SUMMARY (from the publisher): Elena Gilbert is used to getting what she wants and she wants mysterious new boy, Stefan. But Stefan is hiding a deadly secret – a secret that will change Elena’s life for ever…
The Awakening has a compelling topic, but unfortunately does not fully develop its potential.
To start with, it took me almost half of the book to really get into it. I only kept reading because I knew it had to get better at one point. And it did. But not for long.
The first thing that bothered me was the small town high school atmosphere with a group of spoiled teenagers and their petite ambitions and feuds. Elena’s character in particular did not seem very likeable. My first impression of her was that of a lofty, over confident, and shallow high school queen, preoccupied with her porcelain Barbie doll beauty. She considers boys adorable, but expendable, puppies she tosses aside as she gets tired of them.
In time, Smith lets the reader see deeper into Elena, revealing her complexity: how she hurts from missing her parents, longs to find her place in the world, and searches for true love. Stefan Salvatore is the first boy who makes her nervous and the only one who dares to ignore her. Therefore, her pride offended, she pledges to conquer him if it kills her.
As Elena’s character develops and the reader starts learning more about Stefan, the book becomes a captivating read. However, it also rushes forward much too quickly. Instead of delving into characters’ growth and exploring their history and relationships, the events just go by in fast-forward mode. Thus, both Elena’s dealing with Stefan’s true nature and the history of the Salvatore brothers lack somewhat more detailed treatment which would make the story richer and the characters easier to understand.
Overall, in spite of these shortcomings, The Awakening is an entertaining start of the series, promising perhaps a better continuation of the story in the following books.
RECOMMENDATION: If you want a relaxing, easy read with a little mystery, and you are not too demanding, this is a good book to spend a lazy afternoon with.