Back again with a new What Are You Reading. It's a day late thanks to raging storms in West Virginia yesterday, knocking out the internet connection in my Secret Lair. I miss DSL y'all.
This week, I've been reading the Vampire Diaries. (Peer pressure, I cave to it.) I finished reading the first book, The Awakening, I'm working on the second, The Struggle, and skipping ahead to peek at various scenes in later books, of which there are many. We've gone over my bad reading habits before, right? Right.
(Prepare yourself for the inevitable Twilight comparisons)
The Awakening introduces Elena Gilbert, the cool, aloof, uber popular Ice Princess of Robert E Lee high school. She's the girl every guy wants to be with and every girl wants to be. And most guys HAVE been with her, at least on a date. But Elena wants more out of life, though she doesn't know what that more is yet. All she knows is that popularity ain't cutting it, and while she jumps from date to date trying to make a connection, she remains lonely and unsatisfied. Until Stefan Salvatore comes to school.
Elena has never wanted anything or anyone as much as Stefan; dark, handsome, foreign, and irresistible. An easy conquest she thinks: nothing that she's ever wanted has eluded her before, certainly nothing male. But Stefan defies her attempts at even civil conversation.
As Elena continues her seemingly futile quest to gain Stefans attention and a date, all is not well in her town of Fells Church. Her childhood friend Caroline is suddenly out to get her. Another friend, Bonnie, has discovered she's psychic and begins prophesying some scary shit. People are being attacked by an unknown and possibly non-human assailant, a strange crow has been following Elena around town, and another young man of unknown origin keeps popping up whom Elena is alternately drawn to and repulsed by.
What is going on in Fells Church and why does it all seem to be centering around Elena?
We don't really find out in this book. What we DO find out: Stefan is a vampire. Kind of a whiny one too. His brother may or may not be bad-ass and awesome and a real vampire. Elena and her friends Bonnie and Meredith MIGHT have personalities and depth but we can't be sure from the first book. Likewise, Elena might be a Mary Sue, though her almost whoring tendencies help keep it in check.
Twilight comparisons begin ... NOW:
To generalize, I like it better than Twilight. That is not a glowing commendation by any means, but that's what you get.
+10 for having something resembling a plot and effective -if glaringly obvious - foreshadowing.
Elena is not QUITE a Mary Sue yet. Sure, she's beautiful and sweet and smart and the queen of the school, but when she acts like a brat she gets called on it, WHICH I GREATLY APPRECIATE THANK YOU VERY LITTLE STEPHENIE MEYER. She's beautiful, shallow and self absorbed, though not so much on purpose as she tends to forget other people have problems. When she remembers, she apologizes and tries to make up for it. In most cases she tries to be considerate to others and is apparently loyal to her friends. I can't think of any examples of this offhand, but it's mentioned.
In the very first chapter, as Elena is writing in her diary (oh I see what you did thar), we see that this is a very lonely and lost girl at heart. She's trying to find home, a place she hasn't felt since her parents died, and she's looking - misguidedly in my opinion- for that home in another person. But that misguided search is part of what makes Elena a more believable character than Bella in my opinion. She is not "an adult trapped in a teenagers body." This is a teenager with all the foibles and flaws, mistakes and misadventures one has when one is young and dumb and infatuated. In my opinion, all this adds up to a character who may not be entirely likable, but is one who's more believable and slightly sympathetic.
Stefan is the prototype for Edward McEmopants. Wah, I'm a vampire and I don't want to be one I just want to try have a normal life blah blah blah. Thank God he's not a perfect marble cupcake Adonis* or else I'd have to smack a bitch. His avoiding Elena and related infatuation is better explained than just 'she smells so om nom-able and she's so purely good I must protect her and klutz-adorableness even though she can never love me in return woe.' Elena looks almost exactly like Katherine, the vampire who turned Stefan in Renaissance Florence and whom he and his brother loved (mmm kinky) and who died because Stefan and his brother Damon couldn't get their shit together and because she was, well, retarded.
But Stefan grows to love Elena NOT because she's like Katherine, but because she's DIFFERENT from Katherine omgwtfbbq. Elena is strong and opinionated and knows what she wants (totally unlike wishy-washy fickle Katherine no Katherine you can't have both brothers no you cannot NO YOU CANNOT PUT ONE BACK WE CAN ONLY AFFORD TO FEED ONE).
Also cool, there are actual explanations for why Stefan and his brother can go outside in the daylight, how they eat (fangs! Yay!), what they eat (Stefan continues to throw his hat in the ring of Biggest Vampire Pussy Ever by eating bunnies even though eating people gives you awesome Powers which allow you to ...not...be a...vampire pussy...*headdesk*)
NOT QUITE MAIN CHARACTERS:
They have more personality than just about every side character from Twilight rolled together with the possible exception of the werewolves. Seriously, the Quilloute wolves need a reality show. I'd watch it over and over and over and over and over and over again. Carrying on: ROLL CALL!
Meredith: She has a brain and routinely calls Elena on her spastic self absorbed shit. For this, she has my eternal love, even if she isn't precognitive and steals cars.
Bonnie: Flaky, psychic, a little creepy but largely comic relief and plot mover and shaker. She's an adorable ball of magical fluff who's rightly terrified of her own growing powers. I kind of love her.
Matt: Elena's latest spurned love, and yet he's SO NICE. He also calls Elena on her self absorption but then rolls right on over and lets her kick him like a retarded puppy. Matt has issues. I want to hug him and kick 'im in the balls at the same time for competing with Stefan for the Wussiest Wuss Award of the year. I hope some nice girl takes him and rides him like the beast of burden he's determined to be.
Damon: Holy shit it's a man with a spine....aaaaaaaand he's a douche. A stalker douche. A stalker douche who's at least HONEST about his desire to wet Elena's panties EDWARD. Seriously Wardo, either you want the girl to jump your bones or you don't. PICK ONE. Damon is, as mentioned above, Stefans brother. Stefan's OLDER brother. And he takes serious issue with Stefan being such a girl. I'm kind of waiting for Damon to give Stefan a box of tampons for Christmas...if he doesn't kill him first. +3 for killing people, +3 for holding a grudge, +4 for shape shifting and other vampiric abilities, and +5 for being an all around bad-ass evil hottie.
Is that everybody? Probably not. Did I forget anything? Probably so. Do I care? Definitely not.
Can you tell what's on my To Be Read pile? ONWARD TO FINISHING BOOK 2 THE STRUGGLE!
I Vant to Suck Your Blood,
*All credit goes to Miss Cleolinda Jones.
- Maria D'Isidoro
- was sold to gypsies as a small child for half a tank of gas and a kitten. She was quickly, if not easily, retrieved by her mother after the kitten was revealed to be an Eldrich horror looking for a ride into the nearest metropolitan area to begin wreaking havoc. It's been a bone of contention between Maria and her family ever since, whether the Horror-kitten would've been more or less trouble than she grew up to be.