read it. Don't let this book spoil your memories of the first four (excellent) books.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable enough read, but not the same, 20 Feb 2010
By 
Ms. D. Pagden (Dorset, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 5: Nightfall: Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return): 1/3 (Paperback)
Just a few points:
- this is very different from the first Vampire Diaries series, LJ Smith drawing more on her Night World writing. The new supernatural beings and their background feature very heavily. And vampires don't feature other than the Salvatore brothers are vampires, there's no issue with the fact that they are
- it is also different in that there is no question of who Elena should be with. Only the once is it very briefly suggested that she might be more naturally suited to Damon yet it had already been made obvious that she and Stefan are soulmates
- there is little if no development of Bonnie, Meredith, Matt - which I thought was a shame, it became predictable and 'old'
- however, I did like reading it and found myself wanting to pick it up again after a few hours of putting it down as there was plenty of action, it was an enjoyable enough read
- I doubt I will buy the next two in the series to read, the synopsis doesn't interest me and I preferred the tension in the relationship of all three of them in the love triangle in the first series
- Hodder have proven awful as publishers, both with this book and the re-release of the original series in 2 vols. Typos and errors galore, I would not buy this book just on that basis and wait for a flawless (as it should be) second edition
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I tried to like it, but I just couldn't., 26 Feb 2009
By 
Rebecca Herman (USA) - See all my reviews
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Like many other readers here, I first read The Vampire Diaries series as a teenager, and really enjoyed it. Although I am in my 20s now, I was excited to see a continuation of the story, and see what happened next to the characters I had loved so much. However, I ended up completely disappointed by this book.

The biggest problem I had was the characters and setting in this book just didn't seem like they fit with how they were portrayed in the first four books. This book supposedly picks up right where book four ended, but the characters are completely different, and the magical and horror elements are pretty different from those featured in the older books. Also, this book just seemed overly long, like the writer attempted to stuff too much into one book. I think it would have worked better as two books - especially since this is a series, there's no reason not to divide it into more books if it works better this way.

I do realize it's been a long time since the original Vampire Diaries, and I respect that the writing style of an author can change with time. But rather than continuing a series that readers loved so much, and taking the characters in a direction that just doesn't fit with the original books, why did the author not create new characters and a new world and write a new series that fits with her current writing style? Had she put her talents to that, I think a lot of her older fans would have been a lot less disappointed. I ended up giving up on fully reading this book about halfway through and skimmed through the rest, hoping it would look more promising, but it didn't. I may try again when I've gotten over the disappointment of the book being so different from the rest of the series, but I would encourage those who truly loved the earlier books to avoid this one. They will likely end up disappointed as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 4 Mar 2010
By 
Mrs W. (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 5: Nightfall: Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return): 1/3 (Paperback)
I was very disappointed by this latest installment. While I was not blown away by the original Vampire Diaries books, I did enjoy them. However this book I really struggled with. The characters were so hard to connect with, the plot seemed to switch around with no explanation. I never really felt involved and I had to really make myself read it, which is not what you want in a book.... I especially find Bonnie's character incredibly wet and annoying. Elena's "struggle" with her feelings over Stefan/Damon was dull and frustrating. The relationships between the kitsune, malach and the possessed characters was lacking in information so I was left confused and not really sure what was happening, and to be honest, not really caring!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unimpressed!, 1 May 2010
By 
Ms. Kp Young (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 5: Nightfall: Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return): 1/3 (Paperback)
Like many, I read the first four books in the series and absolutely adored them, I could not put them down. So I was really excited to read the latest part of the story. The first four were an easy read that I could storm through and follow easily. This one however, had me re-reading paragraphs over and over to attempt to understand what was going on. It doesn't seem to flow like the others. There are a lot more darker elements in it, too, which disturbed me quite a lot and leaving me concerned as these book are normally displayed for sale under "children's reading". I understand that it's meant to display the wrongness and evil in the town but I think it went too far for a teenage book.

I am a fan of the Morganville Vampires series, Twilight saga, Sookie Stackhouse and Harper Connelly mysteries to name but a few, but this book did not do it for me.

I'm not giving up faith though I will be buying the rest and hoping they make up for this disappointment!
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