Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries: #2 Bloodlust

After a tantalizing read that serves the prelude for the Stefan's Diaries a.k.a the beginning for the Vampire Diaries through the eyes of Stefan, I now proceed to the next book in the trilogy #2 Bloodlust. And it was I dare say even better than its predecessor. 

Here is how the summary for the book goes like:

A new beginning . . .When Stefan Salvatore's first love turned him into a vampire, his world—and his soul—were destroyed. Now he and his brother, Damon, must flee their hometown, where they risk being discovered . . . and killed. The brothers head to New Orleans, looking for safe haven. But the city is more dangerous than they ever imagined, full of other vampires—and vampire hunters. Will Stefan's eternal life be forever damned? Based on the popular CW TV show inspired by the bestselling novels, Stefan's Diaries reveals the truth about what really happened between Stefan, Damon, and Katherine—and how the Vampire Diaries love triangle began. 

After going along the ride with the Salvatore brothers as they fall in love with Stefan and Damon and destroy their perfectly calm and peaceful lives in book 1. Vol. 2: Bloodlust, leaves off just days after Stefan and Damon Salvatore are murdered by their father and awaken newly undead.

The book is bloody. Right away it’s bloody. And while that is the only way I like my vampire stories, this time it was a bit unsettling. Our darling Stefan Salvatore, a century and a half away from becoming the hoodie-clad martyr we’ve grown to know and love, is thirsty. And in this time and place a bunny just will not do. The first of his victims we meet in this telling is a girl he once crushed on. It is easy to picture a sinister leer behind his sweet smile as he callously flirts with her before ripping open her jugular. It was enough to give me chills and cause an audible “yikes!!” to escape my mouth. Watching Stefan take his short walk down the human blood path after the events of Let The Right One In left me ill-equipped to witness the kind of vampire Stefan is capable of being. This Stefan Salvatore is truly terrifying.

Unfortunately Stefan’s old flame is not the last of his unwilling and quickly dismissed victims as he and the still death wish-laden Damon make their way to New Orleans. As an avid watcher of The Vampire Diaries television series, it is disconcerting at best to know that there was a time when Damon not only abstained from drinking, nearing the point of starvation, but asked Stefan not to as well. Not that Stefan listened. (Why does this sound familiar?) And after watching Stefan spend his first hours in New Orleans draining as he pleases, Damon has had enough and leaves Stefan to his own thirst.

And while this is all, as I said, unsettling, it is also very exciting. It is our first peek into this part of the brothers’ lives. Not a bit of it had even been hinted at on the television series, let alone shown in flashbacks. Not yet anyway. My favorite part of the story comes not long after Damon takes off on his own when Stefan comes face to face with the girl who will become his best friend: Lexi. Although we don't see Lexi as the same way in season 2 Let the right ones in, when Stefan accounts to Elena that Lexi came to Mystic Falls not the other way round. 

It was thrilling to read how she helped Stefan get his bloodlust under control, teaching him how to exist in his new life, much in the way Stefan has done with Caroline in season 2 of the series. Seeing this through Stefan’s eyes makes it that much more heart-crushing to know that she is eventually taken from him. She was written well, her tone and movements easy to envision being brought to life by Arielle Kebbel.

Another character written exceptionally well was Damon. I found it to be highly believable that being captured and kept as a caged animal would put him over the edge in his hatred for Stefan. Having to fight for survival at the hands of barbarian humans could make anyone ready to unleash the monster within. His biting sarcasm and devilish smirk came across as if being watched on screen rather than read from the page. And while savage and violent, the cold-blooded way in which he murdered and drank Stefan’s latest love felt very in character for the Damon we first met on television in the Pilot.

It really tugged at me to see him still dreaming of Katherine and feeling lonely without her despite his hatred for what she had done to him and his family. Yet while feeling it was a great deal more shallow than his falling for Katherine, his quick love for Callie was a strong reminder that even though now a cold-blooded killer, he is also still a 17-year old boy. His end statement after losing Callie that he would never again fall for a human girl made me both squeee and groan.

Stefan goes through a lot of character development in this book. He starts off as a monster, but because of what happens during this story, he changes and grows. Stefan is in a new city, and is forced to face a myriad of new challenges. Damon goes through his own tough times, but his character doesn't grow much. And don't go thinking that you could go through a whole Vampire Diaries novel without any romance, oh no there is plenty in this book.

Even though L.J. Smith isn't the true writer of these books, nor is Kevin Williamson or Julie Plec, the ghostwriter for this series is doing a tremendous job. I like to think of Stefan's Diaries as a separate entity from the show or the original novels by Smith, and I advise anyone interested in this series does so as well, if you are looking to enjoy them fully.

Bloodlust has a very interesting storyline. Within New Orleans, readers get to experience the nightlife of the city, a circus that may just be the end to the Salvatore brothers, and a house filled with vampires. Suffice to say, the story was quite unlike anything I've read before.


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