Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries: #1 Origins

Now we all know how The Vampire Diaries tv-series and the novels are different from one another.....with major proportions so yes this book that i'm about to write about i.e., #1 of the Stefan's Diaries: Origins is actually a prequel for the show not the books.Stefan's Diaries trilogy comprises of these following books in its catalogue - #1 Origins, #2 Bloodlust & #3 The Craving. Interesting enough the Stefan's Diaries trilogy does not mention an author on the cover page just "based on the novels by L.J. Smith and the tv series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec". Who knows who the writer is but I definitely devoured this book.

So without much further ado this is how the summary goes like:

Set during the Civil War, against a backdrop of grand estates, unimaginable riches, and deadly secrets, three teenagers in Mystic Falls, Virginia enter a torrid love triangle that will span eternity. Brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore are inseparable until they meet Katherine, a stunning, mysterious woman who turns their world upside down. Siblings turned rivals, the Salvatores compete for Katherine's affection, only to discover that her sumptuous silk dresses and glittering gems hide a terrible secret: Katherine is a vampire. And she is intent on turning them into vampires so they can live together-forever. 

TV show tie-ins can often be hit or miss, especially if they don’t stay true to cannon or the spirit of the characters. However, “Origins” manages to do both. We’ve seen bits and pieces of Stefan’s birth as a vampire throughout various flashbacks on the show, but this new book really fills in the blanks. A lot of familiar characters also appear throughout its pages, including Damon, Katherine, Jonathan Gilbert, Stefan’s father and vampires Pearl and Anna. A bit of the history of Pearl and Anna is also revealed. There are a few inconsistencies between the show and the details in the book, but they’re not really glaring enough to detract from the enjoyment.

Although a large number of errors can be found in the book if one decides to look but overall a great work of literature by the 'ghost writer'.......we don't really know the writer for this trilogy so its not exactly against the rules to give an obvious name to the one who penned it. The book gives us the backdrop or more specifically the origins of the series........of how the Salvatore brothers who were notably inseparable but were driven apart for the love of the mysterious and elegant Katherine Pierce. 

Origins details out Stefan's history. Prior to becoming a vampire he had been forced into an engagement to a woman named Rosalyn by both of their fathers. He didn’t love her, but wanted to follow his father’s wishes, no matter how much he wanted to rebel like Damon did. The book takes place over several weeks (possibly even a few months), where Katherine arrives in Mystic Falls and starts getting under Stefan’s skin, even with his engagement. When tragedy strikes, Katherine is there to ease Stefan’s pain. Because the story is told from Stefan’s point of view, the story between Katherine and Damon is somewhat limited. We only really know what Stefan knows. 

Going over some of the errors some would think that this series will not appeal to the fans but I believe  that this new series could easily stand on its own (as I believe L.J. Smith’s original series does) and be heartily enjoyed by those not even watching the show.

Despite its errors there were a few question that kept popping up. 

What happened to Emily Bennett? Was she playing both sides throughout the events of 1864 or was Katherine aware of/insistent upon all she did to help the Founders entrap the vamps? Somehow her grimoire ended up in Giuseppe Salvatore’s coffin who, according to the book, was buried a week after the death of his sons and the fire at the church. Did she die shortly thereafter? Did those she help with taking down the town’s vampires kill her and take her book by force? Where were the children Damon swore to protect?

Where on heaven or Earth did “Uncle” Zach Salvatore come from? I had hoped that this book might hint at another relative either in Mystic Falls or residing somewhere else. Though he’s been gone from our TV screens for at least a year, I can’t stop wondering about him (and the other “uncle” they mention being killed in 1953). Perhaps this is something that will be explained later with the construction of the Salvatore Boarding House.

While all this is completely mind-boggling to comprehend , there were enough things done right to make me jump up and down with impatience and excitement, waiting for the next installment. And, as a tried and true member of Team Stefan, I could not help but smile throughout as his voice was so true to character that it felt like Paul Wesley himself was reading the book aloud to me. The love doesn't end there, of course. In Bad Moon Rising, we heard Stefan tell Caroline a bit about his human self in an effort to explain the way one’s personality becomes more pronounced when he or she is turned. In Stefan’s Diaries, we get to see first hand why in present day he can hardly go more than an hour without a bit of self-flagellation. Evan as a human he was prone to send himself on long and torturous guilt trips over his feelings for Katherine, his perceived duty to his father and, though mutually exclusive, his struggle to remain loyal to both his brother and his town.

Another highlight as I have already mentioned above was finally getting a peek inside Stefan’s head while in the act of what I believe to be one of the most cringe-inducing moments on the show thus far. The book allows the reader to not only watch Stefan walk home to his father in mid-transformation but to walk with him – to feel his desperation as he begs his father for understanding, to feel his hurt and anger as he learns the truth of his own murder. And, finally, to feel his bloodlust as he gives in to drinking his father’s blood right from his own hands. Truly chilling and heartbreaking at the same time.

While I don't believe it is the best book I have ever read, as a fan of the Vampire Diaries series(i actually find the tv series much more appealing than the original series). I loved reading the details of how Stefan and Daemon became what they are in present day Mystic Falls.


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