Review: Nightfall by L.J. Smith

Spoilers for The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith through Book 4:  Dark Reunion. 

This is going to be a difficult one to review because I hardly know what to think of it. I gave it a 3/5 stars on Goodreads initially after I finished it, but now I’m thinking more of a 2.5. It’s ok, but I had a lot of issues with it.

Nightfall is technically the fifth book in the Vampire Diaries series, although I believe it is most common these days to find the first four books in two bind-ups. It picks up shortly after the events of Dark Reunion, which left us with the happiest ending we’d seen in the series: Elena returned from the dead, human again.

But Elena, we find, is not quite herself…and neither is Damon. The town of Fell’s Church, meanwhile, is facing even more supernatural weirdness than ever before; facing powers darker than any its ever seen, drawn to the new and strange power that is Elena.

I found this book to be a lot darker than some of its predecessors, it has a lot of scenes that reminded me of movies like  The Exorcist (Not that I’ve seen that movie, I’m a big chicken when it comes to scary movies, but I’ve seen the previews). It usually felt genuinely scary, not too cheesy;  the writing itself was not bad.

However:

This book went in so many crazy directions, I could hardly keep up. I felt like the previously established rules and structure of the supernatural world went completely out the window. Weird little quirky details became major plot points. The rules of magic have changed and continue to change. Some of this change is self discovery and whatever, but sometimes it’s just all too convenient for the plot. In an attempt to explain all the craziness, the book is almost 600 pages long, but that mostly just made me confused for a longer period of time, not less confused.

It wasn’t all bad, though. The characters are quite good. I really wish Meredith in particular was a presence on the television show. Damon had a really impressive, compelling character arc in this one and its almost worth reading on to see what he does next.

But I probably won’t be reading on. I was pretty lost reading this, since it went in a strange direction I wasn’t expecting. I do recommend reading it if you’re a fan of the previous books in the series (this installment is not, by any means, universally disliked) and I recommend the first books in the series to fans of paranormal fantasies.

 

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