Mandy Reviews: L. J. Smith—"The Vampire Diaries" (Book 3: The Fury)
Aargghhh! Okay, it is absolutely impossible to review The Fury, without giving away plot spoilers for the first two books in this series. So, if you haven’t read The Awakening or The Struggle, yet… stop here. Now. Do not read any further. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Wow, LJ Smith continues to surprise, in more ways than one. The first thing that’s hard to get over in this series, is how contemporary they feel, even though they were first published twenty years ago. I keep looking for give-aways, you know, references to clothing, music, anything that sets them in the nineties, but they’re just not there. Sure, Elena and her friends discuss these things, but there’s nothing specific to date the stories.
The second thing that’s so surprising is what Smith actually dares to do with her characters. The main ones, that is. The end of book 2 saw Elena in an horrific car accident, forced off the bridge by an evil, unnamed force and into freezing water. Although Stefan managed to pull her lifeless body from the wreckage, it was too late… or was it?
Book 3 picks up exactly where book 2 left off, with vampiric brothers Stefan and Damon in a violent fight over Elena’s death. Of course, Stefan blames Damon for killing his true love, and all because she chose Stefan instead of the evil Damon.
And then…<SPOILER ALERT>… Elena wakes up. Yep, she’s shared so much blood with both brothers, that when death comes knocking, the vampire answers. Now, as a reader of probably an unhealthy amount of vampire fiction, I have to say – this doesn’t happen. Ever. Well, not in the middle book of a series anyway. The human girl is supposed to stay, you know, human. So, without giving any more away, this is the basic plot of The Fury – Elena trying to control her bloodlust, and, as she was technically ‘made’ by both brothers, her connection to both Damon (swoon) and Stefan. We see another side to Damon too, as his character develops into much more than just a monster. He genuinely cares for Elena, and the brothers begin to work together with the girl they love to defeat the other, mysterious Big Bad in Fell’s Church. This entity, they discover, is the same Big Bad who pushed Elena from the bridge and has caused much of the havoc around town in the first two books.
All the characters in The Vampire Diaries grow in book 3. LJ Smith has done a remarkable job of yet again turning Elena from the spoilt golden girl we met in book 1, into a character you can really feel for. The loneliness and isolation she feels from her human family is totally believable. We also learn far more about Bonnie and Meredith, Elena’s best friends, with Bonnie’s magical gift a central part of the storyline. There are a handful of other characters who’ve featured in bit parts in the first two books and have key roles this time around – Alaric the supposed History teacher, who has much to hide, Tyler, the mean human teen who hates Stefan with a passion (getting your neck pumped for blood will do that) and Matt, Elena’s ex-boyfriend, who is almost too forgiving to be true. This bigger, brighter cast makes for even more twists and turns than the first two books.
The Fury is still Elena’s story, told from a first person point of view, as well as excerpts from her diary. Of course, becoming a vampire puts a whole new perspective on things, and it’s a welcome and unexpected change. She has new challenges to deal with (and not just the obvious), as well as some of the old ones – that love triangle just became a hell of a lot more complicated.
Shocking endings seem to be LJ Smith’s trademark, and The Fury is no exception. But this one is different – and it might just bring a tear to your eye.
L. J. Smith — Fury (The Vampire Diares: Book 3)
Published December 31, 2008, by Harper (imprint of Harper Collins)
Paperback— 245 pages.
ISBN 978 0 06 201959 2