Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries #2) by L. J. Smith

SUMMARY (from the publisher): Elena is torn between her boyfriend, Stefan, and his brother, Damon. But these brothers hide dark secrets and a tragic past that threatens them all. Damon wants to lead Elena astray – and he'd rather kill Stefan than let him possess her...


Firstly, I need to say I watched the TV show before starting reading the books. I totally loved it. So, the books are a little disappointing to me. Perhaps, it would be different if I had read the books first.

There is one major problem I have with this series so far: I miss some more depth. Smith is trying to develop the story and the characters, but it all remains more or less on the surface.

In The Struggle, Elena’s character grows a little. If the fact that she has to deal with being no longer a worshipped high school queen counts as growing. There are hints on her deeper personality, but Smith remains at that – hints. It is intriguing, however, witnessing Elena coping with her problems and the supernatural world she is drawn into.

The Salvatore brothers continue their feud, and again, the reader is mostly left to guess about their relationship, the reasons for their feud, their past, and their personalities. The same happens with Elena being torn between the brothers. The question how she feels about either of them and why are largely unanswered. Not that Smith does not tackle these issues; she does, but only superficially. I would like a deeper look. Perhaps she could use a little more meaningful dialogues for that purpose instead of mostly small talk and teenage bickering.

I think the reason for all these shortcomings is too much rushing. Smith often setts a scene or starts a confrontation between the characters, but then, just at it starts leading to some deeper discovery, it ends abruptly and moves on to the next action.

Nevertheless, there are some strong points which make The Struggle worth reading. The plot is interesting, with unexpected events and  new information on vampires. There are some witty and funny parts. The reader also gets to know minor characters better. The book reads smoothly and Smith’s writing is good, especially scenery descriptions. 

Generally, The Struggle is a book with a compelling plot. Therefore, despite all my complaints, I enjoyed reading this book, and will continue reading the series to see what happens next.  

RECOMMENDATION: If you want to read an interesting story, this might be a good book to spend a few hours with. Just expect there will still be some blanks to fill in after you finish it, or hopefully, the blanks will be filled in by the following books in the series. 


  1. I also watch the show, so I understand why you prefer it to the books. But I still can't wait to get my hands on Struggle. I'm sad the books are still lacking in depth, but I like the magic words unexpected events.:)

  2. @ Irena: I must admit I'm getting a little addicted to the series:) I read almost through half of The Fury yesterday and is is finally up to my expectations. And I think you won't have to wait much longer to get your hands on The Struggle, my copy is always available for you to to borrow it:)


Don't hesitate to drop me a few strange new words! I'd love to hear what you think!