Review: The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls

Posted 14 April, 2010 by Danny in / 22 Comments

The Vampire Diaries The Return: vol 2 Shadow Souls

Author: LJ Smith
Published March 2010
Amazon

Book Description:

On the run . . .

Elena Gilbert’s love, the vampire Stefan Salvatore, has been captured and imprisoned by demonic spirits who are wreaking havoc in Fell’s Church. While her friends Bonnie and Meredith explore the evil that has taken over their town, Elena goes in search of Stefan.

In order to find him, she entrusts her life to Stefan’s brother, Damon Salvatore, the handsome but deadly vampire who wants Elena, body and soul. Along with her childhood friend Matt, they set out for the slums of the Dark Dimension, where Stefan is being held captive. It is rumored to be a world where vampires and demons roam free, but humans must live enslaved to their supernatural masters. . . .

Elena will stop at nothing to free Stefan. Yet with each passing day the tension between Elena and Damon grows, and she is faced with a terrible decision: Which brother does she really want?
Back in Fell’s Church, Bonnie and Meredith have made some dire discoveries. They hastily try to follow Elena and warn her—only to be caught up in Elena’s most dangerous adventure yet.

My thoughts:

The first 3 books of the Vampire Diaries weren’t too bad. They were kind of corny and definitely geared toward young adults. The fourth book and this fifth book have been atrocious. I find LJ Smith’s writing very confusing, her third person POV jumps back and forth so much I have a hard time trying to figure out who she’s writing about.

Shadow Souls (of which there were none in the entire 600 pages of the book) basically tells the mundane tale of Elena and Damon trudging through the Dark Dimension to free Stefan from his prison cell. Along the way, Elena and Damon make out a lot even though Stefan is supposedly her soul mate. Bonnie and Meredith come along for the ride and the three girls have to pose as Damon’s slaves so they don’t seem out of place in the Dark Dimension. The four of them must find two halves of a key the Japanese fox bad guys from the last book hid in this dimension, which is basically a third world country with bondage.

None of the characters have much spark. Elena is basically a vapid blond bimbo. Matt, Meredith, and Bonnie have been reduced to fourth string characters who barely participate in the story. Caroline is a bitchy pregnant animal and all the girls in town are still possessed.

I’m sure the point of this book was to free Stefan, but that could have been done in 300 pages. Cut out the useless stuff and the book could have been pretty good.

Will I buy the next book in the series? Probably. The last chapter pulled a Joss Whedon on you and basically made me want the next book. LJ Smith, I’m not sure you really deserve my money.

Final verdict: Watch the tv version of Vampire Diaries. The show is much more entertaining and actually makes sense. Plus you get eye candy like Ian Somerholder to look at. If you want to read this series of books, stick with the first three.

Obsessive Reader by Night – Scientist at Day!
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22 Responses to “Review: The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls”

  1. RaShell

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Heather!!! It's not just me then 😉 I dutifully read first 3 books (the beginning was quite promising) but literally couldn't make myself finish this one, even though I felt like I invested so much time in the series… To me, things stopped making sense in the 3rd book. and the progression of Elena from a cliche "popular girl" who always gets her way (tragic parents' death notwithstanding) to a …flying angel. What? Why??? I thought it was bizarre at most. I also had an overwhelming feeling that the author doesn't like her characters. She seemed fascinated with the bad guys, but the main ones, human or otherwise, were flat as a piece of cardboard… That said, I am totally in love with what the TV writers are doing with it. It's fun to watch, characters are edgy but likable and "real". I'll just keep watching and there's no way I'm getting new books.

  2. RaShell

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Heather!!! It's not just me then 😉 I dutifully read first 3 books (the beginning was quite promising) but literally couldn't make myself finish this one, even though I felt like I invested so much time in the series… To me, things stopped making sense in the 3rd book. and the progression of Elena from a cliche "popular girl" who always gets her way (tragic parents' death notwithstanding) to a …flying angel. What? Why??? I thought it was bizarre at most. I also had an overwhelming feeling that the author doesn't like her characters. She seemed fascinated with the bad guys, but the main ones, human or otherwise, were flat as a piece of cardboard… That said, I am totally in love with what the TV writers are doing with it. It's fun to watch, characters are edgy but likable and "real". I'll just keep watching and there's no way I'm getting new books.

  3. Mrs. Vanquish

    This is what I call a honest review, thanks so much! We chatted when I was reading the first three books and right from the beginning I felt like "what the heck??". It has to be said that I read the first ones in German and I thought it was the super bad translation that made those books so incredibly bad. I thought I was reading a kids books. I mean yes, it's supposed to be a YA book, but that doesn't give the excuse for the bad story and character development. I didn't even like Elena… Actually I didn't like any of the characters! One side note: Stefan was in the German translation Stefano. Why?? Give me one reason why make a Stefano out of Stefan since Stefan is a popular German name as well? I read the first 3 books and they were ..Ok..not more than 2 stars but then I started the 4th and I stopped – I didn't finished it and this barley happens! I'm super super super happy with what they did with the TV show!, they made characters, not those flat everyday characterless people I found in the books. So I totally agree with both of you, Heather and @Rashell watching the show is fun and I love the storyline's they are creating!So sorry, but I will not put my money in those books! They are so many good YA books out there where I happily spend my money! Great Review Heather!!

  4. Mrs. Vanquish

    This is what I call a honest review, thanks so much!

    We chatted when I was reading the first three books and right from the beginning I felt like "what the heck??". It has to be said that I read the first ones in German and I thought it was the super bad translation that made those books so incredibly bad. I thought I was reading a kids books. I mean yes, it's supposed to be a YA book, but that doesn't give the excuse for the bad story and character development. I didn't even like Elena… Actually I didn't like any of the characters!

    One side note: Stefan was in the German translation Stefano. Why?? Give me one reason why make a Stefano out of Stefan since Stefan is a popular German name as well?

    I read the first 3 books and they were ..Ok..not more than 2 stars but then I started the 4th and I stopped – I didn't finished it and this barley happens!

    I'm super super super happy with what they did with the TV show!, they made characters, not those flat everyday characterless people I found in the books. So I totally agree with both of you, Heather and @Rashell watching the show is fun and I love the storyline's they are creating!

    So sorry, but I will not put my money in those books! They are so many good YA books out there where I happily spend my money!

    Great Review Heather!!

  5. Annie Cristina

    I was not sure if I should buy this book or not, and I'm so glad I read your review before ordering it. Thanks for being so honest!

  6. Annie Cristina

    I was not sure if I should buy this book or not, and I'm so glad I read your review before ordering it. Thanks for being so honest!

  7. One Pushy Fox

    It's refreshing to find an instance where the book isn't actually better than the show. 🙂 Great review, babe!

  8. One Pushy Fox

    It's refreshing to find an instance where the book isn't actually better than the show. 🙂 Great review, babe!

  9. Lindsey

    I bought the first book many, many months ago and I can't get past the first three chapters. Great review.

  10. Lindsey

    I bought the first book many, many months ago and I can't get past the first three chapters. Great review.

  11. Natalie (Mindful Mus

    I'd have to agree with you. I keep reading them, but the last two haven't been very good. I have this thing where I have to finish a series once I've started it though….And the TV version is DEFINITELY better. I actually enjoy it! 🙂

  12. Natalie (Mindful Mus

    I'd have to agree with you. I keep reading them, but the last two haven't been very good. I have this thing where I have to finish a series once I've started it though….And the TV version is DEFINITELY better. I actually enjoy it! 🙂

  13. ahz1

    Thank you! I am so glad I am not the only one who thought the book series was bad. I just hated Elena in the books. And since I read them out of order (I take what I can get at the library)they really didn't make sense at all. I do like LJ Smith's other series, Dark Visions and I think the Night world series because I love her version of soulmates.I do love the TV show way better. And every episode that Stefan takes off his shirt is definately a good episode.By the way, did anyone catch Vampire Diaries episode last night? They did the bedroom kissing scene from Twilight, complete with Stefan flying backwards into the wall. AH

  14. ahz1

    Thank you! I am so glad I am not the only one who thought the book series was bad. I just hated Elena in the books. And since I read them out of order (I take what I can get at the library)they really didn't make sense at all. I do like LJ Smith's other series, Dark Visions and I think the Night world series because I love her version of soulmates.

    I do love the TV show way better. And every episode that Stefan takes off his shirt is definately a good episode.

    By the way, did anyone catch Vampire Diaries episode last night? They did the bedroom kissing scene from Twilight, complete with Stefan flying backwards into the wall. AH

  15. Mrs. Vanquish

    I haven't read her other series but I might give it a try since you said you liked them! @ahz1: I'm on holidays right now and I'm dying to see the next episode but won't have a chance until next week *frowns*. Stefan, kissing, twilight..ohmygod… can't wait!

  16. Mrs. Vanquish

    I haven't read her other series but I might give it a try since you said you liked them!

    @ahz1: I'm on holidays right now and I'm dying to see the next episode but won't have a chance until next week *frowns*. Stefan, kissing, twilight..ohmygod… can't wait!

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