The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall
I finished this one a couple of days ago, and while I loved the first half, the 2nd half left me somewhat bewildered (I couldn’t always tell if I was actually following the story correctly). I often found myself having to re-read sections just to understand the current situation that i was reading about.
Quick synopsis: Elena is back in what we expected to be “human” form, however she has actually regressed into “new spirit baby”. She is purely angelic, emanating a wholesome radiance. She is frustrated however, as she can think adult thoughts, but is unable to read, write, has forgotten how to speak, is obliged to communicate through basic sign language, and telepathy of images and feelings. She also has to rely on her basic “good vs. evil” instincts to understand her surroundings.
Stefan is her caretaker (after all, her family thinks she’s dead, and the town would simply not understand her paranormal circumstances), and although Stefan and Elena still share a deep loving bond, he feels it necessary to keep a distance when it comes to their love, as he fears he will be taking advantage of her. Of course Elena evolves as the story goes on, but just to give you an idea…
Throughout the book, we come to understand why such paranormal activity frequently takes hold in what should be, a quiet little town. We encounter new villains who throw the town (and our favorite characters) into a deluge of confusion, and danger.
L.J. Smith has a vivid imagination! She succeeded in scaring me ”Exorcist” style a few times throughout this installment. Her imagery is detailed, and her “scary scenes” have some terrific shock value.
Here’s an example (beginning of chapter 8): Meredith and Bonnie are having a sleepover and Meredith suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night to this:
Now Bonnie was bending over her, but with her face inverted and her eyes shut. She was kneeling at the head of Meredith’s pillow and her upside-down nose almost touched Meredith’s. Add to that an odd pallor on Bonnie’s cheeks and rapid warm breath that tickled Meredith’s forehead, and anyone-anyone, Meredith insisted to herself-would be entitled to a half-scream.
She waited for Bonnie to speak, staring in the gloom at those eerily closed eyes.
But instead, Bonnie sat up, walked backward flawlessly to Meredith’s desk, where Meredith’s mobile lay charging, and picked it up. She must have turned it on for a video recording for she opened her mouth and began to gesture and speak.
It was terrifying. The sounds that came out of Bonnie’s mouth were all too identifiable: backward speech.
All I can say is “EeeeeeeeeeK!!!” That was some creepy stuff (and there are more scenes like that, throughout the book). Loved that stuff!
My favorite part of the book, of course was Damon, Damon and more Damon – specifically his witty internal dialogue (all of Chapter 12). We are treated to a whole section of his internal musings, (ie: his contemplation of Matt’s name and what MATT must stand for – very funny) and I just had to bookmark this part for other Damon fans out there. Here is an example:
Bonnie is wounded and Damon has taken it upon himself to help her:
Damon changed position slightly to be more comfortable and turned the hot water up again, all while holding Bonnie, feeding her, all-he knew-gracefully and without a wasted movement. This was fun. It appealed to his sense of ridiculous. Here, right now, a vampire was not supping from a human, but was trying to save it from certain death by feeding it vampire blood.
There is so much more to this section, but I will allow you the opportunity to experience it in full. While I was tempted to copy out the whole chapter right here (it is that good, in my opinion, and is the heart of where the story is going with future installments), instead, I will try not to ruin your own pleasure of reading it as it was meant to be read.
Of course, I wanted more like that chapter (it’s a nice breather!), and on occasion, we get it, but the remainder of the book revolves around fighting evil, and more “scary” scenes.
While the book is a lot of fun (and I am anxious for the next installment), it is not one that I was able to read late into the night. This book requires a bit more concentration than my sleepy mind could muster!