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The Return: Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries) - L. J. Smith Poor continuation of the series

It was only after the CW picked this up as a show that I started reading THE VAMPIRE DIARIES last month. The first omnibus (books 1 & 2) was decent, and the next omnibus (books 3 & 4) was so-so. However, nothing prepared me for this book. The lack of continuity, poor writing, limited character development, and an entirely too long narrative combined for a very unsatisfying read.

The first concern was its lack of continuity. Though the story picks up seven days after the events of the last book, the setting has been propelled from the early `90s to the present, complete with smart phones, web sites, and digital camcorders. The writing also showed a significant decline. In one scene, Elena is in a car and in the same sentence she is standing in a clearing. No mention is ever made that she got out of the vehicle. Later on the same page, she is described as being startled into an upright posture, but we were never told that she was crouching or bent over. Though these may seem like minor inconsistencies, it was this kind of writing throughout that made for jarring reading.

For the plot covered, the book is entirely too long at nearly 600 pages. Due to the constant focus on action, there is no real character development. The book is entirely focused on the characters' continual attempts to save themselves or others from more malicious things that want to get them. The plot lines involving Elena's new powers are also unbelievable (and not in a good way). Combined, these aren't enough to move along the book. The author seemed to want to ratchet up the horror factor by including non-stop attacks on Elena and Co., but it felt very contrived. A very big ick factor was also added in this volume, with offensive or abusive sexual actions being inflicted or acted out by characters who were possessed. While I understood that this was meant to show us how evil the beings were, I found it unsettling and felt that it didn't add to the story.

Given my experience with this book, I don't plan to read any future books in this series (if there are any, which seems likely given the book's ending). However, I do hope that L. J. Smith produces a better follow-up to capture her fans' interest again.