Book Review – Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall by L.J. Smith

by Maryse on March 27, 2009 · 17 comments

in L.J. Smith, My Book Reviews

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!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela Styles March 29, 2009 at 1:09 PM

I loved this book too!!!! The scenes with Caroline’s possession made me want to sleep with a nightlight on! And I’m 27!!!!And your completely right, this book is a lot more complex and thought provoking than the first four, and there were spots I had to re-read to make sure I was taking it in as it was meant to be, but overall, an awesome, creepy, spine-tingling, great read! And I must not forget to mention that seeing the inner working of Damon (even a possessed Damon) was a thrill all by itself!

Maryse March 29, 2009 at 6:03 PM

@Angela Styles

Oh yes, and what about the crab/spider walking!! ACK! I loved all of Damon’s “baby bird” references. Too sweet for such a bad guy!

Angela Styles April 4, 2009 at 3:47 AM

Agreed! I’m really excited about the next book Shadow Souls, I think we’ll really get a chance to see the real Damon without him being possessed right from the get go. And maybe,just maybe a little more action between him and Bonnie. I’m also insanely curious as to how on earth the gang will get Stefan back. Here is to hoping Shadow Souls gets published soon, as I’m drooling for more Damon already!

Kenzie June 15, 2009 at 10:52 PM

I think this one was my favorite out of all of them.. and you just dont know whats goig out with Damon and it makes it so exciting! This book is so so intense and i really cant wait for the next one to come out!

Kaya R. July 9, 2009 at 12:34 AM

I loved the first four books of this series. Can’t wait to read this one!!!!!!!!!

Ivonne December 15, 2009 at 2:26 PM

OMG this book is soo good I found myself addicted by it. i cant put it down. i am also excited for the next book hope it comes out soon because i want to know what happened to Stefan and of course i want to see more of Damon!

Danielle December 27, 2009 at 1:37 AM

I’m really scared to read this book lol, I know Stefan is like gone so it makes me sad but then again Damon is there-even though he is possessed- and I really like Damon…but I have a thing for Stefan lol. So I guess I want Stefan with Elena and Damon with Bonnie :]. I haven’t even read this one and I already want the next one so I can see if and how they get Stefan backkkk.

Maryse December 27, 2009 at 12:09 PM

Damon is great in it! You have to read it :) (but it’s possible I’m biased since Damon is my favorite)…

Kathryn January 2, 2010 at 9:39 PM

i really liked the book….it just seemed kinda out there. almost like it wasnt a vampire diaries book at all. with the exception of the characters. as far as like the magical keys and elena flying and the shinichi (sp?) guy. it was a tad disappointing how it just didnt seem like a vampire diaries book. but overall i liked it. and of course i LOVED damon. lol. forget edward cullen i want me some damon ;) lol

Elana January 12, 2010 at 9:05 PM

I was VERY dissapointed in this book for one, Elena wasnt herself! She is one of my favourite character and its almost like it isnt even her! In the other book when elena dies i stoped reading it because it was boring but i started reading it again and she came back! Klaus was awesome and didnt seem mean at all! lol!!! :P , I wasnt A HUGE fan of this book but i cant wait till the next on! Btw, on the last book was that katherine on the cover?

Rin March 21, 2010 at 1:04 PM

I was in love with the first four books, but was let down by this latest installment. It shows that the author took a long, long break between publishing this book from the last. Elena, Stefan, and Damon’s characters changed quite dramatically in my opinion. She referenced technology that didn’t exist in 1992, and some parts were downright confusing. She lost a lot of her descriptive powers that had me so drawn in the first four times around and resorted to ‘Twilight-like’ worship of her own characters— more often than not describing Damon as ‘drop dead gorgeous, beautiful, model-like, ect, ect, ect.’. Yeah, we get it already. He’s good looking. Yippy.

Overall I was disappointed. The writing style of this book seemed far more juvenile and lacked descriptive creativity. It had some good moments, but I felt Damon’s character was completely butchered. Shame.

Joleen May 14, 2010 at 11:48 AM

This book was so confusing to follow. I started reading it right after the first 4… the characters were not any where close to being the same. “Lovely little love love”? Really? When Stefan was talking to Elena, it made me annoyed/sick. That is not how he talked to her in the previous books, so why is he now?

I didn’t like how it jumped all over the place. I had to re-read certain sections a few times to try to understand what the heck was going on! It seemed like it was dragged on… like the entire book was just an outline and LJ Smith forgot to narrow down the thoughts into a story.

Overall, a disappointment. I hope the next installment is better!

Maria March 22, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Great book! I was so thrilled to read it! :)

charmaine July 16, 2012 at 7:41 AM

i really love vampire diaries guys.. im crazy about it.

Damon March 5, 2014 at 12:45 AM

It’s really great :) and i really love vampire diaries because im the one of the character in this book……LoL :)

Anne Larissa December 2, 2018 at 3:53 PM

I am reading this book right now and I love it,! but it is a part that I don’t understand, chapter 33-34. Can you please explain what happens here? I think it would explain a lot to me! Thanks!

Confused December 2, 2018 at 4:00 PM

I am reading this book right now and I love it! Can barely put it down! But there’s a part in the book that I don’t get…Can you please explain what happend in chapter 33-34 to me?

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