Jen (Books that Spark)'s Reviews > Nightfall

Nightfall by L.J. Smith
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May 31, 2011

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The Return: Nightfall is the fifth book in L. J. Smith's popular Vampire Diaries series. The four prior to this book were written in 1991 making it eighteen years since the last instalment. The purpose for this series could have been influenced by the increased popularity surrounding the series as a result of the TV show adapted from the first books. It's important to note that the books differ quite a lot from the TV series and as a result are to be appreciated in their own right.
One point I need to make is that in the time between the release of The Reunion and this instalment it's evident that L. J. Smith's writing style has changed and because of this the tone of this book differs from what fans of the series will have grown to expect. There's a much more darker feel to this book as well as, to me, being a bit more 'grown up'. This is understandable after there being almost two decades between books. I feel it'd be wrong to compare this book to the previous four.
Regardless of this, The Return: Nightfall picks up where previous book, The Reunion, left off. Elena is back from her afterlife and has to learn the basics of being human again. For instance, she forgets about gravity and the appropriate manners of recognising someone. With the help of her vampire boyfriend Stefan Salvatore and her three best friends, Elena learns how to live among the human world once again. Although the problems are far from over. Evil forces are gathering around Fell's Church as a result of the power given off from Elena's return from the Other Side.
L.J. Smith hinted that The Return books would have a lot more focus of Damon's character rather than Stefan and this was evident in this book. Stefan is captured and out of reach of Elena, just when she needs him the most. Enter Damon. The reader gets a deeper insight into Damon in this book after only glimpses of the events from his point of view in the previous books. So far, the reader will have only been able to speculate about Damon's feelings. However, as this progresses, we learn more about him in greater depth than before. He is definitely one of my favourite characters in both the book and TV series. He's got a lot of layers to his character, most of which are hidden and this draws me to him. He's full of wit too which is never a bad thing.
I didn't like the previous book of the series, The Reunion, that much and any hopes of redemption in this one have disappeared upon completing this instalment. Although it wasn't short of action, I can only describe it as 'messy'. It mostly consists of long ramblings, some of which had no significance to the overall plot. The events of the plot seem to leap from one another with no obvious connection being made.
On a more positive note, the ending was compelling enough to ensure that I read the next instalment, The Return: Shadow Souls. I would still recommend this series to those who like to read fantasy literature or those who've enjoyed the TV show.

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